Weight Loss Support - arguments AGAINST nighttime eating please :)

07-28-2009, 12:13 AM
My weakest time of day is at night. I've always eaten (almost exclusively) at night and I know I've done a number on my metabolism because of it. I'm currently forcing myself to eat a balanced breakfast, a substantial lunch and an afternoon snack. This helped for a while, or else my will power over nighttime snacking finally caved.

Anyway, I've done a search on nighttime eating threads and see a lot of posts that say it's ok if it's budgeted into the plan etc. I'd LOVE to grab onto that and start planning a 200 calorie snack for myself to eat around 9pm (when I really start to struggle), but before I do that, I want to hear the reasonings behind the "don't eat 3 hours before bed" crowd. :D

Basically, I'd like to make an INFORMED decision regarding nighttime snacking rather than just grab onto the POV that makes my life easier:^:

Please educate me. Thanks!

07-28-2009, 12:35 AM
Basically, I'd like to make an INFORMED decision regarding nighttime snacking rather than just grab onto the POV that makes my life easier:^:

But I think that's really the most important thing. Whatever makes your life easiest is what is going to make you the most successful, regardless of whether some other choice is marginally "better."

In any event, there is no conclusive proof. So go with what keeps you on track! At least, experiment, be open to whether it does or doesn't work for you, and then use what you found out.

07-28-2009, 12:40 AM
I agree with Julie - if it stops the mindless noshing and also doesnt lead you to start mindless noshing then I dont see how that could be a bad thing if it makes you feel better, more in control of your overall eating for the day :)

Rain Dancer
07-28-2009, 01:44 AM
Honestly? I have never noticed a difference in my rate of weight loss if I eat something after a certain hour at night or not. And a little something in the evening or nearer bedtime can keep the hongries away and keep me from prowling around in the dark, sneaking into my kitchen and eating the house down. :D

MsDiana 08
07-28-2009, 02:25 AM
I'm HUNGRY right now and it's 1am...

anyways. The trainer told me that if I'm going to eat late, to some eat green vegetables. I'm not exactly sure how its good. sorry if that is not informed enough, hopefully someone else can verify is its good or not.
So at night, when I get hungry, I will have some salad. celery is awesome too.
not exactly a great snack, but its low calorie and healthy!!

07-28-2009, 03:43 AM
I like the saying that you should eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper. I try to hold true to this and so far it's working.

Notice, it doesn't specifically set a time of the day or a cut-off time, so if I wanna eat my dinner at 11pm right before bed, then that's what I do, and since I'm eating like a "pauper", and a healthy pauper at that, it doesn't make a whole lot of difference. It even helps me sleep better, which is an issue for me.

My feeling is try it out and see if setting a cut-off time works for you (not so much because of the theory that it turns straight into fat while you sleep, but moreso as a control-issue or boredom issue). If not, and you just end up feeling anxious and crazy over wanting to eat something at night because you stay up late and you're hungry, then don't. But like a lot of things you could try to lose weight, just keep it in the back of your mind, like a toolbox of things you can try when you hit the inevitable plateau which calls for change in your habits.

07-28-2009, 05:01 AM
I don't believe in cutoff times so much, but you have to remember that you eat to get energy and get through the day. Therefore, you need food more in the morning, it keeps you full and energized through your day. If you're just sitting in bed late at night watching TV, there is no real reason you need food, because you're going to end up going to bed and it doesn't do you as much good.

07-28-2009, 10:29 AM
I think the question is how do you feel after you eat at night? Do you regret it? Do you feel lethargic and dull? Or are you ok with it? I don't think it's going to make a huge difference in regard to losing weight if you're within your calorie budget-- although with nighttime eating there's always the easy possibility of binging and going over your budget.

If you don't want to eat at night because it puts you in a place of defeat and discouragement mentally, then you CAN get out of the habit. I used to be a night time eater, and it can be done. If you're ok with it, and it doesn't effect your outlook for success I don't see anything wrong with it.

07-28-2009, 10:36 AM
I pretty much agree with everyone else... if it works for you, don't sweat it. Eating at night won't ruin your weight loss so long as you stick to your food plan. I usually eat a small meal after I work out (about 8 pm) and my dinner a little later (about 10 or 10:30 pm). My bedtime is midnight.

07-28-2009, 11:04 AM
As long as you stay within your calorie budget there is nothing wrong with eating shortly before bedtime. NOTHING.

BUT, if you yourself are having a particularly hard time with evenings, then it might benefit you to make yourself a cut-off time. Declare the kitchen closed and off limits and that's that.

I like to spread my calories through out the day AND have a night time or 2 snack. Though when I first started my journey, I did have to give myself a cut-off time. I gained some control, added back in a night time snack.

You may want to try PLANNING out your day/evening IN ADVANCE. Write it down. STICK TO IT. And by all means PLAN, PLAN, PLAN that night time snack. Plan it in and then there's no free for all. You need something to hold yourself accountable.

One other thing - after my food allotment for the day is "used up", I like to have a hot cup of tea. It's soothing, filling, satisfying, relaxing and it's my signal that the kitchen is indeed - closed.

It's all about finding what works for you, and what doesn't.

07-28-2009, 11:13 AM
I'd say that as long as it's within your calories budget, it's alright. But I'd be careful about what kind of food you'd eat. For instance, if the foods you tend to eat at night are ice-cream, sugary/fatty foods in general, then you might want to be careful (I mean, it could easily end up in eating too much of the wrong things). If you're okay with more sensible food, if it's simply a need for eating because you're hungry and not because of specific cravings, then planning for it is okay IMHO.

I'm not a nighttime eater, but my reasoning has nothing to do with what articles or doctors or whatever else: I've just noticed that I have a hard time falling asleep if I eat less than 2 hours before bedtime. Moreover, I have a tendency to insomnia, so I also don't want to add *that* stress to my nights. That's all.

Shannon in ATL
07-28-2009, 11:25 AM
I'm with the other posters, if it is in your calorie budget and won't cause more crazy eating I say go for it. I have to eat a snack before bed or I wake up in the middle of the night starving. I might not get up and eat during the night, but I inevitably end up with a headache in the morning and feel terrible all day. I agree with Kery, be aware of what you are eating - I have noticed that the more sugary items late in the evening often leave me a little water weight in the morning when I get up and weigh so I have to be aware of that.

ETA - I have read a lot on the 'don't eat 3 hours before bed' theory, and I believe it is based on the fact that your metabolism slows when you sleep. People say calories consumed in that time frame are more likely to not get burned off and will then turn to fat. I'm of the opinion that as long as it is in your weight loss calorie budget for the day it doesn't matter when you consume it.

07-28-2009, 11:48 AM
I normally don't eat within 3 hours of bedtime and honestly, thinking on it now, it is most likely only for the reason that it's what I have read and heard so many times and not because of any beliefs or facts I have to bring to the table.

07-28-2009, 11:53 AM
Ok I did research on this too because my husband kept getting on me for eating before bed. What I found is that it DOESN'T MATTER what time you eat. Your body burns calories around the clock. Your body digests the same no matter the time. Here is the deal.

It takes 3500 calorie deficit to lose 1 lb. That is 500 a day. So it is math. If you have a calorie deficit you lose weight. When you eat it doesn't matter. Schedule meals when you are normally hungry. PLAN!!!! It is so important.

If you are hungry at night plan yourself a snack.

07-28-2009, 10:39 PM
There is a study out there somewhere to support anything you wish. Go by what YOU feel is right, what works for YOU.
Personally, I've done both and not on purpose.
When I was working crazy hours, I'd run out the door, grab a coffee, grab whatever garbage was around during the day (restayrant food), then get home around 9pm and order in. So yeah, I was eating late and I did gain weight, but it was under the worst circumstances.
Right now, as I pay attention, and listen to my body-starting with a big meal and tapering off throughout the day works best for me-makes me happy.
I have a friend who does the opposite and her family is a bunch of skinny happy campers.
I also think your suggestion of having a bedtime snack is way different then eating a full fledged dinner right before bed.

Back to what the studies say, since you asked. I have read that if you do have a snack, it should be protien based as carbs tend to inhibit the body's hgh production while we sleep-but you'll notice that's the opposite of what another poster said--you can literally make yourself crazy with 'studies'

So, have the snack, see how it goes, adjust if necessary.

Good luck :)

Rain Dancer
07-28-2009, 11:13 PM
It's all about finding what works for you, and what doesn't.

Yeah, that. :D

07-28-2009, 11:13 PM
I don't think a bedtime snack will hurt you all that much, if any.

07-29-2009, 07:55 AM
If you find it harder to control what you eat when you're a little bit sleepy, cutting off the food earlier will help. It's often easier to say "I'm done eating for the day!" and stick to it, than to just eat one serving of something when you really want to eat everything in the fridge.

(I don't have a cut-off time... and I don't believe there's a biochemical/physiological basis for it... but I thought I'd throw out one possible benefit anyway.)