“Is it okay to eat after 8 p.m.?”
As with many health-related questions, the answer is both very simple and endlessly complicated. The simple answer is that weight gain isn’t caused by when you eat but instead by what you eat and how much.
People are more likely to indulge later in the evening for a variety of reasons, however. Sleep deprivation, exhausted will-power, and emotional eating can all play a role in nighttime overindulgence.
If you are planning to eat later in the evening, then here’s what we recommend:
Eat a Balanced Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
Let’s say that you skip breakfast and eat a light lunch. Then, you don’t eat dinner until later in the evening. When you finally get the chance to enjoy a hearty meal, is it any wonder that you might overeat or choose something that’s calorie-dense?
Consider If You’re Genuinely Hungry
When people eat at night, it isn’t always a response to hunger. You might be feeling angry or lonely or tired. Maybe you’re just thirsty. Take a moment to identify what’s really going on before you load up your plate. We also recommend you try drinking a full 16 oz. glass of water and waiting 20 minutes to see if your hunger persists.
Don’t Eat in Front of Screens
Turn off the TV, shut down the computer, and put away your phone. When your mind is concentrating on outside entertainment, you may begin to eat on autopilot. By focusing more fully on your food and your body’s hunger cues, you can avoid overeating.
Stick to Smaller Snacks After Dinner
Midnight snacks don’t have to be unhealthy! Before you reach for the chips or ice cream, why not try:
- A piece of fruit
- Air-popped popcorn
- Pumpkin seeds
- Hard-boiled eggs
Go to Bed Earlier
How many hours do you sleep each night? If the answer is six or less, then your body may be stuck in a stressed state. Your body responds to that stress by increasing your appetite. If you start going to bed earlier, then you may notice that your urge to snack disappears.
Looking for More Health Tips?
At Kennedy Fitness: A Jefferson Health Affiliate, we will help you build a lasting relationship with fitness. We offer nutritional counseling, medical monitoring, and personal training. Our group fitness classes are also a great way to stay in shape. Remember to check out our group spinning class schedule in Cherry Hill and our pilates schedule in Burlington County!
Find out more when you call Kennedy Fitness at 1-800-875-2720.