There’s so much weight loss information out there that it’s hard to decide which course of action is right for you. So what’s a dieter to do? Well, for starters, you need to know that when you eat and what you eat can make a big difference in your weight loss progress, and we’re here with the do’s and don’ts for you. help you stay focused and reach your end goal. .
One of the most effective ways to lose weight is to stop indulging yourself at night. Eat this, not that! reached out to Laura Burak, MS, RDfounder of GetNaked® Nutrition and author of Slim down with smoothies, to find out why late-night snacking and eating causes dieting chaos. Read on to learn more about changes you can make to your nighttime eating habits, and then check out You’ll Never Lose Weight If You Keep Doing These 5 Things, According to an Expert.
How late night eating can lead to weight gain.
Burak reveals three reasons why your late-night snacking habit may be stifling your weight loss goals.
You consume more calories than your body needs.
There’s a good reason why you should avoid nighttime snacking. Burak tells us, “First of all, you are consuming more calories (energy) which are unnecessary at this time of day for most people and your body cannot use the energy, so instead it is stored as fat.”
The majority of individuals need energy from food throughout the day, but Burak points out: “Whether intentionally or not, we tend to snack the most and eat the biggest meal in the evening, which which can create an imbalance in energy consumption.
Ultimately, your body doesn’t need energy at night before you fall asleep.
Eating close to bedtime can cause digestive issues that can disrupt sleep.
Not only can late eating and snacking keep you up at night, but this bad habit can also cause reflux and gastrointestinal discomfort.
“Heavier, high-fat foods in larger amounts than needed can take longer to digest, can disrupt sleep, lead to general discomfort like that feeling of being too full, can exacerbate heartburn, and especially together, all of these factors can set you up for a tougher time losing weight,” Burak says.
Often, the foods you eat late at night are unhealthy, high-calorie foods.
We all know that the foods that attract us late at night are not carrots and celery. Most of the time, we crave foods that are satisfying and high in calories. While these are foods you should avoid in general if you want to lose weight, Burak says it’s especially important to avoid them at night. They include fried foods, dishes with lots of sauce and cream, and too many “simple carbs.” Simple carbs include desserts, which are a major no-no when trying to lose weight.
The Cleveland Clinic stresses the importance of staying away from salty snacks, such as potato or tortilla chips, in addition to the dips that accompany them. These are filled with starches and fats. You should also avoid items that contain alcohol, caffeine, and sugar. If you have a sweet tooth, dieting can be especially difficult. Sweet snacks such as candies and cookies contain refined sugar. Stay away from these, but if you want to treat yourself once in a while, do your cheat earlier in the day.
Tips to avoid gaining weight by snacking late at night.
Load your meals for the day in advance.
To avoid nighttime snacking in the first place, Burak suggests getting to the root of the problem by changing the way you eat your meals. “One of the first ways to improve your health is to trade in your day,” she explains.
Loading your meals in advance means having larger meals earlier in the day and then eating lighter as the evening hours approach. This makes perfect sense since we’ve all been on the couch, relaxing, watching a great show on TV, and wanting to snack. If you eat enough healthy, solid meals earlier in the day, you may not be hungry enough to snack in the evening.
Allow 10 to 12 hours of “digestive rest”.
A good rule of thumb is to give your body a solid 10-12 hours of what Burak calls “digestive rest.” This period of not eating begins with your last meal and continues until the next morning’s meal. For example, if you eat your last meal of the day at 6:00 p.m., do not eat breakfast until 6:00 a.m. or later the next morning. Hence, no late night food!
Alexa is the associate editor of Eat This, Not That!’s Mind + Body, overseeing the M+B channel and delivering compelling stories about fitness, wellness and self-care to readers. Learn more about Alexa
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