Eating late and gaining weight

There are more rules governing nutrition now than ever before. For people who are desperately trying to lose weight it can be extremely confusing. What should I eat? How much should I eat? And when should I eat it?

For someone with little nutritional knowledge, it is very easy to fall into these traps. You start to read up on some of the latest diet crazes and decide to follow one. It works for a week or two, you drop 3 or 4 pounds and eventually you come to the conclusion that you are miserable. It is way too restrictive. You are hungry all the time and all you are thinking about is food during the waking hours. What that eventually does is foster an unhealthy relationship with food. Sound familiar?

The one fat loss question I get asked more often than not, concerns late night eating. Can I eat after dinner or do I need to cut myself off at 7pm? The answer is, it depends. I have read studies that show late night eating has zero effect on weight gain and I have read other studies that show the exact opposite.

What neither study discussed was what the subjects were actually eating. If you are going into the fridge and grabbing an apple and a small handful of almonds, then have at it.  Late night eating is pretty mindless. In my experience, people are much more likely to reach for chips, cookies and ice cream which are all potentially higher calorie foods. This is where the problem stems from.

I would be much more concerned with the total calories you are consuming over the course of the day. The body isn’t programmed to stockpile calories and turn them into fat after the clock strikes 7pm. Nor is it programmed to know what time it is.

Some people prefer to eat their calories spread evenly throughout the day, while others like to front or back load them. It really doesn’t matter. It is the quality and quantity of calories you  are ingesting which is the determining factor. So when the clock strikes 9pm and the hunger pangs are starting to kick in, don’t be afraid to eat because of what the clock says. If you are not quite sure how many calories you need in order to reach your goals, try using an app like “My Fitness Pal”.  It takes out all the guesswork. I highly recommend it.