The myth of eating late at night equaling fat gain has surfaced around for years, up till now people still worry about eating after a set timing in the evening. “Eat breakfast like a king, lunch a queen, dinner like a pauper,” is one of the best sayings to support this following myth I am about to debunk.
For many people, specifically women, they get those horror episodes of late night cravings be it for sugar or something salty- yet, we all know cravings are hardly ever healthy. That is exactly the reason for weight gain, especially if you have already consumed your maintenance calories for the day. Food choices and macronutrients are critical. Think about it, have you ever craved a bowl of steamed broccoli?
Initially, in some cases, cravings can denote a deficiency. For example, if you are having salt cravings for chips, it may indicate a need for sodium that might essentially be triggered as a substitute for potassium deficiency.
If you are craving chocolates, it maybe a sign you re body lacks enough magnesium.
If fast food suddenly sounds intriguing to you it means you are lacking essential fatty acids (EFAs), which are Omega-3s and Omega 6s- instead of eating that burger and fries you should be supplementing with oil pills or eating more fish, such as salmon.
Lastly, if the carb-monster in you surfaces at night it is possible that you have low levels of serotonin and endorphin’s since carbohydrates affect ones moods.
You may actually be eating late at night because you have not eaten enough during the day. Learn to recognize when you are truly hungry. Eating a satisfying breakfast and eating regular meals throughout the day is emphasized because you are constantly fueling your body with calories that by the end of the day you should not be ravenous and hence, will not go for bad food choices simply because you re feeling very hungry.
Also, make sure you drink enough water, dehydration can cause false hunger signals.
However, the majority of late night cravings are not a result of a nutritional deficiency and instead, are due to psychological reasons. All the reasons lead back to two things: emotional and binge eating. Almost every woman tends to eat away her emotions without notice. If you think about it, those binge episodes seem to happen when you are at home seated in front of the TV or laptop, where you eat out of boredom. Another scenario, you find yourself confronting the chocolate or cookie box when feeling sad or frustrated from some situation that occurred in your life, somehow those foods soothe your mood, at least temporarily.
What can you do to avoid eating bad food choices and satisfying your mental cravings? If they surface around nighttime, make sure you are getting enough sleep. Pay no attention to the urge and go to bed instead. When you consistently don t get an adequate amount of sleep hormones are set off in your body that augment your appetite. Lack of sleep causes leptin levels to suppress and ghrelin levels to increase. This means you will not sense the satisfaction after you eat a meal and you will have the desire to overeat.
Secondly, focus at your task on hand! Don t just sit around and eat out of boredom- for food is no entertainment. When you re watching TV, do just that, watch. If you must however eat, how about instead of that butter popcorn munch on some carrot sticks?
Thirdly, decrease the stress. Stress can cause you to overeat without consideration and can be the cause of many serious disease, plus, makes you look older! Hence, make sure you keep it at bay through maintaining a healthy lifestyle with exercise as a priority. Besides, reflect upon your life and reprioritize your ideals.
Finally, if your cravings are that strong, it is okay to give in and have a piece. Moderation and balance are always key. Yet, I d suggest waiting it out for 15 minutes, if you still crave the food, then go for it! At least your choice now shall be conscious and not impulsive.
By assessing your cravings, and objectively recognizing tendencies and triggers you will be aware and powerful to control the cravings instead of them controlling you! I am constantly hearing friends asserting, “I don t eat anything past 8pm,” or “I don t eat any carbohydrates past 3pm”. A false argument would be that eating late you are not as active as earlier, hence, your body is not burning calories but instead, storing them into fat, particularly the notion that carbohydrates eaten later during the day turn into fat immediately! Fact remains: you burn calories even when you are asleep. It all boils down to one point: total calories consumed. It is what you eat throughout your day and how many calories you eat at the end of every day that truly matters. Therefore, go ahead and eat at whatever time you wish, but make sure you re listening to your body, that you are not overeating, and that you re eating nutritious foods that will do your body good!