"Should I stop eating after dinner?"
This is one of the top five questions I get when working with Healthworks members. Many women try to stop eating after a certain point of the night or ask if they should start implementing a cut-off time to better manage their diet.
There are several reasons why this question persists. Let's take a look at them and get some answers.
"When I eat and then go to sleep, I do not burn it and it is stored as extra body fat."
The body continues to use energy even at rest. If you cover your recommended energy needs throughout the day, your body will not store food as extra body fat, even if you are eating right before bedtime.
In fact, if you eat dinner at 6 pm and plan to stay until 1
Plan to eat something small one hour before bedtime to quench hunger and forestall your cravings: a slice of toast with peanut butter, a bowl of cereal, frozen yogurt with fruit, or another snack of choice!
"I eat unthinkingly and find that I can not stop late at night."
The evening meal without meaning is a risk factor for weight gain. If you have dinner and then return to the kitchen several times in the evening, you will probably be eating more than you need for your energy needs. There are several ways to handle this.
First, make sure you eat 3 meals and 1-3 snacks to cope with your diet and hunger earlier in the day. Second, make sure you get a balance of complex grains, healthy fats, lean protein and fruits and vegetables at each meal. Third, respond to your desire instead of eating it: if you crave chocolate, take chocolate! Reacting to your cravings proactively will reduce impulse eating in the long run.
"I want to try intermittent fasting."
Intermittent fasting is a type of eating that aims at a period of 10 or 12 hours fasting, typically framed around sleep. Anecdotally, this has been promoted as a successful way to lose weight, manage insulin levels, and reduce inflammation. Scientifically, there is no evidence that any of these effects are likely. There can also be some risk factors for fasting.
In people who are prone to sudden decreases in blood sugar (hypoglycaemia), fasting can cause dizziness, nausea, fatigue, irritability or even fainting. For women looking for children, pregnant women or breastfeeding women, fasting may affect the nutrient intake required for optimal fetal development and breast milk. Fasting can also be a risk factor for overeating, as some studies suggest it increases dopamine release during eating, which makes eating more enjoyable.
Takeaway: Nothing is wrong after dinner. The best way to manage dinner is to proactively meet your nutritional needs earlier in the day, to respond to cravings by eating the foods you love in reasonable serving sizes and planning a small snack when you 4 hours after dinner.