Kiss your fridge good night
If you’re like most people you may be a little confused as to the timing of food versus weight loss. According a study conducted by Northwestern University eating late may contribute to up to twice as much weight gain even when calories have not exceeded an excess throughout the day.
When your body wants to rest your body temperature will decline and so will your metabolism. If you consume a meal before bed your body will be unable to digest the food at the same pace as when you are active therefore storing the meal as fat.
The body’s internal clock is called the Circadian Rhythm. This daily cycle is the change in light and dark, during the day and night based on a 24 hour period and influenced by regular activity and variations in the environment. Therefore it is important to create a dietary approach during the day to avoid the late night cravings.
Sadly shift workers such as Police, Firemen and medical personnel are at high risk for developing heart disease and obesity related illness due to the irregular meal intake schedule, sleep disturbance and increased difficulty to adhere to a regular exercise program. Even a non-shift worker may struggle with equivalent effects due to overseas travel, caring for a newborn or a student spending long hours studying.
Of course there are many factors that contribute to weight gain including energy intake and energy expenditure- the calories taken in compared to those expended, genetics and sedentary lifestyle. The more active you are the more you can get away with.
If weight loss is your goal you are better off eating heavier meals during the day and taper off as the evening approaches. To create a new habit start by cutting off meal times at least 1 hour before sleep. It is also important to reduce or eliminate the light entered into your room for proper sleep efficiency.
Other ways to cope with the night cravings it to make your food choice a healthy one, try a glass of low or non-fat milk, a piece of fruit, a hard-boiled egg, a low or non-fat yogurt or an ounce of nuts should satisfy your cravings.
One lesson to be learned is that behavior change is going to be a struggle. Until you know the “how, when and why?” can all the questions be answered. Recording your thoughts and feelings before the late night eating begins may answer some of these questions.