How late should I eat? Part One

How late should I eat?    

                             How late should I eat?  Part I


Kel Silas CPT MHT NS 

How late can you eat?  Woah baby!!!!!!  I truly love getting this question from clients.  I had one asking me earlier today what I thought about eating after 8 pm.  First we have to define late. (This is also #10 on this list.)  Late for some may not be late for others.  There are some who go to bed at 10 pm so 7 pm may be late for them.  Where others may be awake until 12 midnight or 1 am so 9 or 10 pm may be late for them.  There are so many things to consider when it comes to what time should you eat your last meal at night.  But first here is something important to also consider.

It is generally a good rule of thumb I would say, for weight loss, to consume your last meal 3 to 4 hours before bedtime.  HOWEVER it does not mean that you actually have to do this.  It depends on what foods you eat during that window of 3 to 4 hours before bedtime.  Make sense?  Everything I tell you below is a Test for You.  What I mean by that is, there is no right nor wrong with necessarily anything I say.  See how everything applies to you and your body.  Depending on exactly what you eat, a person could most likely easily eat even 2 hours before they go to bed without any problems.

If what you are doing is working then hallelujah throw a party!  Just remember to invite me lol!!  You may not want to brag and boast to all of your friends what you are doing because it might not work for them.  But if what you are doing is not working, then you will most likely want to and should make some changes and begin to take other things into deep consideration and become more open about making these changes.

Something else that is important is, are you wanting to eat later or after a certain time of the evening/night just one day or as a part of your regular routine?   In other words, did you just get busy at work and with kids and your meals all got thrown off and now it is 10 pm and you want to eat something light to fill you up because you haven't eaten six 5 pm?  Or are you saying that you want to know if you can regularly eat at 8:30 pm and you usually go to bed at 11:30 pm?   Does this make sense?  Is this a one time thing (or something not regular) or is it a regular thing to want to eat at, by, or after a certain hour of the evening/night?

1. What time do you go to bed at night?  What time you actually go to bed is critically important here.  What is late for some is not late for others.  If you go to bed normally at 12 am to 12:30 am "like me" then chances are 9 pm or 9:30 pm may be late for you.  Or for many of you it may be normal to eat or finish eating at that hour.  But if you go to bed at at 10 pm to 10:30 pm because you have to be awake at 5 am then eating anything after  7 pm or 7:30 pm may be late for you.  This is something you really have to factor in and think about, especially for those whose bedtime is not consistent.  Diet Truth or Myth:  Does eating late at night causes weight gain?

2. Did you work out or exercise today?  If you worked out, weight trained, exercised, or were just even very active (for example you may have loaded 50 bags of mulch and topsoil in your garden or flowerbed) then your metabolism is going to be higher on days that you exercised or were very active then on days which you weren't.  And for this reason, you may be able to eat later on days that you exercised versus days that you didn't.

3. What time did you work out or exercise today?   Did you work out and do cardio early in the morning or mid afternoon?  In which by the evening hours (about 6 to 8 hours later) your body may not any longer be burning calories and body fat from that cardio exercise.  Or did you do it at 5 or 6 pm and your body is still burning calories by the evening or night hours obviously.  Another factor could be if you weight trained that day.  Weight and Strength Training burns calories up to 24 hours so your body could still be burning calories even in the evening and night hours from a weight training working done early that morning.

4. What are your body frame, body size, body fat percentage and body weight?  All of these things can make a HUGE difference on how late you can eat in the evening.  For example, someone who is very overweight and needs to lose 50 to 100 pounds may really have to watch their carbohydrate and fat intake eating later in the day.  Someone who needs to lose even 25 to 50 pounds may be in the same situation.

For example, I am working with two ladies right now who both weigh 188 pounds.  One is 5 foot 4 inches tall and the other is 5 foot 10 inches tall.  The taller woman is obviously leaner and could easily afford to eat later in the day or consume more calories later in the day.  Make sense??

                  Ectomorph       Endomorph       Mesomorph

5. What foods do you plan to eat in the evening?  How much do you plan on eating in the evening? These are one of the MOST important of all this list but everything on this list works together.  You want to eat in the evening whether it is later or later, but what foods do you plan on eating?  And how much?

There is a BIG difference between eating a big bowl of lasagna or an 12 ounce steak and some mashed potatoes, or some buttered popcorn and eating 4 to 6 ounces of lean steak and possibly a little mashed potatoes or instead some green leafy vegetables, or some Greek yogurt, low fat cottage cheese, or even a protein shake and some light pop corn with no butter.

6. What balance of foods?  What balance of foods is also important.  Just like I mentioned in #5 the lasagna would most likely not be the best choice due to its high carbohydrate content despite it is a healthy food, however if you make a more fitness lasagna with low fat cheese, turkey sausage, and whole grain or spelt pasta now you are on the right track.  Not to mention you will have to eat a small amount of the lasagna due to its high carbohydrate content. (This goes back to #5)

What a person does not want is a "lop sided meal" or in other words a meal that does not have a good balance or ratio of protein, carbs, and fats.  There are different theories on what balance is best and I am not covering that in this blog entry however the most important thing is use good judgement and common sense. You may have to use a food scale at times and take the time to measure certain food items before you eat them.  There is a BIG difference between a half of a cup of brown rice and 2 cups of brown rice or even worse 2 cups of white rice.

Have a good balance of protein, carbs, and fats is critical for achieving your fitness and weight loss goals.  Having way too much carbohydrates in a meal (especially without enough protein in the meal and good fats too) allows and causes your blood sugar to naturally "spike" and elevate and when it is constantly elevated, you end up wiping yourself out of the fat burning mode. (see Fat Burning Foods) To keep yourself in the fat burning mode, you need a good healthy balance of protein, carbs, and fats in virtually every meal or at least MOST of them.  (Yes really but it is what it is.)  This is how your human body is designed. (see Top Fat Burning Foods)  Also see Foods That Burn Belly Fat.  Do see Fat Fighting Foods.  And do see Super Foods that Help You to Lose Weight.

7. How many meals did you eat today?  If you have only eaten 2 good well balanced meals and one light snack and then you want to ask me if you can eat late because you are hungry then I am going to tell you NO WAY!   Or if it is even 1 good balanced meal and 2 light snacks and then you want to eat in the later evening hours then I am going to tell you NO WAY twice!

But if you tell me that you have had 3 or 4 good well balanced healthy meals (the key word is well balanced) and you have had a couple (2) snacks and then you want to eat something in the later evening hours, then I as a Personal Fitness Trainer and Weight Loss Coach will most likely tell you that you can most likely get away with it. (no matter if it is just some light popcorn, or a piece of fruit, or some cottage cheese or if it is a protein bar)  Your metabolism at that point from eating several meals throughout the day will be "Sky High" so it might not matter if you had something in the later evening hours.

8. What did you actually eat today?  Just like eating a cheat meal, what you ate today can actually give you the permission to eat later.  Just like in cases of eating a cheat meal, if you ate very healthy AND most of your meals are balances proportionally with good carbohydrates, protein, and good fats, plus fiber, low sugar, and low to moderate sodium intake, plus 8-10 cups (8 oz to 10 oz) of water, then this can possibly give a person the permission to eat a little later or to eat late.

Remember to Eat Breakfast EVERY DAY!!!

9.  What are you actually doing in the evening?  How active are you in the evening?  Are you just sitting around in front of your computer, or studying, or curled up on the couch watching television reruns?  Or are you just coming home from work or heading out with some friends to a party or a club to dance?   Or do you happen to be heading for a late run to Walmart to do some shopping while your kids are finally in bed?   Read in my weight loss book "28 Days to EXtreme Fat Loss" about 138 Ways to Lose Weight and Burn Fat!  (This is just one section in my book.)

My point is, that if you are active in the later hours of the evening then what you eat in the evening may be and could be justified. It doesn't mean that it is true, but it "could be" a very strong possibility.  If you are going out to dance at a club then what you ate in the later evening hours may not even matter or matter as much.

10.  How late is late to you?   Are you asking me if you can eat at 8 pm or 10 pm?  Assuming you typically go to bed let's say at 11 pm.  The time of 8 pm in such case might not be too late but eating at 10 pm definitely would be.  Do you see what I am saying!?   Adjust the time here to fit your typical normal schedule and you will easily see my point of view here.  What time you go to bed may be different than your spouse, family, friends, co workers, friends at the gym or even your friends who are also trying to lose weight and get fit.

You feel you need to learn more?    


                   "28 Days to EXtreme Fat Loss"

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