How late can you eat? Part Two


              How late can you eat?  Part II

          How late can you eat for weight loss and burning

                   Kel Silas CPT MHT NS

                                Welcome to my Weight Loss 101 Series
                                           EXtreme Fat Loss

I call this the Grand Daddy of all weight loss and fat burning questions.  Every bodybuilder knows that for gaining muscle you can eat pretty much up until the time you go to bed (often encouraged) and even to have a protein shake or some protein (cottage cheese or Greek yogurt) before you go to bed.  But what about for weight loss and fat loss?  You hear so many thoughts and myths on what time a person should stop eating or how late they can eat.  Most people will tell you they don't eat after 6 pm or 7 pm but these are usually the same people who are not achieving their goals.  Why?  Because they are not consuming enough daily calories over the course of the day so their body goes into starvation mode and holds on to every calorie they feed it.

We do know that to effectively and optimally speed up our body's natural metabolism we need to consume 5 to 7 small meals a day.  Holy tuna fish Batman how do I do that??  I'm not going to go deep into that but just know that I did not say a meal was a Thanksgiving dinner, nor did I say it was just a snack or some peanut butter on whole wheat crackers or just a few calories fit for a 45 lb kid whose only 5 or 6 years old.  Benefits of eating 5 to 6 smaller meals a day.

So keep in mind under this theory of not eating past 6 or 7 pm a person would be forced to eat 5 to 7 meals (really 5 to 6 but 7 is OUTSTANDING) all before the hour of 7 pm and unless you are paid to compete in bodybuilding shows or a top fitness model, most people can't and won't be able to do this all (by 6 pm or 7 pm)  It is possible but I am just keeping it real.  People are much busier nowadays however this does not change the way your body's metabolism works and functions either.

I highly suggest eating after 7 pm personally but it's #1 what you eat during that time and keep in mind that your body is constantly burning body fat but depending on your weight, body type, body fat percentage, exercise intensity, do you weight train, hormones, any metabolic enhancers you may be taking, how many meals you eat a day and what balance of macronutrients are they (macronutrients are protein, carbs, and fats)  and possibly other co-factors, you may be have a higher or lower metabolic rate than others.  (naturally this makes sense)

Something I just read said "Calories can't tell time".  I have repeatedly read where it doesn't matter what time you eat because it all comes down to what your body is going to burn off.  In other words it doesn't matter realistically what time you eat, your body is going to burn it the same.  If you have excess calories at 9 am, 12 noon, 2 pm, 6 pm, or 10 pm, it still doesn't matter because excess calories are excess calories.  It doesn't really matter when you have them. (make sense)

Also keep in mind that "How late?" depends on all of these co-factors in the previous paragraph and what time do you go to sleep.  Also it depends on what kind of activity do you do or don't you do in the evening hours.  A person can always take a 10-15 minute walk during the evening hours to keep their metabolism going.  Do you do any cardio in the evening?  If you have already done it once today for 30-45 minutes then an evening walk for 15 minutes is good and not too much.  Quite possibly 20 more minutes of cardio could be done (but do remember more is not always best.)

Most health experts tell people not to eat 2 hours before you go to bed and actually I have read 3 hours for anyone with any gastric disorders such as irritable bowel disease.  But what about for weight loss.  Again, all of these co factors mentioned in the previous paragraph are truly important when making that decision. It is also commonly known and recognized not to eat and lie down and go to sleep or to eat and then sit on your butt for hours doing nothing.  

I would think for many people, if they are exercising regularly, and they are active, then not eating 3 to 4 hours before going to bed "might be" a good rule of thumb (depending on your body type)  A more fit person could get away with just a couple of hours.  I do quite often.  And keep in mind "what foods" are you eating later and how many calories.  When it comes down to it, the common rule applies "Calories in and calories out" so if you are eating a little more calories later in the evening to get that extra meal in, this may not be a big deal because over the course of the day, it's how many calories you have consumed, what balance of protein, carbs, and fats did you have, and how much exercise, weight training, and activity did you have that day?

I personally would recommend someone to be eating too much carbohydrates or sugar in the even hours but if they worked out or exercised in the evening too then it may not even matter.  A person can still have some carbs in the evening just depending on the type of carbs and how much.  A little bit of carbs can be acceptable in a meal at night (10-15 grams or maybe even 20 grams)  And if you just left the gym or was doing cardio then even more carbs at night is very possible.  See "Walking and Jogging to Lose Weight" and "7 Ways Jogging Helps You Lose Weight" and "Walking vs Jogging for Weight Loss"

Most vegetables are great to eat in the evening and other low calorie foods such as cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, fish with veges, popcorn without butter or salt, a little bit of almonds or nuts.  But again do keep in mind, if your metabolism is running and blazing like the hot and humid Ohio sun in June or July then it may not matter at all what you eat and when you eat it as long as you are eating good well balanced and healthy meals, consuming enough calories, plenty of protein, carbs, and fats to keep your metabolism running effectively.

 See my Part I of this post here How late should I eat? Part I

Have an awesome day!

LeMoyne Kelvin Silas

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