Eating before bed is such a controversial issue in the health and fitness industry.
Some people say in order to lose weight, you have to stop eating by a certain time while others claim that in order to effectively lose fat you have to eat before bed.
Wouldn't it be great if we knew what the right answer was?
What I will share today is my firsthand experience with my tried-and-true results and the methods that have worked for myself and other community members.
I am not claiming that one method is right and another method is wrong. What I hope to do is give you some viable options to use on yourself and see what your body responds to best. Every person is different, and learning what works best for YOU is something that will help you maintain a lean, toned body and healthy habits long term.
Now, back to the matter at hand: to eat or NOT to eat before bed, that is the question...
My "rule" for night time eating has always been to encourage members to stop eating 2-3 hours before bed.
This rule accomplishes 2 things:
- Giving people a cutoff time eliminates a lot of mindless snacking in excessive portion sizes. Most people do a good amount of eating after dinner while just "hanging out," not because they are hungry, but in most cases because they are bored.
- Knowing that you aren't going to be able to just "grab something" (i.e. snacking) after dinner, makes most people eat more protein and fat at dinner. A wholesome, well-rounded dinner that includes a healthy amount of protein and good fats keeps hunger and cravings at bay even hours later.
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It was always my own personal rule to stop eating after dinner. My husband and I always ate dinner by 6:30pm, and I was usually in bed by 9:30pm, so this always worked well for me until the kids arrived and we had to make a few adjustments. Now, we have to eat dinner by 5:30pm in order to do baths, book time and then bed time by 8pm.
The first few nights we started the early eating schedule I noticed I was going to bed hungry... and nobody likes hungry Isabel. So, while I was adjusting to the new schedule, I started having a healthy snack around 8pm after the kids went to sleep
If you find yourself in a similar situation - a little hungry before bed - here are some food guidelines for snacking close to bedtime:
- If you are going to eat close to bedtime, do not - and let me repeat - DO NOT have a carbohydrate-rich snack. When you ingest carbohydrates, your body releases insulin to control your blood sugar. Insulin is a fat STORING hormone and not something you want abundantly flowing through your system before bed. In addition, blood sugar spikes and insulin surges cause even MORE cravings instead of feeling satisfied after eating a snack.
- Eat protein alone or with a healthy fat before bed. Protein and fat keep you satisfied longer and will not cause an insulin surge like a carbohydrate-heavy snack would. As a matter of fact, it will release the opposing hormone, glucagon, which is a fat BURNING hormone.
Some examples of healthy snacks ("little somethings") before bed are:
- •1 slice turkey + 1/4 avocado
- •2 oz. of leftover chicken from dinner
- •1-2 hard-boiled eggs
- •Coco-Nut Pudding using Spring of Life Plant-Based Protein Powder
So, I have some homework for you. Starting tonight, eat a wholesome dinner 2-3 hours before bed and continue to monitor how you feel. But, if you find that you just can't make it to bed without a snack, don't plate a full meal of carbs. Have a small serving of fat and protein to kick any lingering cravings and hunger until breakfast.