Is Eating Past 7 O’Clock Making You Fat?
It’s still common to hear the quote above when the topic of fat loss comes up. I hope none of your friends are wielding a gun when they see you grabbing a snack at 7:01. (If they are, you should get some new friends)
I get it. Short, black and white rules are easy to follow and remember. And they seem like common sense.
Last night my last personal training session ended at 7:30. My client asked if it was OK for her to eat when she got home considering it’s past 7.
My answer of course was: Hell yeah!
Because although YOU might be working a 9–5, your body isn’t. It definitely doesn’t shut down at 7pm and call it a day.
Think about it, if you stuff yourself until 6:59 but stop right at 7, will you lose weight? Or is it the amount of food you ate throughout your waking hours that makes the difference?
I hope you understand that the latter is true.
Still, I think there are a couple positives if you do go by this rule.
But none directly related to weight loss or metabolism.
- Eating later or closer to bedtime may have a negative effect on your sleep. We know that consistently getting good sleep can have positive effects on body composition. I find I sleep best when I don’t eat past 8pm which is about two hours before my bedtime. Others I know get a food coma and pass out right after their last meal. So it really depends on the individual.
- Will power is finite. We wake up with lots of will power. As the day goes on and stresses of life add up — like work, exercise or dieting — will power starts to diminish. So we have less left available by nighttime. Being aware of this and having a strategy for success is where this rule can be useful. Setting a rule to not eat past a certain time might do the trick to beat late-night cravings. This was one of the tricks I used to win over my binge eating once. I realized it always happened within an hour of me going to bed so tried to not eat anything past 8pm.
Remember that Lays commercial? “Bet you can’t have just one”? I can’t just have one bite of something, it’s inevitably going to turn into five bites.
Take away from this post:
- Your digestive system is always working and it’s won’t clock out when you do.
- Eat when you’re hungry.
Here’s to everyone to eating a big bowl of pho at 12:30am this weekend. You are the real MVPs.