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Is Evening Eating Destroying Your Weight Loss Efforts?

Cues to Eating and How to Control Them


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    From oh so many comments---this is a problem for MANY OF US!! There are some great tips. I laugh at Dr. Phil's tip, "stay out of the kitchen!"...haha
    One called it the evening eating "curse"... and I blame my taste bud demons!
    What a good tip from a Sparker to have hard cooked eggs on hand; only a 70 calorie snack. Also, it is good to chew slowly. Too often I gulp down food, BAD!
    Having your evening meal already cooked in the crock pot is also good--preventing snacking while having to prepare dinner. I used to eat a packet of oatmeal in hot water, just before I left the office. This really takes the hunger edge off for me. I called it my nutrition "medicine".... It is healthy and it keeps me from binging.
    Sparkpeople --- thank you for all your support. We are in this effort together !! - 3/16/2012 2:16:35 PM
    Most people don't realize that the omega-6 content of many sorts of snacks can cause the munchies - that is, stimulate overeating.
    etin/ww_en_db_cannabis_artikel.php?id=367 - 3/16/2012 11:23:56 AM
  • I agree with most here. I work 2nd shift (3p-11p). I usually don't eat dinner till between 6 & 8p. I do evenly spread out meals, water consumption & snacks throughout the day. I think if we consume less & eat so called bad foods in moderation, exercise (or just plain keep moving throughout the day) weight loss is inevitable. I have lost about 10 lbs since I started keeping track of food on this site less than 2 mos ago. I only went over recommended calories twice but it was not due to binge or late night eating. People have to do what works best for their schedule as far as what time to eat. - 3/16/2012 8:33:32 AM
    I've been wondering if my weight loss efforts haven't been as high as I thought they would be because of eating late in the evening - but, seeing as now days I usually wait four hours after waking around noon to eat something, generally a snack, and only have about one to two full meals during the day, and then desperately try to find something to munch on at night... I'd say that I really need to eat more, and during the day! Thank you for the article. - 2/27/2012 2:33:14 PM
  • I do notice that I eat more at dinner than I do other meals but I always stay within my calorie range. But doesn't it make sense to eat a little more at dinner since you won't eat again for about 9 hours? And I also can't eat a huge breakfast without feeling a little nauseous, so I stick to oatmeal with strawberries and flaxseed. It is hard for my to eat 450 cal at breakfast unless I'm eating waffles or something, which is very rare. I also use dinner to get most of my protein because that is when I make chicken or fish and some times beef. - 2/27/2012 1:03:58 PM
  • I have no problem with most of the information in the article. It is not difficult to infer that if your schedule is different, you should adjust accordingly. My only problem is with the suggestion that diet sodas are an acceptable option. Articles promoting healthy lifestyles should not be promoting diet soda. Period. "Low calorie" does not equal healthy, and diet sodas are about as UNhealthy as you can get. - 2/27/2012 12:32:24 PM
  • I don't see anywhere where it says you need to eat dinner by 5pm. The article says,

    "You may have a problem with evening eating if:

    More than one-third of your meals & snacks are eaten after 5:00 pm.
    More than one-third of your total calories are consumed after 5:00 pm."

    What the above means is if you eat most of your food in the evening, you probably have a problem with evening eating. I don't know where people got "you HAVE to eat dinner before 5pm."

    This, along with what other dietitians say, is a GUIDELINE. It is not a law, the food police will NOT arrest you if you eat something at 5:01 PM. I don't see ANY unrealistic expectation in this article, I appreciate the information provided!

    I joined SP a long time ago, and enjoyed the helpful articles. Now reading the comments just makes me depressed. (I can't help but read them, they show up on the side of the article). I'm glad I don't write anything for SP, my self esteem would be in the gutter with all these mean comments! - 2/27/2012 11:11:33 AM
  • I don't understand why we get so bent out of shape and take literally every single thing that someone writes in an article on SP. The time frames given are just examples or suggestions. My mom worked midnights at the post office for over 30 years. When her doctor told her that she needed to make some changes in her diet, it was difficult for her. I told her that her "morning" wasn't the same as mine...her "morning" was actually about 6:00pm...that was when she should eat breakfast. Her "noon" was around midnight and that's when she had lunch. Her "evening" would be around 5:00 or 6:00am...that was when she would have dinner. She would have light & healthy snacks during her regular work breaks. She lost 17 lbs without exercising and she slept better.

    Maybe these writers need to add disclaimers to their articles to ease the minds of the readers: "This information should be tailored to the lifestyle of the individual. Any suggested meal times are general and for the purposes of making examples, they are not hard and fast rules that we expect you to live by." - 2/27/2012 8:54:28 AM
  • Unless I misread it, I don't think it was suggesting to eat dinner by 5, but I understood it to say that IF you have trouble with binging in the evening when you do get home, take note of how much you are eating before 5 (when evening unofficially starts) and how much you are eating after 5. If most of your calories are after 5, it is suggesting this could be the reason why you are binging in the evening. If you are not binging when you get home, then don't worry about it. If you are binging, maybe adjust your meals and snack throughout the day. And if you are on a different work schedule, just adjust the time accordingly to what would be your "5 oclock" in the evening & dinner and your bed time, etc. Just another perspective. :) - 2/27/2012 5:00:44 AM
  • Does anyone else see irony in the skinny model chosen for the photo for this article? Just wondering. I do my best to not eat after 8pm, but some nights I don't get home from work until after 6, and have a workout and dogs to walk before dinner happens, so that's not always realistic. - 1/15/2012 7:56:34 PM
  • We have our main meal at noon because of living on our dairy and with the traditions of farming from long ago. So therefore, we're snacking pretty much the rest of the day and I try to make mine light. The men don't like a heavy meal before going out to do the evening meal, so have heavier snacks when coming back into the house, the earliest time would be around 7:30 and most of the time, it's later than that, with problems that can come up when you take care of alot of animals, etc!! - 1/15/2012 7:45:11 PM
    Thanks, Becky! You really covered all the bases here, from the effects of sleep on ghrelin and leptin (vitally important) to the optimal proportions of calories consumed at various times of the day to "instead-of" activities to pursue instead of eating. Well done!! - 1/15/2012 6:30:44 PM
  • Um, Becky, many of us don't leave our offices until well after five p.m. While I do eat dinner as early as possible I don't believe I've EVER in my life eaten it before 5 o'clock.

    While there was a lot of useful info in this article, these very unrealistic expectations on the part of dietitians (and, through you, SP) can set people up for an unnecessary sense of failure.

    I give the article a major fail on this count alone. - 1/15/2012 3:25:29 PM
    I used to have trouble with "early evening" eating, because I work late (frequently until 7 or 8 pm). Previously, I'd get home, famished and dive head first into a bag of tortilla chips while I waited for dinner (often not until 9 or 10 pm). Now, I have a couple of late afternoon and early evening healthy snacks (e.g., fruit, nuts, yogurt). I usually have one snack around 3:30-5 and the second one just before I leave to go home (depending on the day, between 6 and 8 pm). That way, I'm not ravenously hungry when I get home, so I eat a healthy dinner and go to bed shortly thereafter.

    I keep healthy and tasty, grab and go snacks at the office, so I'm not tempted to eat junk. - 1/15/2012 3:17:20 PM
  • I appreciate that SP recognizes calories are calories no matter when they are eaten. I've always been a night eater and it never affects my sleep pattern - I sleep great. In fact, going to bed with hunger pangs will cause me to not get a good nights sleep. Knowing this about myself, when I started SP I decided to play to my "weakness"... Adjusting my calorie intake during the day so I have plenty left to eat my snacks in the evening. I eat most of my calories after 5 but track everyone of them. My snacks are typically fruits and/or cereal such as oatmeal. The snacks are in my tracker before I eat dinner! Have averaged weight loss of about 6 pounds a month.
    Bottomline ~ I say, know who you are and what has tripped you up in the past. Then work a program, you can maintain for a lifetime, around your known pitfalls. - 1/15/2012 11:16:39 AM

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