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Is Evening Eating Destroying Your Weight Loss Efforts?

Cues to Eating and How to Control Them


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  • I agree JANERAMI. I don't get up until 10:30 am. I work 2nd shift and 5:00 pm is also my lunch time. I spread my meals and snacks throughout the day and have lost 30 pounds in 5 months.
  • Sleeping 7-8 hours a night ?!?! I sleep at most 6 hours a night. My leptin and gherlin levels are probably not balanced correctly because of that. Oh well, what can I do about it? I can not force myself to sleep.
  • Some of the questions need to be adjusted to one's personal schedule. I work till 2:00 am and sleep until qbout 10:30 am, so for me, 5:00 pm is lunchtime.
  • I totally agree with the whole evening eating thing. When they say eat like a king in the morning, a prince in the afternoon and a popper in the evening, listen to them. I believe we would all be thin if we followed this advice.
    As far as getting enough sleeps goes...there is a happy medium. Getting too much or too little sleep can be a detriment to the scale. Don't be a martyr and get adequate sleep. Your body and your mind will greatly thank you for it.
    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 !!
    Most people don't realize that the omega-6 content of many sorts of snacks can cause the munchies - that is, stimulate overeating.
  • 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.
    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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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!
  • 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."
  • 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. :)
  • 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.
  • 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!!

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