Sometimes, even the silliest of statements carry some truth with it. While the popular saying, "no carbs after 7pm" might sound restrictive, there's some merit to adhering to the statement. Experts agree that late-night snacking can have an adverse effect on your health. Here’s how you can throw a leash over those pesky midnight munchies:
1. Define your eating window
Studies have suggested that you are more likely to gain weight if you consume the bulk of your calories at night. A good basic approach would be to eat a hearty breakfast and spread your calories evenly over lunch and dinner. If you have a tendency to overeat however, practicing time-restricted feeding (ie. intermittent fasting) may make it easier for you to curb your appetite. Assuming you sleep at a decent hour, trying to halt all caloric intake at least an hour before bedtime. If not, the whole “no carbs after 7pm” may not be such a bad idea after all.
Stress can lead one to binge on comfort food. Eating is pleasurable and leads to instant gratification. High-sugar foods are also known to trigger a release of dopamine when ingested, which the brain interprets as a reward. As such, it is very easy to become trapped in the vicious cycle of stress-eating. Try other more wholesome alternatives to keep your cortisol levels in check, such as deep breathing, meditation and regular exercise.
3. Plan your meals in advance
Meal planning can be troublesome, but it helps you know what to expect from your eating schedule. Without a proper nutrition plan in place, you'll be prone to making decisions on the fly, which will most of the time result in overindulgence. Planning the day’s/week’s menu beforehand also makes meeting your macronutrient requirements much simpler. The simple act of doing up a grocery list will also help to limit the number of junk food available at home. There won't be a Snickers bar for you to scarf down if you never bought it in the first place.
It is never a good idea to leave your nutrition up to chance, especially if you have a tendency to lose track of what and how much you’re eating. When it comes to snacking, having a clearly defined plan that explicitly spells out the what’s and when’s will ensure that you, not your stomach, will have the final say on what goes into your mouth.