The simple answer is, you should eat when you feel you need to eat and in a way that fits into your schedule. There is no one rule for everyone and anyone who tells you that is probably trying to sell you something.
There seems to be this rule that we should not eat after 6pm, and that is what is going to help us get healthy and lose weight. Well, for those of us that don’t finish work until after that time, or we don’t finish our workouts until 9pm – what are we meant to do? Just not eat? Yes – that seems healthy.
In our house we quite often eat our main meal after 9pm and it has never got in the way of our health goals. As long as you are eating the right amount for your daily activity, then the time you eat is not going to make a difference in the long run. If however you have already eaten the amount your body needs and then you are eating again at 9pm and consistently doing this, then that might start to stand in the way of your goals. The reason why eating after 6pm causes weight gain for some, is because they have already eaten the amount they should for the day, and then they continue snacking. Is is not to do with the time of day, it is just too much food. Calories do not know what time it is!
There is no magic about stopping eating at 6pm which leads to fat loss. The research behind this says that the reason you should stop eating at a certain time, is because your body needs a certain amount of time without food to burn fat. Well, tell that to the millions of people who have been able to burn fat by eating after 6pm – including me. If you can address it as real hunger, and not emotional hunger, then your body needs food. Don’t ignore real hunger signals. Also, if you are looking to build muscle (which you should – it isn’t just for body builders), then your body craves routine when it comes to food and going that long without food is not what your body needs or wants. You want to keep your metabolism going!
For me, I am just naturally hungry at night, so that is why eating later works for me. If I listened to this no eating after 6pm rule, then I would most likely end up binging because I am just naturally hungry. Our bodies are all different and we have to figure out the best routines for us.
Okay, so now that has cleared that up, you probably want to know what kind of things to eat when you get hungry at night? I eat the same kind of snacks I would eat at any other time of the day. Check out my list of healthy snacks.
So, basically, everyone is different and you have to find what works for you, but it is how much you eat and how much exercise you do that counts – not what time you eat.