If you’ve picked up a weight loss book or magazine any time in the past 10 years, you’ve probably come across one common tidbit of advice – Don’t eat late at night. The idea behind eating late at night being bad for weight loss is pretty simple and seems to make sense at first. When you sleep, your activity levels drop, leading to a lower metabolic rate and a lower calorie burn over night. Firstly, the assumption that your body simply slows down to zero and does virtually nothing is false.
You actually burn around 60 calories per hour when you sleep, which is down to the essential processes such as digestion and respiration that need to take place 24 hours per day. This may not be as many as you burn during the day when up and moving around, and it certainly isn’t as many as when you’re exercising, but you are still burning calories. Nutrient timing refers to the times at which you eat a meal or snack, or consume calories in any form whatsoever. The most important factor, regardless of your goals, is your total daily energy and macronutrient intake.
To lose weight (and burn fat) you must consume fewer calories than you burn, while to build muscle you need to consume more calories than you burn. Let’s use an example of a person weighing 150 pounds, who has a maintenance calorie intake of 2,000 per day. If they consumed the same number of calories by 4pm, they’d have exactly the same results, showing that nutrient timing isn’t important for most people and that eating before bed is absolutely fine. It may go against everything you’ve ever read about eating for fat loss, but how often you eat makes no difference to your progress.


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My issue, like so many others was that I was bored and TV obviously wasn’t cutting it so I taught myself how to cross-stitch and knit.
I’m not saying you need to pick up knitting to end your late-night snacking but I do suggest finding another activity that you can do with your hands to keep them busy.
Therefore, proponents of avoiding pre-bed eating argue that you simply don’t need any calories before you hit the sheets, and that calories consumed late are more likely to be stored as fat. When midnight hits, it doesn’t simply just start anew, and store all the calories you’ve eaten that day that haven’t been burned yet. Over the years, several different theories have been put forward over nutrient timing, such as eating the majority of your calories and carbs before a workout, eating the majority of your calories and carbs after a workout, eating or fasting at certain times of the day, and so on.
Unless you’re an elite athlete, partaking in long sessions, or training multiple times every day, when you eat is much less important than what you eat and the amounts you eat. If this person had eaten 1,300 calories by 10pm and wanted a late night meal, they could eat something containing 300 to 400 calories and still end the day 300 to 400 calories below their maintenance level, meaning they’ll lose weight, despite eating late. I cannot tell you the amount of times I would find myself polishing off a huge bag of chips or popcorn or whatever other crap I had in the house just before I’d head off to bed.
I know that there are myths about not being able to digest food properly and whatnot if you eat later in the evening but anything you’ve heard is bunk.


Usually come 9pm and later the house is quiet, the kids are asleep and finally, finally, we have some time to ourselves to just relax. This allowed me to have the TV on and keep my hands busy, it’s very difficult to eat a bag of chips when both of your hands are busy doing something!
Teach yourself something new or pick up an old hobby that you’ve left to the wayside! I would try in vain to stop it with lots of mental tricks and affirmations and all that jazz but none of it ever took! Most people will do that by turning the TV on and vegging out and this is where our late-night eating begins. This is, however, the perfect time to find a hobby that you can do to keep your hands busy and out of the fridge. You might not burn those pre-bed calories right away, but you can be pretty certain you’ll burn off a few overnight and the rest the next day.
The problem becomes when we eat over the calorie limit that our body’s need each day.
It seems like I’d have to padlock the fridge and cupboards just to get me to stop but no matter what I did, I would always find myself heading to bed with an extended tummy and then wonder why it would take me another three hours just to drift off!
Even an extra 100 calories per day can lead up to some serious weight gain by the end of the year!



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