Eating Time & Weight Loss

Q I rarely get home from work before 8.30pm and so don’t normally eat my dinner until gone 9pm. After I’ve eaten I don’t do much, except watch TV or read and then go to bed. Will eating so late at night stop me from losing weight?

A Many people believe that eating their main meal late at night will be their dieting downfall. But take it from me – eating in the evening won’t stop you from losing weight, but consuming too many calories throughout the day, will! Providing you stick to your daily calorie allowance you’ll lose weight, regardless of the time when you consume those calories. I suggest you get into the habit of planning ahead, though, and always make sure you have enough calories left for your dinner. The only thing that might stop you losing weight is if you get to 9pm and discover you’ve already eaten enough food to cover your daily calorie allowance – and then have your dinner on top of this!

Q I’ve read you shouldn’t eat after 6pm if you want to lose weight. Is this true?

A This is a popular idea that continues to pop up from time to time. And you might be surprised to hear me say that it can indeed work! However, there’s no magic behind it – it’s simply another gimmick to control your overall calorie intake. For example, a typical evening meal may easily contain 500 calories if not more. Meanwhile, many of us spend the evening nibbling on high-calorie snack foods such as crisps, sweets and biscuits while watching TV.

By imposing a ban on eating after 6pm, we automatically slash our calorie intake, sometimes by as much as 1,000 calories. And in all probability, while we might eat a little more food throughout the day to compensate, chances are we won’t completely make up the calorie deficit! Ultimately, if you want to lose weight, the most important thing is to stick to your daily calorie allowance. It doesn’t matter what time of day you consume these calories, although I’d recommend spreading them evenly throughout the day to prevent hunger from kicking in. For most of us, eating in the evening is the norm and an important part of our social life – and there’s no reason why you can’t still do that AND lose weight!

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