It's still common to hear the quote above when the topic of fat loss comes up. I hope none of your friends are wielding a gun when they see you grabbing a snack at 7:01. (If they are, you should get some new friends)
I get it. Short, black and white rules are easy to follow and remember. And they seem like common sense.
Last night my last personal training session ended at 7:30. My client asked if it was OK for her to eat when she got home considering it’s past 7.
My answer of course was: Hell yeah!
Because although YOU might be working a 9-5, your body isn’t. It definitely doesn’t shut down at 7pm and call it a day.
Think about it, if you stuff yourself until 6:59 but stop right at 7, will you lose weight? Or is it the amount of food you ate throughout your waking hours that makes the difference?
I hope you understand that the latter is true.
Still, I think there are a couple positives if you do go by this rule.
But none directly related to weight loss or metabolism.
Eating later or closer to bedtime may have a negative effect on your sleep. We know that consistently getting good sleep can have positive effects on body composition. I find I sleep best when I don’t eat past 8pm which is about two hours before my bedtime. Others I know get a food coma and pass out right after their last meal. So it really depends on the individual.
Will power is finite. We wake up with lots of will power. As the day goes on and stresses of life add up - like work, exercise or dieting - will power starts to diminish. So we have less left available by nighttime. Being aware of this and having a strategy for success is where this rule can be useful. Setting a rule to not eat past a certain time might do the trick to beat late-night cravings. This was one of the tricks I used to win over my binge eating once. I realized it always happened within an hour of me going to bed so tried to not eat anything past 8pm.
Remember that Lays commercial? "Bet you can’t have just one”? I can’t just have one bite of something, it’s inevitably going to turn into five bites.
Take away from this post:
Your digestive system is always working and it’s won’t clock out when you do.
Eat when you're hungry.
Here’s to everyone to eating a big bowl of pho at 12:30am this weekend. You are the real MVPs.