Habitually eating more food later in the day and especially late at night (there's actually a term for this known as "late night eating syndrome" which is essentially binge eating at night) will almost certainly derail your effort in losing bodyweight/bodyfat. Why? Because during the evenings the body temperature begins to decrease, metabolism begins to slow, and the body begins to prepare itself for sleep (think hibernation mode). You're not likely to be as active later in the day and therefore your body burns less calories as a result. But you're eating more heavier food (e.g., pizza, steak, potatoes, ice cream) than your body can digest before you go to sleep. Gee, I wonder what the consequences are if you continue this lifestyle habit for the long-term. Let's do the math: you eat more food but your body burns less calories later in the day. What do you think will occur? More caloric intake combined with less caloric expenditure equals a net energy surplus (translation: increased bodyweight/bodyfat gain).
So what's the solution to avoiding the undesirable scenerio above? You guessed it: EAT BREAKFAST!!! Better yet, eat a BIG breakfast! By eating more earlier in the day, you will feel less hungry later in the day. Your goal should be to eat more food before noon than you would eat after noon. Eat less as the day goes on and eat light before going to bed (e.g., cottage cheese, yogurt, blueberries, raisins, milk, protein shake, handful of nuts or seeds). Be sure to eat at least six to eight meals daily (every three to four hours). Drink cold water periodically throughout the day. Both, eating more often and drinking water will rev up your metabolism and fight food cravings. Green tea with or without caffeine will also speed up your metabolism. Incidently, avoid caffeine (e.g., coffee, tea, OTC prescription drugs like pain relievers or cold medicines) and reduce alcohol consumption within six hours of bedtime--the caffeine may be responsible for your insomnia if you're not able to get to sleep within twenty minutes after your head hits the pillow and the alcohol is usually responsible for less restful sleep. If this is a radical idea for you, then I strongly recommend you begin by making only slight changes in your eating cycle. Begin by eating some fruit (e.g., blueberries, grapefruit, raisins) and some orange juice with maybe an egg or two. Then gradually increase the amount eaten for breakfast each week. You'll need to wean yourself into eating BIG in the morning by making a
Brian Danley, CFT
"Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going."