Friday, July 08, 2005

Friday Mythbustin': Don't Eat Before Bedtime

Myth: If you don't eat before bedtime, your body won't store up the calories and you won't gain weight.

Fact: If you eat more calories than you burn, it doesn't matter when you eat them.

I guess it kind of makes sense. If you eat only when you're doing stuff, you'll burn more of the calories, right? When you're sleeping, all you're doing is just . . . sleeping.

Yeah. But to be honest with you, when you're sleeping, you're not burning that many fewer calories than when you're sitting watching TV (Fitday.com gives you no calorie credit for doing either one). Unless you're actually up and moving, eating before you sit down for that Seinfeld marathon is exactly the same as eating before you sleep.

Researchers at the University of Massachusetts showed that going to bed hungry (Going 3 hours without eating before bedtime) increased a person's risk of obesity by over 100%! The only things worse were eating breakfast out of the house (137%) and not eating breakfast at all (A whopping 450%!).

Now some people swear by this weight-loss trick, and have had terrific luck with it. I think there's a reason for this:

A lot of people only have access to food once they get home from work. They come home, eat dinner, and then snack until bed time. By eliminating all the pre-bedtime snacks, they significantly cut their calorie intake. As long as they don't eat the food at other times (which they don't, because they're not in the house at other times), they're going to experience weight loss.

What I want to do is reassure them that if they give in and have something, they don't need to beat themselves up over it. In fact, it's probably a good idea.

Obviously, this isn't permission to eat the whole pint of Chubby Dumpy Ice Cream, but it does say that eating is just as important a tool in weight loss as the not eating is.

So grab that apple, or have a little meal replacement shake. High protein meals before bed help the muscle grow while you're sleeping.

Just be reasonable about it.

2 comments:

Dawn said...

Just wanted to say good luck with continued weight loss!

Rebecca said...

I've even actually heard that you burn MORE calories sleeping than you do while watching tv. I think the reasoning was something about when you sleep, your body actually has to do certain stuff to keep in that state, but when you're watching tv, you're doing absolutely nothing. Obviously, I don't know the technicals...