It’s pretty obvious that for most, calories in, calories out is what determines whether weight is gained or not. Avoiding after dinner eating may help prevent weight gain. Eating when we are tired at the end of the day can make digestion more difficult, resulting in weight gain. It can also cause bloating, gas and heart burn. Nighttime eating may alter hormones that control appetite and result in added pounds. We have a ‘brain’ in our stomach that ensures food is moved in the right amounts and at the correct speed through the digestive system. When we are tired, which most of us in the evening, this ‘brain’ is also tired and doesn’t work as efficiently.
Why do we eat at night?
There are several reasons why we may turn to food at night:
- Inadequate calorie intake during the day
- Emotional eating – using food to cope with stress, procrastination, boredom, feelings of loneliness, boredom or to avoid sadness, anger or other unpleasant emotions
- It’s become a habit
When we deprive ourselves or skip meals during the day, we go into starvation mode and think about food constantly. This can result in eating random snack throughout the day, and not providing our bodies with what they need.
Lack of Planning
If we don’t pre-plan for dinner, it becomes easy to pick up take out on the way home, usually something high in calories, especially if we have skipped meals during the day. Guilt sets in and we may eat more. Or we stuff ourselves with cheese and crackers while we try to make a ‘real meal’ and then don’t feel like eating the dinner we’ve just prepared.
Does this sound familiar?
We may have a post-dinner ritual that looks like this. Changing into something loose and comfortable, flopping on the sofa with a book, electronic device or the remote control. You’re hungry again later, so it’s off to up and down, off the sofa, to get snacks, switching back and forth between sweet and salty.