Did you know our metabolism slows down towards the end of the day? Read for more reasons late night snacking could be sabotaging you.
By: Betsy Stevens NCCPT | Click Here to Find Me on Facebook
It’s 9:00 p.m. and you have FINALLY caught up on the chores, helped the kids with their homework and got them into their beds for the night. It’s finally time to wind down and relax. You sit around for a little while, maybe while reading a book or catching up on some T.V. shows recorded on the DVR. All of the sudden you get the urge for a snack. You think to yourself, “Gah, I just had dinner an hour or so ago. Am I really that hungry?” You brush it off; you’re fine. You don’t need anything else to eat.
“Just kidding!” says your stomach. “Go get yourself that tub of ice cream and then plop back down on the couch!” So, of course, you give in. Only to wake up the next day mad at yourself for giving into late night cravings and mad at yourself for looking the same in the mirror.
I have a thought for you to consider: Is it really your stomach telling you that you are hungry OR is it your brain?
You’re probably thinking, “Uh, my stomach is what lets me know I’m hungry, right? So what on earth does my brain have to do with anything?” Well, it actually has everything to do with your hunger my friend. Hunger is defined as, “A feeling of discomfort or weakness caused by lack of food, coupled with the desire to eat.” A desire to eat. That’s the key phrase I want you to pay attention to. What you eat throughout the day and for dinner, will determine if you are legitimately hungry or if your brain is just telling you to eat.
The Source of the Trickery
Foods that are full of simple carbohydrates (chips, white breads, candy, cookies, etc.) are full of processed sugars or artificial sweeteners that trick your brain into telling your body that you are hungry. Sometimes people don’t even go 30 minutes after eating these foods, before having the urge to eat again. The chemicals in your brain get all out of whack due to eating things that don’t actually provide good nutrition. Foods like vegetables, lean chicken and fish or nuts provide the body with the fiber it needs to keep us fuller for longer. You can eat 20 cupcakes and feel horribly sick after they are gone, but I promise you that within 2 hours or less, you are going to want to eat again. Maybe even cupcakes.
How the Trickery Works
What happens if you eat these foods late at night? I think you may already know the answer, but I’ll tell you just in case. These processed or simple carb filled foods you eat are going to put unnecessary weight on your body, day or night. But for this article, we will focus on the night. At the end of the day, our body’s metabolism is slowly winding down and we are no longer needing as much of the energy supplied to us by food. Since artificial and sugary foods don’t provide much energy for your body during its metabolic peak anyway, it’s definitely not doing your body any favors when it’s starting to slow down at night.
Those not so good foods are going to have your brain convince you to keep eating and eating and eating. By eating so much of that bad food at night, you are setting yourself up for weight gain and disappointment. Think about it, the late night food you are eating isn’t going to be used for energy. You are dumping it into your body and eventually going to lay in the bed for 6+ hours. That food is going to turn into body fat and you are going to turn into a very unhappy and unhealthy person.
Yes, there is a way to fix this problem! When dinner time rolls around, instead of eating foods like white pasta noodles and heavy cream sauces or white rice or fried potatoes and greasy breaded meats, opt for a healthier lighter choice.
Just like I said earlier, lean meats, whole grains and vegetables are full of fiber to keep you full. These foods won’t mislead your brain to believe you are hungry an hour or so later, thus making you want to continue eating the crappy foods that are making you feel and look, well, crappy.