Many of us believe that in order to lose weight, we have to cut out the late night snacks. This is true, to a point. Eating food after a certain time of night doesn't automatically cause weight gain. In fact, there are some reasons why adding a late night snack to your diet may be beneficial to your overall weight loss plan. Let's explore the world of weight loss and the midnight munchies.
Calorie Consumption Truth
When we think about late night snacking, we have to understand a simple truth. Whether you follow a diet where you actually count the calories you eat all day, or you just try to eat foods with fewer calories, the fact is you have to 'count calories.' The idea is quite simple. If we need 2,000 calories per day, and we consume most of those calories during the day, we have very little room to add calories at night. If we consume fewer of those calories during the day, we will have room in our calorie count to eat a snack at night. Yes, you can ingest your calories any time you like - morning, noon, or night - and it won't make a difference in your weight loss program. But, as you'll see, there is something to be said for spreading those calories out over the day, and night.
The Need to Snack
The first thing you need to do is decide what sort of late-night snacker you are. Do you eat because you're hungry? Do you eat because you're bored? Do you eat sweet foods? Do you eat salty foods? Narrowing down some of the whys-and-whats will make a difference when you are trying to figure out how to lose weight and enjoy your bedtime snacks. Once you know why you snack at night, you can adjust your snacking to help you stay on track with your diet, or even improve it. Satisfy your need to snack by planning for healthier choices that fit your taste buds and your diet. This way you won't keep searching for the solution to your hunger and end up devouring more calories than you needed to.
Stop the Starvation Trigger
The surprising news is, some late night snacking can actually help you lose weight. If you sit down for dinner at 6 o'clock at night, for instance, and you turn in at 11 o'clock, you have a long stretch where your body is getting the signal that it's not going to get any more food. Many experts believe that a light snack about an hour before bed signals your body that it's okay to continue to burn calories because there's no danger of starvation. The key is to make sure the calories you eat for your late night snack are still within your range of total calories recommended for the day, and not beyond.
Smooth Out the Blood Sugar
Every time we eat, our blood sugar rises, then falls. As this occurs, a healthy body adjusts and uses the nutrients for energy, etc. The goal is to keep the peaks and valleys smoothed out by eating many smaller healthy meals throughout the day. If you're eating three meals a day, with no snacks in between, your blood sugar levels are bouncing high and crashing hard. Sharply spiking and quickly falling blood sugar levels will cause the dieter to grab for the chocolate cake or cookies, which continues the cycle.
Your midnight snack can actually work for you rather than against you in your weight loss plan. Consider the late-night snack your 'sixth meal' of the day to help turn off the starvation trigger and smooth out your blood sugar. This can be a valuable tool if you plan nutritious snacks that fit within your total caloric intake. Remember, your body only needs a certain amount of calories to function. What time of day you consume those calories doesn't matter much in the overall weight loss scheme. Preparing for the inevitable midnight munchies attack is definitely part of a smart weight loss program.