Should you be worried about eating late at night?

If you’re like most people, you’ve probably wondered if your late night dinner after a long day of work is totally sabotaging your weight loss efforts. And you’re probably wondering this because you’ve heard countless “nutrition gurus” online tell you that if you eat past some arbitrary time, you’re going to gain weight *poof* just like that overnight. But what happens if you cannot realistically eat any earlier because of your busy schedule?! Should you be worried about eating late at night? 

 

I have some good news that may surprise you if you’re someone that needs to eat late at night from time to time:

that “rule” about late night eating is complete crap and isn’t even a rule at all! 

Not only that, but the best and healthiest time to eat is when it is most REALISTIC for you in order for you to fuel your body WELL, no matter what time it is! 
 

So here’s the deal with all this eating late at night talk.

While I’m not entirely sure where the accusation came from that eating past a certain time will cause weight gain, we do know that for some, eating later at night can cause heartburn or result in less restful/restorative sleep. And even then, this would most likely come from eating RIGHT BEFORE bed. But other than that, what time you choose to eat your dinner really doesn’t matter. Like, AT ALL.

 
In fact, the only time that I might recommend you stop eating at a certain time at night is if you are looking for a good tactic to avoid letting yourself get the late night munchies. And let’s be honest, we’ve all been there! But I’ve found that it’s not typically the timing that’s the villain when it comes to late night munchies-it’s more likely to be from stress, under-fueling, and just plain old hunger from the busy day you had!
 

When it comes to weight loss that lasts, imposing arbitrary rules for yourself and calling it “discipline” isn’t the answer.

Doing something just because you think you should or because someone with a lot of likes on their TikTok says you should, doesn’t mean that it works for you or your body. 
 
Think of it this way-let’s say you had a really busy day at work and you get home later than normal. You’re exhausted, stressed, and starving because you were go, go, go all day and the last time you ate was the sandwich and piece of fruit that you quickly scarfed down over 5 hours ago for lunch. Would it be healthier for you to skip dinner altogether and just go to bed, or sit down and relax to enjoy and be present with your food?
 
If you said the latter, that’s CORRECT! Eating late at night when you can enjoy your meal is still the better option if the alternative is skipping meals and under-eating altogether. 

To recap here:

  • if your goal is weight loss that lasts, your total calorie intake and having sustainable habits is what matters most. Therefore, you should NOT be worried about eating late at night! 
  • Eating right before bed CAN cause heartburn or potentially disrupt sleep. Keep that in mind when choosing your meals if you need to be eating late at night.
  • If you find yourself simply just “snacky-y” when you’re eating late at night, ask yourself if that could be due to stress or under-eating during the day!

 If you have a super busy schedule and need quick, balanced meal ideas for eating late at night after a long day, check out our free weeknight dinner guide download here! 

Have you found yourself imposing rules on yourself because of what you’ve heard from others? Are you super busy and feel like it’s overwhelming or confusing to reach your health and fitness goals? That’s exactly what we’re here to help you with! Drop us a comment below or head to this page to apply for one-on-one coaching in our Busy Gal Nutrition coaching program! 

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