I was reading through my old blog yesterday, and came across an entry I wrote in 2007 after an experiment I had done. For 30 days, I didn't eat after 7:00 pm. I initially did the experiment to see if I would lose more weight that way, even when consuming the same number of calories as when I ate at night. In the end, the weight loss was pretty much the same. But I learned a lot about myself in those 30 days. Here are the results (copied from my old entry):
1) Knowing that I had to get in all my points before 7 PM changed my food-mindset. Prior to the experiment, I would eat much more lightly at breakfast and lunch, so that I'd have a lot of food for dinner and then snacks at night. I went hungry though out the day often because I was "saving" points for later. If you're a compulsive/binge eater, you know that hunger can set you up for bingeing! So while doing the experiment, I knew that I had to eat all my points before 7 PM, and therefore, I ate a higher point breakfast and lunch, and almost the rest of my points at dinner (saving a few for dessert to immediately follow dinner, rather than for TV time at night).
2) I stopped thinking about my night-time snack. During the day prior to the experiment, I was constantly thinking about what I was going to indulge in later that night after the kids went to bed (even if it was within my points range). Once I knew that I couldn't eat after 7 PM, I quit thinking about it!
3) I stopped emotional eating. This was a huge difference I noticed!! My eating at night was completely an emotional thing--I liked to curl up on the couch with my favorite TV shows on and something sweet and indulgent to eat. It made me feel cozy and comfortable. While doing the experiment, I started by switching to green tea for that same effect, but after about 2 weeks I even quit having that. I didn't feel like I needed anything at night!
4) Food lost that "good food/bad food" title. This was very weird to me, and somewhat hard to explain. I always used to think of certain foods as "good" or "bad"--ice cream was "bad" and broccoli was "good". Those are two extremes, but all foods pretty much had a label like that. Before doing the experiment, I tended to save the "bad" foods for nighttime snacking. During the experiment, I just chose to eat what I wanted, when I wanted. If I wanted ice cream, for example, instead of waiting until the kids went to bed, I would eat it after lunch. What's the big deal? It stopped feeling like a "bad" food to me, because I wasn't eating it at night.
So, after reading that in my old entry, I was feeling inspired to try it again. Starting today, my husband and I are going to stop eating after 7:00 pm. Calorie-free beverages are allowed, but that's all. And while I'm at it, I'm going to *try* to go
I know what you're thinking: "Really, Katie? You suck at finishing your challenges."
Totally valid point. I am notorious for starting challenges for myself and not finishing them. But if I consider how many times I attempted to lose weight vs. how many times I was successful, well... it doesn't hurt to keep trying!
So anyways, I've been battling with a cold for about a week now, and it's driving me crazy. This morning, I felt like I was swallowing razorblades. I watched a movie, drank a few cups of tea, and then felt so guilty about skipping my scheduled easy 3-miler, that I decided to just go run. I ran really easy, and now I have two days off of running, so hopefully I'll be feeling better before Monday's long run (9 miles).
Now, I think I'm going to spend the rest of the afternoon lying on the couch (to treat this cold, of course).
Do you find night time snacking to be a problem for you? Have you ever tried to give yourself a cut-off time?