Carbs At Night- Good or Bad?
Have you done it before?
Have you cut carbs out of your last meal or dinner meal?
I’m sure you have.
I mean, I have, so I’m sure you have too.
Is it good or bad to do that?
Well, as I usually like to answer…………
It depends on a few things.
But I will tell you out right what I am totally against, and that is………
“Don’t eat after 5-6pm”.
Have you heard that one before?
Noooooo, don’t even tell me you’ve even done it before.
Ugh, I just don’t want you to struggle… I mean what busy mom has the energy to deal all day without carbs which is our main source of fuel.
I mean, for goodness sake, unless you are checking out for the day and going to sleep at 6:30pm, I find no legitimate reason for having to stop eating at 5pm.
And if you are going to sleep at 6:30pm can you please call me and tell me how you are able to pull that off, because I would love to be able to put my 2 kids to sleep, have the kitchen cleaned, uniforms out for the next day, lunches prepped, showered and in bed by that time. LOL
What that will do… cutting out carbs is slow metabolism, which in turn makes it harder for your body to burn calories.
And then you will also wake up so darn hungry over 12 hours later that you will eat the HOUSE the next day. (It’s happened to me )
Not to mention, your husband may divorce you and your kids think your the worse mother ever. (trust me I know how cranky we can get when we are hangry).
I mean, I don’t know about you, but I sure am cranky when I am hungry.
I am cranky, tired, fatigued, and have ZERO PATIENCE when I am hungry.
Let’s get something straight……
MMF’S RULE OF THUMB
“If you are up, you eat”
Description of Rule
It’s pretty simple. If you go to sleep at 10:00pm, it’s ok if you eat at 8pm. Actually, you have to eat at 8:00pm or even 9:00pm. You should not go to sleep when its been more than 3 hours since you ate.
To then go another 6-10 hours (depending on how much you sleep) without eating…….
That is a recipe for a SLOW METABOLISM.
Now the trick is what you eat.
What I’m NOT Saying
- I’m not saying you can eat anything you want before you go to bed.
- I’m not saying you can have a bag of pretzels and a diet coke.
- I’m not saying you can have some cookies or ice cream.
- I’m not saying you should have a bowl of fruit or cereal with milk.
What To Eat For Your Last Meal
You can eat the same thing you would eat at any other time of the day.
You can eat a lean protein, some fibrous vegetables and some CARBS.
A regular healthy meal.
OH-OH, did I say carbs at night?
Ok, I will get into it now.
You may also want to read Why “Trying” Not To Eat Carbs Doesn’t Work.
If you have been trying not to eat carbs often and you still don’t see weight loss or results, this may be why.
So I said that making the choice on whether you should eat carbs or not for dinner or you last meal depends on a few things.
Let’s discuss that.
But before I go into it I just want to make sure you are eating the proper foods and NOT eating the ones that will sabotage your results.
Most of the time, I find that its not the “Carbs” that are making people not be able to lose weight, its that they are eating the wrong foods.
I have been able to find a way to lose weight, tone up, and actually get in better shape than before I had kids and WITHOUT cutting out carbs, without starving, without having to workout everyday and being able to integrate it all into my busy mom life.
Since then, I have helped over 200,000 women do the same inside my FIT MOM FOR LIFE PROGRAM.
Ok, let’s go on……..
Things To Think Of When Making The Choice To Cut Out Carbs
- 1. When was the last time you ate?
- 2. Did you eat carbs and/or fat in your last meal?
- 3. What time are you going to sleep?
- 4. How active where you today?
- 5. How hungry do you feel?
- 6. What is everyone else at the dinner table eating?
- 7. If you don’t eat carbs and are still up for a few hours, will you be able to not eat again, will you be able to control the “food picking” or “binge eating”?
- 8. What kind of carb is it?
- 9. How much carbs do you need to eat to fill satisfied?
- 10. What are your goals?
1. When was the last time you ate?
If you ate your last meal at 2pm and it’s not 7pm, it’s been 5 hours since your last meal. At this point you have low blood sugar and your body NEEDS sugar (carbs) in order to create homeostasis in the body again. It is incredibly hard to have WILL POWER at this point. Chances are you will end up eating more calories later on. You know…… before bed, after you have already brushed your teeth and no one is watching……. Just a few bites of something before you go to bed. This does more harm than if you would have just had half of a sweet potato for goodness sake.
If you ate a snack at 4pm and it’s 6pm when you are having dinner, maybe you are not really hungry yet and you can totally do without eating the carbs and can fill up with protein and veggies. If this is the scenario, then maybe cutting out the carbs is ok.
2. Did you eat carbs and/or fat for your last meal?
If you ate carbs and/or fat for your last meal, you may be able to skip the carbs on your very last meal and be ok. But if you eat and you didn’t eat carbs, and you are still hungry…… Just eat some darn carbs. A few bites of brown rice isn’t what is making you NOT LOSE WEIGHT. It’s the crap you eat when you shouldn’t!
If you didn’t eat carbs or fat for your last meal, eating no carbs for dinner or your last meal may just not cut it.
You may end up still hungry after dinner and end up eating something you shouldn’t or end up eating too much.
Which eating too much of even healthy food is detrimental to your results. I mean by this point it may have been since 12pm (lunch) that you ate some carbs (reminder that carbs are your main source of fuel).
Now its 7pm, its been 7 hours and you aren’t going to sleep until 10pm.
My friend, if you think you can go 10 hours without carbs on a daily basis, you got something coming…….
Who are you trying to kid?
Its just not sustainable.
You are better off having a few bites of brown rice or quinoa or a half a sweet potato or a small serving of beans. It will make you feel full, give you energy, and hold you over until you next meal without picking, binge eating, or making poor choices.
3. What time are you going to sleep?
If it’s 8pm when you are having your last meal and you are going to bed in an hour, and you want to skip the carbs, you may be able to. Considering you ate properly for your last few meals, enough and ate some carbs then also.
But if you are eating your last meal at 5-6pm and aren’t going to bed until 10-11pm, you may have a hard time not wanting to eat again. You will end up having low blood sugar again, craving carbs, and end up making a poor choice.
Remember that food, eating is a very psychological thing.
You are better off eating in a manner that makes you feel happy and satisfied because when you don’t, you end up making poor choices.
4. How active were you today?
If you were very active, maybe you did some weights and cardio. You expended more calories. If you did, it’s important to make sure you eat enough to not only replenish what you lost but also to make sure you don’t lose muscle.
Eating enough is crucial when trying to lose fat and gain lean and tight muscle.
5. How hungry do you feel?
Remember the importance of what I just said…..
Being happy, content, satisfied………
If you are really hungry before you eat dinner or your last meal because maybe you didn’t eat enough the last meal or too many hours went by before your last meal……. Well, then it would not be smart to eat just protein and vegetables and just try to DEAL WITH THE HUNGER.
That never works. It actually ends up harming you because 9 times out of 10, you end up eating something “bad after”.
So much of our bad choices are made out of EMOTION.
If you haven’t already, make sure you read my post on The 15-Seconds Rule to Controlling Emotional Eating.
6. What is everyone else at the dinner table eating?
Let’s be realistic here.
If you’re family is sitting at the dinner table eating the most delicious baked potato fries you made them and you are eating broccoli, chances are you are going to be miserable. Maybe…. Maybe not, and if you are not, then thats great. Sometimes, I feel just as happy eating my roasted vegetables. For example, my Asparagus and Tomato Medley recipe makes me so happy that I don’t care what everyone else is eating.
But if by chance I am not as happy eating my broccoli, while everyone else eats this delicious brown rice pilaf I made, well then I eat my broccoli, and then I have a few bites of the brown rice.
Unless you are getting on stage for a bodybuilding or physique competition, having a few tablespoons of brown rice isn’t going to make or break you losing a pound of fat. But the 4 cookies you eat after dinner because you weren’t satisfied with your broccoli will. So you make the call!
7. If you don’t eat carbs and are still up for a few hours, will you be able to not eat again, will you be able to control the “food picking” or “binge eating”?
As I said before…. Its all about how you feel and what you think you can handle.
If you want to cut out the carbs because you are trying to cut calories a little so that you can lose weight, great. I’m not saying not to. But first think……… If you are eating dinner early and you won’t be going to sleep for another 3 hours, will you be able to realistically go those 3 hours without craving or wanting to eat something….. which that something when you cut out carbs tends to normally be SUGAR.
If you really think you can, great, go for it.
But if you don’t think you will because you haven’t in the past, then just serve yourself a tiny portion of carbs. Even a 1/4 cup of brown rice or quinoa, or a 1/4 of a sweet potato. Cut the portion size but don’t cut it out completely and take it from there and feel yourself out.
8. What kind of carb is it?
If you are wanting to eat a sandwich for dinner or your last meal….. Well, that will not be a good choice.
Do you want a bowl of fruit with your dinner? Well, that much sugar right before bed even though it’s healthy, may not be the best option either.
Your mamma’s left over mashed potato, hmm, may not be the best either.
But if you are talking about a healthy cooked complex carb like quinoa, brown rice, sweet potato, garbanzo beans, kidney beans, etc, a small portion will be just fine.
9. How much carbs do you need to feel satisfied?
This is a big one for me. Because sometimes if I’m trying to cut carbs a bit and I do so, some days I may really just want to eat some just because they look good or whatever. Once its in my mind, there is no turning back, no matter how strong I try to be.
On these occasions, I will just take one bite and be done. Sometimes I just need a taste and Im over it.
Can you do the same?
or will eating a bite make you want more?
Will you be able to control yourself or not?
These are all very personal things. But for me, I do better not depriving myself completely. I rather just have one bite if i really want it and then be done. When I don’t then I end up eating more later anyhow.
It’s up to you!
10. What are your goals?
This is the most important one.
If your goal is to lose weight and you need to cut out a little bit of carbs and you can do so for dinner, good for you. Just make sure that you eat enough and the right foods for the prior meals.
If you are trying to gain muscle, you may want to reconsider cutting out the carbs for the last meal. You may want to just cut down portions sizes from all meals instead of a whole nutrient out of one meal.
Just make sure its something you can handle, you will enjoy and you can be consistent with.
I discussed a lot today.
I know this was a long one.
But there are so many things to think about when making a choice like this because the effects of doing so when you are not prepared mentally for it, are detrimental and usually will cause more negative effects than eating the darn 1/2 cup of brown rice.
JUST FOOD FOR THOUGHT!
What do you think?
Be sure to share this with a friend who you think can really benefit from it.