30 lbs overweight with a fondness for bedtime snacks

Monday, November 05, 2012

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Good day Donovan,

I am 30 pounds overweight and have been constantly told by relatives that my night-time eating is partly to be blamed for this. I admit that I do eat a lot at nights, because I work long hours and often forget or I am too busy to eat during the day.

Since recently I have started eating lighter meals such as cereals for bedtime snacks, but prior to this, I tended to eat cooked lunches which I brought home from work. Do you think having cereal is a better choice? Could you also suggest other night-time snacks that will help me to lose and not gain weight?

Thank you.

Good day,

Night-time eating can definitely be a problem with weight management. Sad to say, if man did not discover fire or other ways to produce light, we literally would not be able to eat so much in the nights. Overall, I think we would definitely be thinner.

Unless you are very active in the night, most of your night-time meals will be stored as fat. At nights we are usually less active and so the metabolic rate tends to be slow. As such, the extra calories/foods are usually not burned off, but stored.

Another thing to consider is that the body needs some time to digest food. If you are constantly eating day and night, the body will be forced to always be digesting new foods, before completely digesting the ones it was digesting before.

Constant night eating can also lead to the digestive system blocking up and this manifests itself in you having a large stomach. As such, breakfast should be taken after a reasonable time of fasting.

If you intend to lose the 30 pounds, you would definitely need to do something about your night eating. Usually this is a habit that can be broken with some effort. I am very happy to hear you have cut out your heavy cooked meals and replaced them with cereal in the night. However, it is very important to take note of the type of cereal and the amount you are consuming. If the calories within the cereal are the same as those of the cooked meal, then you will not lose weight. One suggestion is to try and cut your lunch in two and eat half for dinner.

It would be good if you finished eating dinner by about 6:30 pm. In addition, try to eat smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day, rather than allowing yourself to get hungry.

If you skip lunch, it is likely you are going to be hungry in the night, however, if you feel you must eat something in the night, there are several options for you.

These include eight ounces of a light broth, a fruit, 12 ounces of coconut water, tea lightly sweetened with honey, or one small cup of unsweetened yogurt.

You should also aim to become more active. Try and put in at least half an hour of exercise two to three times per week for starters. You could also do a detox programme.

We will answer your weight-related questions

Are you struggling to lose weight or just need some advice on living a healthier life? Tell us about your health issues and we'll have nutritionist and wellness coach Donovan Grant answer them for you. Grant has over 12 years experience in the fitness industry and is the owner of DG's Nutrition and Wellness Centre, Suite 16, 39 Lady Musgrave Road, Kingston 5. Send your questions to wilsonn@jamaicaobserver.com.




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