Don’t Eat After Dinner: Myth?

If you have ever been concerned about your weight, you have certainly heard this rule, “Don’t eat after dinner.” The rationale used was that we are less active in the evening and everything we eat would turn to fat. Really?

Well, here’s some good news for you, if you ever went to bed hungry, with a gnawing feeling in your tummy because it was 11:30 and you ate an early dinner at 5:00. Eating in the evening does not cause weight gain. What does cause weight gain is the type of food you eat.

Being tired is a trigger for many to eat comfort foods. So you may be more likely to grab sugary snacks or salty chips. They are typically empty calories, meaning they are not giving your body what it’s asking for… fuel. If your are getting hunger signals, your body wants food- whole food that nourishes it.

So, the next time you are really, truly hungry in the evening, reach for a small snack that will give your body just what it needs. Also, make sure your evening meal has protein, veggies and no or minimal processed foods. We metabolize processed foods very quickly.

Here are some suggestions for an evening snack:

  1. graham crackers and nut butter (peanut, almond or sunflower)
  2. plain or vanilla yogurt with berries or sliced bananas
  3. cantaloupe half filled with cottage cheese
  4. whole grain cracker and couple of slices of cheese
  5. small handful of almonds and orange

Do you see a pattern here? A protein and fiber food in a small but satisfying amount. It takes a while to metabolize food, so don’t eat and hop right into bed because the digestion process can disrupt your sleep. Have your snack at least an hour before bed.

And if you’ve been active during the day, having a small nutritious snack (if you’re really hungry) will not add on pounds. Eating 2 bowls of ice cream a half hour after dinner will! Remember, eating only when hungry and stopping as soon as you are mildly full prevents weight gain… not the time on the clock. If you’d like to get more tips like this, sign up to the right to get them delivered to you email inbox about once a month. Cheese And Cracker Collection Studio

© stockbp – Fotolia.com

Couch Potatoes Take Note

I am the first to admit that some days, I just don’t feel like exercising but couch potatoes take note of this info. If you decide that you want to eat less high-calorie, high-sugar foods, get off the couch.

According to the authors of this study, there is a correlation between the amount of exercise per week and the response of the food-related brain regions to high-calorie foods. Those that had higher levels of exercise responded less to images of high-calorie food. Not so with those that did little exercise.

We know that we are visually cued to eat even when we’re not hungry (those of us that are emotional eaters), so if you are a couch potato, you increase your chances of eating those cookies your co-worker brings in to work. But if you take a 20-minute brisk walk everyday, you’re more likely to say “no thanks”.

For all of my couch loving friends, don’t feel overwhelmed by this study. Make a decision to increase you activity by baby steps each day. Set you phone top go off every 30-minutes. Then get up off the couch and:

  1. Do arm stretches, leg stretches and shoulder shrugs
  2. Try 3 simple yoga positions
  3. Walk for 10 minutes
  4. Get a pedometer and add steps each day
  5. Dance like no one’s watching (no one is)
  6. If you can’t leave where you are, march in place
  7. Jump rope
  8. Hula hoop- can you still swing those hips?
  9. Lift some light weights (soup cans to begin)

It doesn’t matter what movement you do, just get up and move. Make it fun, something to get the blood pumping and the oxygen flowing. Studies have shown that too much sitting is linked to earlier death. So… get up and move! Less cravings for high-calorie foods and you’ll live longer. A win-win.

And if you’re looking for other ways to beat those sugar cravings, go to the right of this page and sign up for my free download, 5 Ways to Beat Sugar Cravings.

dancing

The Disappointment of Slow Changes

If you have ever started a new plan, diet, idea or behavior, you know the disappointment of slow changes. You start off with great enthusiasm and energy, only to be discouraged and disillusioned after a few weeks and sometimes a few days.

Why do you give up so easily? Part of it is from the instant gratification mentality you have been indoctrinated to believe by society and maybe even your family. You want what you want and you want it now. You are not alone.

I see this every day with my clients. I very carefully explain during the free consultation that my Mindful Eating program is a behavioral change in eating patterns and thought processes about food. If weight loss is your goal, it will happen, but not until you embrace the Mindful Eating practices and truly understand your food thoughts that got you to where you are at the present moment. I don’t think I have ever had a client who hasn’t gotten frustrated early on because they are not losing weight right away.

It is human nature. I expect it and reinforce the consultation conversation. Our eating patterns are habituated over many years and are not undone in a couple of weeks.

How can you manage through the process? As Leo Babauta of Zen Habits so clearly explains, don’t be focused on quick results (which never last anyway) but instead find happiness in the learning. You will find out interesting things about yourself as you slow down and make the changes slowly. Savor them. Learn from them.

The joy is in the journey…everyday is journey

© Yury Zap – Fotolia.com

I Don’t Know What to Eat

I recently returned from a 6-day trip to Rochester, Minnesota to attend a conference. The Mastocytosis Society put on a most impressive event, inviting mast cell specialists from all over the world to teach other physicians and patients the newest info about mast cell diseases. As a patient with mast cell disease and an RN, I was thrilled to attend. So I let all of my perishable food run out before I left, only to return to very little in the house to eat the night of my return. My first thought was, “I don’t know what to eat.”

You would think as someone who teaches others every day how to mindfully eat that I would have been better prepared. But the truth is that I spent so much energy on what nutritious snacks I could pack for the plane and to have in my hotel room in case the food was not something I could tolerate, that I did not think ahead to my return.

Luckily, I only had to deal with that Sunday evening, having arrived at the Albany airport around 6 pm. First thing Monday morning, I was able to go to the grocery store and stock up on some yummy, nutritious foods. I am very lucky to live within 5-15 minutes of every major grocery store: Hannaford, Price Chopper, Shop Rite, Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods, not to mention my local favorites, Honest Weight Food Co-op and Niskayuna Co-op.

Our immediate environment (the food we keep on hand) absolutely determines our success with either nourishing our body with the food it needs to feel fabulous or stuffing it with whatever happens to be the easiest and quickest. It is so easy to order take-out or eat processed foods rather than take the time to make real, whole foods. But then you ultimately pay for it by feeling less than stellar.

The one really positive thing I did remember to do was make a big batch of homemade minestrone soup. I had 3 containers I could thaw. As you can see from this photo, I’m down to one container. This is our tiny freezer in our temporary apartment, as our house is being built. I can still cram in a lot of frozen veggies and fruits. Now, I don’ have to worry about what to eat.

Do you plan your meals and then go grocery shopping, or is every night a mystery?photo (2)