Do These 8 Things Every Night to Lose More Weight
April 06, 2018
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Nighttime eating isn't bad — as long as it doesn't involve unhealthy food selections or larger-than-recommended portions.
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It’s typical to feel like you’re a rock star at
weight loss during the day, but once the sun goes down, you’re more likely to take a few steps backward. While nighttime eating in and of itself isn’t bad, it is usually more likely to involve unhealthy food selections or larger-than-recommended portions. But little choices you make (or don’t make) can help you stay on track and set you up for success for the day ahead. Use this list of eight things you can do each evening as your guide to keep your weight-loss journey going successfully — even after sundown.
Try cooking dinner together.
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Eat Dinner, Not Snacks
Eating satisfying meals and not mindlessly snacking between them is a fat-loss strategy that's gaining more scientific backing every year. A
2014 study published in the journal Hepatology found that more frequent eating episodes lead to greater body fat accumulation and impaired glucose handling, even at the same level of calorie intake. So instead of immediately snacking after work, eating a meal a few hours later and then snacking even more before bed, try to focus on having one evening meal and being done with eating.
Read more: Eating Dinner Like a Pauper Can Help You Lose Weight
Limit yourself to one serving.
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Downsize Your Dinner
For most people, dinner is the biggest and most caloric meal of the day. But it doesn’t have to be, and you can help boost your weight loss by making your dinner a lighter meal. If you currently eat more than a third of your daily calories at dinner, you can cut your risk of obesity in half by switching things up and consuming more than a third of your calories before noon, according to
a 2014 study from the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics. Shifting your food intake to be more front-loaded in the day will also help you feel more energized and less hungry throughout the day and have more stamina and power during your workouts.
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Overnight oats are a great way to prep breakfast in advance.
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Plan Your Breakfast
Since dinner is on the lighter side, you can expect to wake up with an appetite. Rushing around getting ready and heading out the door without any fuel may feel like a calorie savings, but it actually sets you up to eat more later in the day. Take a few minutes in the evening to plan your breakfast, making sure you have a protein like eggs or yogurt, some fresh fruit or vegetables and a complex carbohydrate like whole-wheat toast, oatmeal or muesli. It’s also important to make sure you aren’t out of coffee! Save even more time by prepping everything the night before.
Read more: 7 Overnight Oats That’ll Make You Love Breakfast
Choose a bedtime — and commit to it.
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Set a Bedtime and Stick to It
A good night’s sleep is a powerful ally in maximizing your fat loss.
A 2013 research paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences showed just how dramatically inadequate sleep can thwart your efforts to lose weight. Compared to subjects sleeping nine hours a night, women who got only five hours of sleep ate significantly more calories, almost all of them coming from snacks after dinner. In fact, the sleep-deprived women ate 42 percent more calories as evening snacks and took in more energy at those snacks than they did at any individual meal. So choose a bedtime about seven to nine hours before you have to wake up every morning and commit to it.
Put down the smartphone.
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Don’t Check Facebook
Like anything else, social media has pros and cons. But if you’re trying to lose weight, it might be worth it to cut back. According to
a 2017 paper published in the journal Women & Health, spending more time on Facebook can have undesirable consequences for women who want to lose weight. Spending a lot of time scrolling through the social media site was found to relate to more negative emotions about one’s body, increased body and weight comparisons and more disordered eating symptoms. So save your social media time for earlier in the day and give yourself a time limit.
Read more: 7 Easy Healthy Dinners Anyone Can Make
Get the kids to help out with dinner.
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Practice a New Recipe
It probably doesn’t come as much of a surprise, but eating dinner out can have a negative impact on your waistline.
A 2016 study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics collected and analyzed a wide variety of restaurant meals from across the United States. They found that the average restaurant meal contained 1,205 calories, and three of the four most popular cuisines (American, Italian and Chinese) provided diners with an average of a whopping 1,495 calories in a single meal! Even if you’re not a master chef, building the habit of finding simple, healthy dinner recipes and making them at home will pay big dividends — on the scale and your bank account.
Friends can be a welcome distraction.
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Strike Up a Conversation
Instead of spending all your free time working out alone, sitting at your desk solo or lounging on the couch binge-watching Netflix by yourself, find a way to talk to another human. You might chat with your sister on the phone, talk with pals at a book club or get the daily recap from your spouse and kids over dinner. Social connections are important to maintain, and the support of having other people in your life helps us tolerate and adapt during hard times. Not having social support can lead to turning to food for emotional coping and regaining lost weight.
Read more: 8 Surprising Ways Your Social Life Impacts Your Health
Journaling can help you see the big picture.
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Think About Your Future
One of the hallmarks of diet slip-ups is when you impulsively choose a smaller reward now (a piece of cake, for example) instead of a larger reward you would have to work for (such as a slimmer body or healthier blood pressure). This is what’s termed as “
delay discounting,” and if you’re trying to lose weight, it’s one of your key foes to avoid. Research has shown that “episodic future thinking” — visualizing specific events in the future — is a technique which combats this delay discounting. Call on this technique by journaling, putting together an inspiration board or simply daydreaming in the evening, when your willpower might need a boost to stick to your diet intentions.
Try to keep yourself out of the fridge.
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What Do YOU Think?
Are you trying to lose weight? Do you find it harder in the evenings? What do you do to keep yourself on track? Do you practice any of the habits listed here? Are there other ones you’d add? Do you think you’ll put any of these into practice? Share your suggestions and questions in the comments below!
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