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An Editor’s Experiment: How I Stopped Eating Three Hours Before Bed



PWhy is it important to take your last meal three hours before bedtime? How to switch to this regime if you have eaten at night all your life? And what kind of supper shall we say? BeautyHack Editor-in-Chief Karina Andreeva talks about how she managed to give up her bad habit and what advantages she saw in this.

Karina Andreeva

Chief Editor of BeautyHack

When 8 years ago I first began to lose weight (and in six months I lost 30 kg!), My first rule was “do not eat in the evening,” or rather, “after six,” as it was fashionable to say back then. Later, from personal experience, I was convinced that “after six” is a conditional concept. It is important what time you go to bed. And if it’s 9-10 pm, then it’s really best to forget the way to the kitchen after six.

But if we are talking about a late schedule, as it always was with me, and sleep is planned not earlier than 12 at night or even at one o’clock, then the last meal can be safely at 9 pm.

It also matters how you spend your evening: whether you are sitting on the couch watching a movie or with your laptop, or an evening workout awaits you – all of these factors are important. Another question is what is worth eating in the evening, and what is better to refuse. Either way, if you want to lose weight / maintain weight, or just improve overall well-being, make it a rule: the last meal should be three hours before bedtime. Point.

I’ll tell you about the positive aspects that appear with such a habit.

You will love breakfast

An Editor's Experiment: How I Stopped Eating Three Hours Before Bed

Many people don’t like breakfast. That is categorically and in no way. I heard from many, and she herself once belonged to this category of people. All doctors and nutritionists will confirm that breakfast is the most important meal of the day (still remember that you need to eat it yourself, share lunch with a friend, and give dinner to the enemy?). But we won’t give anything away – we’ll tell you why below!

In the morning, the body is ready to digest everything at once – when I was losing weight and gradually giving up sweets, I never cut the consumption of products dear to my heart and (stomach!) Products abruptly and continued to eat my favorite chocolate, but in smaller quantities and always in the morning. This did not interfere with the process of losing weight. (Spoiler: after two years, I was able to finally give up sweets without any desire and risk of breaking off – I became completely indifferent to it). Breakfast saturates us for the whole day, it should be hearty – otherwise, by lunch and dinner you will be so hungry that you will start to overeat. And the metabolism after 12 noon, as you know, slows down, so the closer to the evening, the easier the food should be (we will talk about the options for a healthy dinner below).

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As soon as you stop eating at night, you manage to get hungry by the morning and wait for breakfast with anticipation.

You will sleep better

An Editor's Experiment: How I Stopped Eating Three Hours Before Bed

Do not be afraid that you will not fall asleep on an empty stomach. It is a myth. The most important thing is without sudden movements. If you have eaten at night all your life, and from tomorrow you give up the habit developed over the years, this is stress for the body: on the first day you will really lie and listen to your stomach rumbling. You need to make all the changes gradually.

Shorten the intervals – do the last meal not three hours before bed, but first one hour, then two. If you previously ate a plate of pasta with a cutlet before going to bed, then gradually replace this with lighter food.

Do not notice how after two or three weeks you will not want to eat at all before going to bed, and after dinner you will leave the table with a full feeling of satiety, in two or three hours you will finish all your affairs and, with a clear conscience, bypass the kitchen, go into the bedroom. Most importantly, your sleep will get better. Think about it – when you go to bed with a full stomach, you may be asleep, but the stomach is not, it has to digest everything that you have eaten. By the way, my sleep became much calmer, I finally began to get enough sleep and wake up easier (after all, in the morning I was waiting for a delicious breakfast and my thoughts about it warmed up!).

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You will start to lose weight

An Editor's Experiment: How I Stopped Eating Three Hours Before Bed

Yes, even if you allow yourself something harmful during the day (and preferably in the morning). When I started to lose weight, I had a number of products that were difficult to refuse. This is the aforementioned chocolate, pasta, bread (I later replaced it with whole grain). At the first stages of losing weight, it is already joy for the body that you give it the opportunity to digest everything before bedtime – three to four hours is quite enough. I am sure that the first 5 kg, which I threw off at one time, is largely due to the rejection of the bad habit of “eating at night”. Well, thanks to the refusal of soda – this, by the way, is perhaps the only thing that I did abruptly. And I don’t miss her – the mineral water with lemon turned out to be much tastier. 🙂

Now let’s look at this issue from the point of view of dietology – why it is important not to eat three hours before bedtime and what kind of dinner to choose, says nutritionist Natalya Zubareva.

avatar Natalia Zubareva

Natalia Zubareva

Nutritionist, Member of the National Society of Nutritionists

“Give your supper to the enemy” is one of the most widespread myths. Many diets are based on the last meal you eat at 6pm. If we are talking about proper nutrition, then everything depends on the biological rhythms of a person. If you are an early riser – get up at six in the morning and go to bed at nine in the evening – for you, dinner should really be at six in the evening.

Modern man gets up early, but goes to bed late – at one or two in the morning. Remember: the last meal should be three hours before bedtime. If you return from workout or work, for example, at 9 pm – be sure to eat, but you need to go to bed no earlier than midnight so that the food has time to digest.

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A long fasting period is bad for the pancreas and blood sugar (it will be unstable).

The stress hormone (cortisol) is produced during prolonged hunger. When his concentration gets high, he starts working against you.

Late dinner should be light – you need protein that is highly digestible.

Dinner until 18:00

Dairy products

Many people like to eat cottage cheese and yoghurts for dinner, drink milk and kefir. There are many studies that have shown that weight gain is possible from this. Milk has a very high insulinemic response, so choose it only for an early dinner.

Dinner until 19:00

Meat and poultry

The pancreas produces enzymes for digesting food in different quantities – the later, the less of them. Foods like rabbit, veal and beef, turkey and chicken should be eaten before she finishes her work: choose them for an early dinner.

An Editor's Experiment: How I Stopped Eating Three Hours Before Bed

Late dinner (after 20:00)

Protein or Whey Protein Isolate

If you are an athlete exercising several times a week, then instead of dinner, you can drink protein or whey protein isolate – it will digest quickly and will not allow you to lose muscle mass.

Omelet or 2 hard-boiled eggs

Make an omelet with vegetables. But do not throw away the yolks – this is a big misconception that they are contraindicated for losing weight. In two eggs – the daily intake of cholesterol, even for those on a diet.

A fish

A highly digestible form of protein (unlike meat). Steam and make a salad with vegetables for a full and light dinner.

Warm salad with squid

Don’t be afraid of vegetable fats – you can eat them in the evening. Season with unrefined olive oil and add avocado. Non-starchy vegetables are allowed – cucumbers, tomatoes, bell peppers, green beans, greens. Sprinkle the salad with lemon juice.

Text: Karina Andreeva

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