“No eating 3 hours before bedtime!” Haven’t you heard this before, somewhere? Most people know that you’re not supposed to eat before bed. After all, that’s what this weeks challenge is all about… or is it? What if I told you that you should eat before bed, and that it could even help you overcoming binge eating at night?
Welcome to the Week 4 Challenge! If you’ve been following week by week, then you’ve developed some great habits and are participating in daily exercise. This weeks challenge is going to hit a soft spot for many people because it involves binge eating and working towards eliminating it. This is an area that I am all too familiar with, as I have suffered from binge eating disorder myself and understand the complications and challenges that surround overcoming it.
If you’re reading this and wondering if you’re a binge eater, then here are some characteristics to look for:
- Often Eat When Not Physically Hungry
- Eating Until Uncomfortably Full
- Eating Alone to Avoid Embarrassment
- Feeling Disgusted After Eating a lot
- “Uncontrollable” Cravings Spark an Eating Spree
Many people suffer from eating disorders, and there are a ton of people who may not even be aware of this problem. Often times, this issue goes ignored, unidentified, or put-off and can consequently cause health complications such as:
- Heart Disease
- High Blood Pressure
- High Cholesterol
- Respiratory Problems
- Bone and Joint Deterioration
Pretty serious stuff, huh? I want this weeks challenge to be a wake-up call if you identify with any of the characteristics listed above. The time is now – no more procrastinating, no more excuses. It’s time to earn your life and health.
Step 1: Click here to read my article about Binge Eating. It will open in a new window so you can return and continue here.
Step 2: Write on a piece of paper, “I Cannot Be Comfortable Without My Own Approval. No Unhealthy Eating 3 Hours Before Bed.” and tape it to the mirror in your bathroom, and near wherever you spend most of your evening (on the TV, etc.). Hang another piece of paper on your fridge and on the pantry door. Litter your kitchen with notes if you have to.
Step 3: Do NOT give in to temptation, loneliness, cravings, or other people. It can be nearly impossible to stop once you start, so do not give in.
Now, let’s get back to that opening statement – you’re probably thinking by now, “I’m confused. can I eat ANYTHING at all before bed?” The answer is — YES, you can. But before we get into that, I want you to understand the nutritional basis of this weeks challenge and why it is said in general, to get your last meal in at least 3 hours before bed.
If you’ve read my Elite Nutrition eBook, then you know how important it is to eat nutritious meals every 2-4 hours throughout the day. By doing this, you are not only fueling your body with nutrition, but you’re keeping your body in the anabolic state (muscle and tissue building state) – which is when your metabolism is at its highest. The last meal of the day is no exception! With the typical eating habits of most people, a persons body will usually enter the catabolic state after falling asleep (muscle and tissue breakdown state) – slowing down metabolism and storing fat rather than burning it.
To understand more simply — If you eat more calories than your body needs to operate while sleeping, then they get stored as fat. This is what happens with most people, and what we’re going to avoid, starting this week. If you eat just enough calories before bed (as a last meal) to keep your body in the anabolic state, then the less chance your body will store your breakfast as fat.
So, what should you be eating before bed, and when? This is where the “with few exceptions” part of the poster above comes from. Try to eat this meal within 20 – 60 minutes of going to bed, and limit it ONLY to the following options:
- 1 Scoop Caseine or Whey Protein Shake
- 1/2 Cup Plain, Non-Fat Greek Yogurt
- 1/2 Cup Fat Free Cottage Cheese
- Small Handful of Nuts or 2 tbsp Natural Nut Butter (peanuts, almonds, cashews, etc.)
- Only Leafy Veggies as Carbs (spinach, kale, broccoli, etc.)
- 1 Stick of Low-Far or Fat Free Mozzarella String Cheese
You want to aim for slow-digesting foods that are healthy for you, and you should not feel full after eating this meal. Limit your calorie intake to around 200 calories, and drink plenty of water with this meal. Drinking water will help with digestion and will keep you hydrated while you sleep.
Does this come as a surprise to you? Is this weeks challenge a far-cry from what you’re used to reading, and what you’ve been told? I’d love to hear your comments – join us in discussion on Facebook and let’s talk!