Running in the Evening and Dinners - Am I Eating Too Late to Lose Weight?
Please can you help with this one. I run on the treadmill in the evenings around five or six o'clock. Whilst I want to lose half a stone, I don't want to add on the pounds so I'm not sure when do I eat my dinner.
I have heard I'll pile on weight if I eat late. I'll be running around five to seven km in the evening. Please help all confused.
Answer by Dominique:
Thank you for your running for weight loss question.
Running 5-7k is a great way to burn some extra calories.
I get so frustrated by questions like these. Not because of the question, it's not you. But there is so much information around on weight loss that it becomes way too overwhelming and confusing for some of us.
The weight loss industry, in its need to sell product, just keeps on throwing one piece of advice to you after the other.
Most of the advice is non-sense.
The bottom line is:
In order to lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you take in.
It's pretty much irrelevant when you burn those calories and when you take in those calories. You could be running in the morning, at midday or at night. You could be having your dinner earlier or later at night.
But in the end, if you burn more calories than you take in, you will lose weight.
Now, I am sure there is a bit of merit to the advice to not eat late at night. When you have already had a nutritious meal at dinner time, and you have had your calorie-intake for the day, taking a mid-night snack is not going to help your weight loss.
Especially because late night snacks are almost synonymous with bad foods, e.g. a quick bag of chips or nuts, chocolate bar etc. With some of these snacks you could be taking in the calories of a full meal with just a few bites.
So, late night snacking like that is not really good.
But many people nowadays eat their meals spread over six portions a day. A breakfast, mid-morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack, dinner and snack a bit later at night. Many find it helps them keep the hunger at bay by never having a completely empty tummy.
I do pretty much the same, I eat my breakfast at 6am, have some nuts and a latte at about 9.30-10am, lunch at 12-1pm, another latte and an apple or other piece of fruit at 3pm, dinner at about 7pm and often some nuts or yoghurt at about 9.30-10pm.
But, none of the meals are particularly big. My total calorie-intake is not excessive. And I do run a fair bit.
Please rest assured that eating your dinner at 7pm-8pm (after your running) and even taking a snack later at night is not going to be bad for you. As long as you eat healthy and don't over-eat.
I'd highly recommend using a calorie-tracker app/website like MyFitnessPal. I did it for a while with my wife last year.
After a matter of a month you'll know exactly how many calories you are taking in on a daily basis. My wife and I got quite creative with creating a few healthier, lower-calorie versions of regular meals we had once we found out just how many calories were in sour cream, pasta, etc.
Do it. Don't go overboard with the whole calorie-restriction thing. It's tough to maintain as it requires an iron discipline. Just make sure you run sufficiently so you can indulge once in a while... :)
Other pages you may be interested in:
Running and Weight Loss
Best of luck.