Should I Eat After 7:00 pm?
There are so many myths around eating after 7:00 pm. There is no universal time that you should stop eating but there are some factors to consider when eating late in the evening.
The truth is that many of us finish work at different times, eat at different times, go to bed at different times, so it’s difficult to set a standard time to stop eating.
There real questions to ask yourself are more around your motivation for eating. Read today’s post and listen to this week’s video blog (the points are similar but I say them a bit differently).
So here’s the scenario–It’s 9:00 pm, you finished eating dinner around 7:15 and you’re feeling like you need a little something. Here are three questions to ask yourself. I call them my ‘3-H-Test ‘.
1. Am I HUNGRY?
Although it might seem obvious, many of us never tune in to our body to ask it what it needs. We eat mindlessly without taking some time to ask our body what it needs. This is important because you might actually just be thirsty which can mask itself as hunger.
You may also find that you’re not really hungry, but rather trying to satisfy another need (see the next points).
The next time you’re about to grab a late night snack, take the ‘apple test’. Ask yourself if you would eat an apple (or some other fruit or vegetable that you can’t really overeat). If the answer is ‘yes’, then go ahead and eat the apple (or similar on-hand fruit or vegetable) and your hunger should subside. If your answer is ‘no’, an apple would not satisfy you, then move to the next question.
2. Is it a HABIT?
Sometime we just get into bad habits. That happens when we go into automatic pilot and don’t take the time to think about what we’re doing. Ask yourself, ‘Am I really hungry or is this just a bad habit I’ve developed.’
We get ‘comfortable’ with our routines, and the next thing you know our favorite pastime is coming home after a hard day and settling on the couch with a bag of potato chips.
Replace your habit with a more positive one. We often try to stop habits. “I need to quit smoking.” “I need to be more organized.” “I need to go to bed earlier.” We quickly learn that it’s almost impossible to stop a habit.
Instead, think of what you can do to replace your late night eating. Can you use this time to catch up with friends? Can you start a new hobby? Can you treat yourself – after a hard day’s work – with something other than food?
3. Am I trying to fill a HOLE?
This last question can have the biggest impact on your entire health and life.
The next time you feel a late night (or any time for that matter) craving coming on and you’ve determined you’re not hungry, realize it may be a spiritual hunger.
A spiritual hunger is a craving or a feeling deep down inside that may feel like hunger pangs. It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly what the feeling is, but you know that you want and need something. It’s a feeling of yearning, wanting, desiring, needing to feel full; needing to feel content and satisfied. It feels like a big empty hole! So it’s easy to see why we would want to eat to satisfy the feeling, but we all quickly learn that no amount of food will fill this need.
This hole is something that only God can fill. Take this empty feeling as a signal that your spiritual tank is running on empty and you need to spend more time with God. It’s the only way this hunger can be filled.
Pray this prayer: Dear Lord, come into my life and fill the empty holes that I’m always trying to fill with food. You are the only one that can satisfy this emptiness, so come into my heart and life today and fill me with your love. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen!
Here are some additional scripture that you can also study:
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” (Matt 5:6)
He has filled the hungry with good things… (Lk 1:53a)