One thing I've noticed, being back on the HCG Diet Plan, is that when I don't have a good night's sleep (I have a baby- It happens ;)) I lose less weight, or stall all together. This brought me to do a little research, so I could understand just how sleep relates to weight gain and weight loss. Well, I discovered some really interesting facts, including the benefits of eating BEFORE hitting the sack.
When I think back to the earliest dieting advice I ever received, this one stands out: “Don't eat [insert hours here]before bed or it will make you fat.” Over the years, while I was comfortably a size 6 or size 8 (down from a size 20 from my hcg diet in 2002) I gradually ignored this piece of advice and soon learned that I didn't actually gain weight if I ate before bed. I assumed it was because I wasn't eating a pack of twinkles before bed… instead, I always opt for a cup of greek yogurt with natural granola, strawberries, and maybe an agave drizzle here and there. Now I know though… this was actually a great step in helping my body in so many ways. Read on to learn how!
Eating before bed actually boosts your metabolism and maintains steady blood sugar, which means, it can actually help you to lose weight! We've all been trained to believe that eating before bed leaves our bodies with too many calories that can't be burned while we sleep, resulting in weight gain. Here lies the problem that always comes up… weight managements is about giving the body what it needs, when it needs it. Maintaining a healthy level of nutrients not only allows the body to run efficiently and not have to store fats, but it also helps to maintain blood sugar levels and hormone cycles that naturally burn fat.
Eating before bed helps you sleep better throughout the night. With my history as an insomniac, (I'd rather be up playing and blogging than sleeping apparently) I can certainly relate to this one. A snack before bed can help your body drift off into dreamland peacefully, and also help you to sleep longer throughout the night. Sleep not only influences your energy levels throughout the day, but also effects your immune system, appetite and cravings, plus your overall metabolism and weight. By giving your body what it needs, just before its primary recovery period, you are truly nourishing your body and helping to balance all of these things out.
What to eat before bed
I have learned to be a protein eater, with my carb servings coming largely from natural grains or as “whole” as possible. I'm also a believer in getting enough healthy fats into your diet. I eat plenty of avocado and have salmon 2 to 3 times a week, as well as tuna (bring on the sushi!) but I will also take DHA and various omega supplements IF and WHEN I don't feel I have had enough through my meals. After much research, I have concluded that it is best to eat based on what you feel your body needs at the time.
For example; you didn't have quite as much protein as you feel you should have had for the day, especially because you had a great workout earlier in the day. You also want to make sure you have a good night's rest because you will need to be up early. A *small* bowl of berries with whipped cream (the real stuff, not the plastic-laced chemical infused cool whip stuff) would be perfect. Or perhaps half of an avocado filled with crab meat (real, not fake sugary stuff) and sprinkled with himalayan pink salt. One source I spoke with suggested a small serving (1/2 cup) of sweet potato with coconut oil and a few sprinkles of cinnamon. YUM! Any of these sound great to me, and I love that I can continue guilt-free with my evening greek yogurt fix!