There was a little bit of discussion last week in The Secret Ninja Society about whether you can eat after 8pm. This is a question that comes up time and time again in my work so I thought I would write a little piece here on the blog to address it for anyone else who might be unsure.
There really is no reason why you need to draw a line in the sand at 8pm (or any other arbitrary time) and say no more food. Personally I eat almost every one of my dinners after 8pm. Most nights I would probably prefer to eat a little earlier but it’s just not an option with my schedule for work. I’m lucky to get home before 8pm most nights. Have I ever decided not to eat dinner because it’s past 8pm? Never.
I suppose you could argue that you’re unlikely to need a whole lot of food for energy when you’re winding down for the day. You’ve got a point. However, this all comes back to the idea of mindful eating. We want to start moving toward implementing less and less rules around eating and listening more and more to our body’s natural cues about hunger and fullness.
If we’re listening to what our bodies are asking for in terms eating when we are hungry and stopping when we feel satisfied, the need to worry about what the clock say starts to diminish. If you’re hungry at 8:30pm, legitimately hungry, you should certainly eat something. Focus on choosing something that you think will leave you feeling satisfied and take the time to enjoy your meal. Eating more slowly and with increased awareness of how you are feeling will help minimise overeating.
There certainly are no hard and fast rules about when you should stop eating for the day. For some people, 8pm is nowhere near the end of the day. Listen to your body and do what feels right for you.