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Eating only when hungry and late night snacking

by (423)
Updated about 13 hours ago
Created August 08, 2012 at 1:04 PM

So I've been trying to follow the whole "eat only when you're hungry" idea, but I have found an issue with it. If I don't eat breakfast, since I'm not hungry (which is often the case) I find that by the evening, usually after dinner, I start snacking.... A lot... If I eat breakfast, then I usually don't find myself snacking (or at least not as much).

So my question is this: is it better to make myself eat breakfast, or snack right before bedtime? Are there foods that are better to snack on when it's late?

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423 · August 10, 2012 at 11:44 AM

Dinner usually consists of meat of some kind (ground beef, chicken thighs, pork, etc) and veggies. Usually no carbs, but rarely rice or sweet potatoes. I don't know how to afford or ingest more protein.

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1794 · August 10, 2012 at 12:02 AM

What I'm saying is, it doesn't matter if it's paleo or not. If it bothers you to eat at night, you shouldn't eat at night.

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18635 · August 09, 2012 at 12:13 AM

I think its far more paleo to eat throughout the evening into dusk than it is to pop up in the morning and begin eating right away.

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3979 · August 08, 2012 at 10:40 PM

There's nothing *wrong* with eating late, but I do notice I wake up feeling significantly more refreshed if I go to bed on an empty stomach.

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1794 · August 08, 2012 at 7:45 PM

Doesn't seem very paleo to snack at night either.

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12540 · August 08, 2012 at 4:48 PM

Plus one for going to bed when getting hungry late at night. I've found that my body still, even after 3 years, gets confused with signals between "hunger" and "tired" -- I almost wonder if it's that "we're out of energy" signal that my body is interpreting as "need to eat for energy" instead of "need to sleep to re-charge"...

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609 · August 08, 2012 at 4:01 PM

correct, I always eat big full meals, and rarely, if ever, snack. Better control that way.

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2022 · August 08, 2012 at 2:57 PM

I have that problem too. I'd eat breakfast even if you're not hungry. I've found that after-dinner snacking (at least for me) is never a good thing because I don't end up snacking on anything healthy.

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2854 · August 08, 2012 at 2:31 PM

i have the same issues! never hungry in the morning, mouth-vacuum after dinner. i've found that my body can deal with eggs, pickles, sauerkraut, or hot cocoa (almond/coconut milk, stevia, cocoa) right before bed without a morning bloat or calorie explosion. but i've been trying lately to either 1) eat a little more at dinner and/or 2) go to bed when i get the munchies. it's hard for me to trust my body when it's so late.

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300 · August 08, 2012 at 1:34 PM

It sounds very paleo to me not to eat breakfast, especially if your body is telling you that's what it wants to do. I could not go without breakfast, I would rather skip meals the rest of the day, but different strokes and all that.

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9 Answers

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2949 · August 08, 2012 at 6:18 PM

I'm not sure I understand where's the problem. Do whatever works for you. Or are you victim of the "breakfast is the most important meal of the day" fallacy?

I've never eaten breakfast, and I got rid of lunches when I started IF year and a half ago (16 hours off, 8 hours on, 7 days a week). I have a pretty big snack an hour before bed, sometimes just before bed, and it doesn't cause me issues.

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18635 · August 08, 2012 at 4:46 PM

I find this is usually just boredom. It's a habit that you can break if you wish. Really nothing wrong with eating late though. I eat one "meal"/day most days of the week and that can take me right up to bedtime.

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3979 · August 08, 2012 at 10:40 PM

There's nothing *wrong* with eating late, but I do notice I wake up feeling significantly more refreshed if I go to bed on an empty stomach.

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300 · August 08, 2012 at 1:24 PM

I find a better option is to make your snack part of your dinner. I like some dark chocolate and a few nuts in the evening. So rather than waiting for a few hours, I just eat them like a dessert directly after your dinner. It avoids grazing and may work for you?

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0 · March 12, 2013 at 8:49 AM

It depeneds on what yer snacking on. I have spinach, carrots and celery right now that will nourish my body all night... its almost two am. But its light on the cals! When I wake up ill eat a banana or smoothie with coffee then for lunch do a protien smoothie before an easy jount with my pups at the park. Dinner is light because I always snack. I usually will just make extra of whatever my dinner is so I have left overs to much... so snacking is light too... but I always snack if I wanna I just keep it light and keep track ... try to space out stuff.

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458 · October 01, 2012 at 8:54 PM

I feel you on the night time munchies. I find that if I have a light appetizer while I'm cooking dinner (usually a small glass of wine and a few olives), I end up both eating less dinner and not wanting to snack later.

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0 · October 01, 2012 at 8:48 PM

I can't sleep if I'm even a little bit hungry and I know that even if I can force myself I will wake up at 3am craving breakfast and wont be able to get back to sleep until I've eaten!

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4400 · August 08, 2012 at 7:31 PM

To me this is the perfect case for IF. You don't eat breakfast because you're not hungry. You make a hard-and-fast rule about no eating after 7pm (say). I think you'll find, or at least I did, that the after-7pm hunger is usually bogus, psychological, and passes if you ignore it, at least if you eat a nice large dinner. For me at least, I don't eat if I'm hungry after 7pm, and the next morning I wake up, and am not hungry! (If I am hungry, I might eat, but if I don't the feeling usually passes.)

It's an option to try anyway.

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671 · August 08, 2012 at 5:38 PM

Perhaps you don't need either.

What time are you eating dinner and what are you eating at dinner? It always felt to me before going paleo that I'd be eating two dinners - normal dinner + peanut butter and jelly on half a piece of bread and then some dark chocolate and then a tiny bowl of cereal and so on. The 'dessert' part ended up being as caloric as the dinner part half the time.

Amp up the protein and fat at your dinner. Make it as sating as possible. As far as what's better, if your goal is weight loss, do some experimenting. One week with breakfast, one week without. Figure out what you're taking in on both and go from there.

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423 · August 10, 2012 at 11:44 AM

Dinner usually consists of meat of some kind (ground beef, chicken thighs, pork, etc) and veggies. Usually no carbs, but rarely rice or sweet potatoes. I don't know how to afford or ingest more protein.

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1794 · August 08, 2012 at 1:26 PM

Eat breakfast if you don't like eating at night.

You will get used to it.

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1794 · August 08, 2012 at 7:45 PM

Doesn't seem very paleo to snack at night either.

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300 · August 08, 2012 at 1:34 PM

It sounds very paleo to me not to eat breakfast, especially if your body is telling you that's what it wants to do. I could not go without breakfast, I would rather skip meals the rest of the day, but different strokes and all that.

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1794 · August 10, 2012 at 12:02 AM

What I'm saying is, it doesn't matter if it's paleo or not. If it bothers you to eat at night, you shouldn't eat at night.

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18635 · August 09, 2012 at 12:13 AM

I think its far more paleo to eat throughout the evening into dusk than it is to pop up in the morning and begin eating right away.

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