When people ask me this question, they’re usually assuming the following:
- Eating at night is bad because your body won’t use the calories and they’ll be stored as fat.
- Night eating is caused by poor self-control.
- Special tricks can be used to overcome this problem.
These are all popular beliefs, and they are all completely untrue.
There is nothing inherently wrong or bad about eating at night, and so if the only thing keeping you from enjoying it is your belief that it is somehow wrong, I’d say just ditch the belief and do what works for you.
If it does feel like a problem for some reason (like maybe you eat past the point of comfort, or you get indigestion, or you don’t sleep well afterwards), the next step is to find your “why.” What prompts you to eat late at night?
For most people it is simply that they under-eat during the day. Unraveling the what’s and why’s of this behavior deserves a separate blog post, but if you’re eating at night due to hunger, your body did not get the nutrition it needed during the day. You can’t trick your body out of needing what it needs.
For some people it is emotional eating. I’m not talking about crying into your bowl of popcorn (not exclusively, anyway). Emotional eating is eating in response to a feeling, pleasant or unpleasant, as a way of coping. If this is you, check out my emotional eating guide.
And of course, it could be a mixture of under-eating and emotional eating. (Yay! Being human is fun!) If you suspect that might be the case, start by making sure you are getting enough to eat during the day.
But seriously: If eating at night is not causing any observable problems with your sense of well-being, then you can safely assume that it is not a problem for you. Trust your body to tell you the truth.