Break Fast

June 5th, 2009 | Posted by Alison in Weight Loss

I think I’ve uncovered the Fountain of Youth, and it doesn’t come in a bottle and isn’t going to cost us three easy payments of $19.99.

Fountain of Youth

Nope, it’s called Human Growth Hormone and you can get it for free everday. (Call now!)

OK awesome. So how do I get my hands on this stuff?

No Eating Before Bed

Yes, we’ve heard this before.  But it feels different this time because my new source of inspiration Jillian Michaels actually explained this concept in greater detail, why it’s important and how it makes a difference in her latest book, Master Your Metabolism.  And now I’m all over this idea like lice in a room full of pre-schoolers.

If I can sum up what I’ve learned from Jillian and now other sources as well: HGH is this amazing hormone that keeps us looking young, burns fat and calories, gives us energy, keeps us healthy, heals our bodies, pays down our credit card balances and even puts the toilet seat down. I told you it was amazing.

As I understand it, we produce about 90% of our HGH when we sleep. More specifically, there’s a huge surge of it about an hour and a half after we fall asleep. The opposite hormone of HGH is insulin. When insulin levels are up, HGH will not be released. So when we eat right before bed, carbs especially, our body releases insulin to deal with the breakdown of carbs into sugar, thus our insulin levels are elevated and therefore our HGH levels stay down.  Well great.  Way to lose our biggest opportunity to get a nice generous shot of HGH, not mention falling into the toilet when you get up in the middle of the night to pee too.

Jillian says in her book that HGH can even help us burn fat IN OUR SLEEP. Uh, hello, HGH – I’m Alison. Pleased to meet you, I think we’re going to be great friends.

When I read about the wonder of HGH in Master Your Metabolism, I did a bit of digging around to see what else I could find because as much as I love her, I’m not putting all my eggs into Jillian’s basket.  As it turns out though, lot of research and studies concur with what Jillian says – so now it was time to put this into practice.

Break the Habit

I use to always have a before bed snack, usually something high in carbs like a bowl (or two, or three) of cereal, thinking I was doing a good thing by carbo loading for my morning work out. Head –> Palm

I was one of those “I’m ALWAYS hungry at night!” kind of girls, so some experimenting was necessary to make sure this “no eating before bed” thing could be sustainable.

I started by eating a bigger dinner.  This definitely helped me from feeling too hungry before I hit the hay and also ensured it’d been 2 to 3 hours since my last meal as prescribed by Jillian.

What about the days we eat dinner early or I’m TRULY hungry before bed?  Well, I’ve taken Jillian’s advice here and steer clear of anything high in carbs.  Instead I aim for something with a higher percentage of protein and some fat… like greek yogurt, berries and some nuts instead of my old favorites like cereal, popcorn or something sugary.

The Results Are In

It’s working! Not only have I lost the few pounds I gained over the winter without effort, I am sleeping better than I have since 2004 B.C. (Before Child.)

These days I’m in bed by 10:30 and the next thing I know the sun is up, my eyes are open and I think the clock is pulling a practical joke on me saying it’s 5:30. Sure clock, you’re telling me I beat the alarm? Nice try.

I’ve known for a while now that regular exercise improves my quality of sleep – but putting the kibosh on stopped before bed snacking has taken my sleep quality to the next level.

It’s always easier for me to stick a new habit when I understand the reason it’s good to practice that behavior.  If someone says “stop eating before bed!” and doesn’t explain why, it doesn’t last.  Understanding the biology behind fasting after dinner makes it worth the effort to get into the fasting groove and makes it that much easier to not snack before bed.

I have definitely struggled with this in the past, especially this winter and gained back 5 lbs of my initial weight loss, even after the holidays. I was always overdoing it with cereal, chocolate, craving massive quantities of carbs before bed. This and other changes I’ve made have made an incredible difference in my life and helped me feel like I have more control.

On a typical day, I’m done eating after dinner – that’s it. I fast until morning cause hey, don’t call it breakFAST for nothing.

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9 Responses

  • Robin says:

    Awesome post. I am always struggling with whether I should have a snack or not before bed, I am going to challenge myself to nothing after dinner for a week and see how it goes.

    My husband is a computer programmer and works insane hours. Luckily he comes home from work, but never comes to bed. There are days where he comes to bed when I am getting up to run, fun stuff!

  • biz319 says:

    I love Jillian and her videos, but I have yet to read her book – now I think I need to get that one!

    Thanks for the breakdown! No pun intended! 😀

  • Jennifer says:

    Poor Zak. He must be exhausted.

    I love that book! I think she mentioned something about your growth hormone being highest about one hour after you go to bed.

    One of my hardest things is not eating after dinner. Last night I had a bowl of fruit so that’s better than ice cream. :) I’m going to try the same thing by going a week without anything at night. I’ll let you know when I try that and how I feel.

  • Ashley says:

    I’d never heard this HGH stuff before. I take it you’ve read Jillian’s new book? Is it worth picking up?

  • Ashley says:

    Um, duh, obviously you have the book. This is what I get for speed reading after midnight. I am going to bed.

  • Sharon says:

    I finally made the Oatmeal Cookie and it was good. I think i wouldn’t have liked it as much if i didn’t top it with the bananas and strawberries that i did. Very good!

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