When it comes to improving your health, you simply cannot ignore your habits. Dieting fails for many reasons, but none more so than the fact that people fail to develop the necessary habits to maintain their health once their initial motivation to change is lost.
Obviously, the content of our food doesn’t change at the strike of 6pm, but our habits do, and it’s this understanding of people’s behaviours, as well as how the body works which has led me to believe that there’s some truth in the fact that eating carbohydrates after 6pm does increase the likelihood of weight-gain.
It all begins with our sleep. Current statistics show that 2/3 UK adults aren’t getting enough sleep which isn’t a surprise when you look at the data on the amount of Netflix episodes being consumer per night. But, more importantly this is being reflected in many people’s breakfast choices.
The research is clear on the fact that sleep deprivation increases the desire for hyper-palatable and convenient foods which I why we see so many peoples choosing “on-the-go” options rich in sugar and or carbohydrates.
Although people do have the willpower to choose better options, and they do when they’re in “the zone”, but this is ultimately depleted by the constant bombardment of unhealthier options – the mid-morning biscuit, the lunchtime chocolate bar as part of the meal deal and the afternoon pick me up – which is why so many tend to cave in the evening.
Snacking, desserts, alcohol and carb-rich meals are all associated with our evening’s activities, which may not be a problem if you were only occasionally consuming one of them. But by the time most people are home all they want to do is relax – which doesn’t help when you’re stress and exhausted and your willpower is less than ideal.
A snack (usually carb or sugar dominant) whilst you’re cooking combined with a large plate of carb dominant pasta, a sugar-rich tomato pasta sauce, a sugar-rich dessert and a glass of sugar dominant wine may not seem like much individually, but combined you can quickly begin to see how these all adds up – and that is exactly what’s happening.
People are looking at their consumption individually but it’s the sum total which is causing most of their problems.
The average diet is already too high in carbohydrates – oats, banana and honey for breakfast, a mid-morning and afternoon snack, a sandwich for lunch, plus the habits outlined above. Plus, we need to factor in the simple fact that people are more likely to “treat” themselves and “binge” at night-time regardless of what they’ve eating that day.
Then, we’re back to where we started as you have another less than optimal night of sleep after watching more episodes of Netflix, and the whole process begins again. But, this time it’s harder to say no to things throughout the day as you never fully recover.
ACTION: First off, it’s important to identify these issue and refrain from keeping poor nutritional choices in your house. Then, I’d suggest lowering your over-all carbohydrate and sugar intake is important and make sure to plan ahead when your schedule is busier.
But, ultimately, it’s essential that you begin to identify the habits which are causing YOU the biggest problems, like Netflix and begin to focus on what you can change.
I’d love to hear from you, please reach out below.
JC and The Nutri-Team