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Friday, July 30, 2010

The Eight O’Clock Rule

I will give away tips as I go along with this blog, and I don’t claim that any of them to be original. To create my food plan, I combined all the best knowledge I’ve gained from many sources. I have no idea what those sources were, but they probably didn’t invent the information either. As a result, you may have heard many or all of my tips, but my food plan pools the best into one place. These guidelines worked for me in the past, and when I stopped following them, I gained the weight back. Now that I am applying them daily, though, they are working again. They add up to a sensible way to eat to live, rather than to live to eat.

The other day several people e-mailed me the same list of funny truths circulating on the Internet. The line that stood out for me was this one: “I have a hard time deciphering the fine line between boredom and hunger.” It’s sadly quite true for most of us. When do I mindlessly stuff food into my mouth? When I’m watching TV at night and have nothing better to do with my hands than have them lift hot buttered popcorn to my lips. Air-popped popcorn itself isn’t bad for me, but it tastes like warm Kleenex. I can’t eat it without adding good-tasting stuff, butter-flavored popping oil and kettle corn seasoning (salt and sugar) and buttery seasoning (salt and butter flavor). When I eat popcorn, though, I’m not hungry; I’m bored, and eating becomes oral entertainment.

We’ve established that I stuff my mouth with popcorn when I watch TV, and when does the best TV happen? After eight o’clock at night. As a result of eating a large bowl of popcorn at night, I go to bed feeling bloated and depressed that I’ve sabotaged myself once again.

Tip: Never eat anything after eight o’clock at night.

Once I took the “Never eat anything after eight o’clock” tip to heart, I found it much easier not to crave my nightly popcorn. When the hands of the clock hit eight, food is over, and that’s it. Period. I see the clock as an immutable force that cannot be budged. Oh, sure, I will attend the occasional gathering or dinner party where food isn’t served until late. I accept that sometimes a schedule will be out of my hands, but those occasions are rare. When I am home and the clock hits eight, that’s it. The kitchen is closed.

I’ve read conflicting reports about whether or not food left in the stomach at night is digested slower and therefore goes to fat easier. It doesn’t matter whether it’s true or not. If nothing else, I rest better without a full stomach. Give your stomach time to digest your food before you go to bed, and you’ll rest well, too.

The eight o’clock rule also makes me eat my dinner meal earlier, so I won’t still be eating at eight o’clock. I eat my dinner meal between five and six o’clock, giving my stomach time to digest my food before I hit the sack.

Try this tip; see if it works for you.

I’ll be back with another tip soon. Meanwhile, know that the plan is working. Even though only a couple of weeks have passed, I can already feel a difference in my chin. When I started the food plan, the fat in my chin made reading in bed uncomfortable. My thick neck interfered with my swallowing, at times.

I lose weight from the head down, with my legs showing my weight loss last, so I’m not surprised that the few pounds I’ve lost so far have made my double chin not quite as fat as it was. Each little success breeds more success.


  1. Okay, I finally figured this out. I will join you on a journey to a healthier life. I had already decided that 8/1 was a start day. I look forward to readying your blog.