evening bingeing

When is the most dangerous time of day for dieters?

Evening. But if you learn to control your appetite during these key hours, you’ll drop five pounds by next month — without feeling deprived.

“Consuming most of your calories at night and being overweight often go hand in hand,” says Allan Geliebter, Ph.D., a research psychologist at the Obesity Research Center at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital in New York. For one thing, your metabolism – the rate at which you burn calories – is lower when you sleep. “This suggests that much of what you eat late at night could end up stored as fat,” says Dr. Geliebter. What’s more, once you start eating, you may have trouble stopping, explains Anne Dubner, a nutrition consultant in Houston.

Bingers can easily down 500 calories – that’s five slices of cheese, half a bag of potato chips, or 3/4 of a pint of ice cream – without paying much attention. If you’re really over-indulging, you get a double whammy: Not only do you take in excess calories, but by stretching your stomach you may later require even more food in order to feel full – which will set you up for further binges,according to Dr. Geliebter’s research.

But if you can get those evening eating sprees under control, you can easily cut 500 excess calories a night – for a loss of about five pounds in a month. The secret is to know the prime times for P.M. bingeing – and the ways you can then break the pattern.