Many people may try to avoid eating at night for health reasons, but research has shown that even those who are careful about their diets tend to “give in” to the temptation to eat junk food not late at night, but between 3:00 and 3:30 p.m.
Even people who are losing weight tend to reach for a snack because of “work stress,” “mood swings,” or because their coworkers are eating, and these snacks often lead them to give up on their weight loss.
Linda O’Byrne, a nutritionist who studies the Atkins diet, and her colleagues interviewed 1,250 people who were losing weight and found that the time of day when they were most likely to succumb to “snack temptation” was between 3:00 pm and 3:30 pm, when they gave up on their diet and gave into junk food The average time was found to be 3:23 p.m.
During that afternoon snack time, as many as 62% of respondents had either completely forgotten about their self-imposed “healthy eating rules” or had given up and eaten junk food, while only 22% had indulged in a late-night snack at midnight.
Many people blame work stress or the work environment for this, with 56% of those who gave in to temptation saying it was due to stress, 26% saying it was due to boredom at work, and 8% saying they were “hanging out with coworkers at work who were eating snacks.
This is the time of day when many people who are losing weight tend to fall behind due to a variety of factors, including a lack of energy and the emotional support that food provides. Knowing when you are more susceptible to temptation and being aware of the clock may help you stay on track and lose weight without losing sight of your goals,” says O’Byrne.
However, you don’t want to be so hungry that you become irritable and can’t concentrate on your work. If you tend to eat light lunches such as sandwiches when you are busy, you may need an energy boost, especially during the workday.
If you expect to have a long day in the afternoon, try to have a solid lunch as much as possible; if you have a short breakfast to lunch period and a long lunch to dinner period, try to have a late lunch break if possible; and if you still get hungry, prepare a healthy snack that is easy to eat and can satisfy hunger quickly. It may also be effective to brush your teeth when you want to put something in your mouth to refresh yourself instead of being hungry.