Healthy Eating

Nutrition Challenge For Week 10: Close the Kitchen

I don’t know about you, but my kitchen always fills up with goodies: the kids make popcorn balls, the neighbors bring fresh-baked cookies, and high-calorie party leftovers start taking over the fridge. And while I can keep my hands out of the “cookie jar” all day, for some reason, things get out of hand at night… unless I have a kitchen cut-off time.

There’s some controversy around this week’s challenge, because technically eating calories before bed won’t “magically” turn them to fat. Current research has shown that as long as you’re eating the right food in the right amounts, it technically doesn’t matter when you eat it.

But I know this from experience: when you’re trying to achieve your ideal shape, late-night munchies will wreck your results and make you feel worse tomorrow. Here’s why closing the kitchen at night is one of the 12 essential habits for fat loss.

It has to do with typical evening behavior patterns…

Just think back to the last time you went into the kitchen at night to grab munchies while watching your favorite TV show, or for a nibble after the kids were asleep. You were only going to have a taste of peanut butter — it’s healthy, right?

So you had your bite, and then you saw the bag of chocolate chips and decided to just have a couple. Then maybe you wanted a little of the peanut butter and chocolate chips together. So you got out your spoon and started dipping. Next thing you knew, you’d eaten a lot more than you meant to. Maybe you even went to put the peanut butter away and remembered the “almost empty” half-gallon of ice cream. Since you already blew it for the day, you ate the ice cream, vowing to do better tomorrow. Has this happened to you? Because it’s certainly happened to me. It’s an endless cycle!

If you’ve been following the plan and eating five meals per day, you’ve probably already had all your calories by the time evening rolls around. Since our goal is to get a rockin’ body in 12 weeks, unplanned BLT calories (that stands for “bites, licks and tastes”) are exactly what we want to avoid!

Your Challenge for Week 10

Your challenge this week is to “Close your Kitchen” three hours before bed for five days. This means no eating anything for three hours before your planned bedtime.

*Exceptions to the rule: Some people like to have a snack around 8pm, and we have lots of people who choose to have an IdealShake around that time because it’s “like dessert.” As long as your evening snack is part of your five-meal plan and included in your daily calorie goal, it’s no problem.

Choosing Your Evening Cutoff Time

Planned cheat meals are great, fun and satisfying, but unplanned cheat meals can leave you feeling guilty — a feeling that often leads to a downward spiral. Creating your own “kitchen closed” rule will help you stay focused. I recommend not even GOING into the kitchen after cutoff time so you won’t even be tempted!

So when should your kitchen cutoff time be? This is up to you and when you feel the most tempted, but a good starting point is three hours before bedtime. If you go to bed at 11pm, have a “no eating after 8pm” rule. When dinner is done, clean the kitchen. If you have a snack a little later or if your kids do, clean up after that and then turn off the light. If the kitchen is clean and the light is off, it helps you to stay out!

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Track Your Results

See if closing the kitchen 3 hours before bedtime helps you…

  • Stay within your daily calorie goal
  • Conquer cravings and late-night unplanned snack attacks
  • Feel more positive about your food choices — did you feel deprived or perfectly OK about going without food at night?

Let us know how it goes!

P.S. Nutrition is only part of the puzzle! If you’re not already signed up for the full IdealShape Up Challenge, click the banner below to get access to our FREE 12-week online exercise program, co-created by yours truly. 😉

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Lindsey Mathews

Lindsey Mathews

Head Trainer


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