Mike Levinson is a former amateur bodybuilding champion and registered dietitian who holds dual degrees in sports nutrition and physical education. He has worked extensively as a nutritionist with the California Angels baseball team and with famous athletes such as Charles Oakley, JT Snow and Sean Rooks. He also worked as a nutritionist for the Chicago Bears and the Oakland Raiders.

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No-Nonsense Weight Loss

by Mike Levinson, Fitness Expert

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New Diet.com blogger Mike Levinson, author of Buff Dad, is here with the reason you should not eat after 6 p.m. Please welcome Mike and be sure to read his No-Nonsense Weight Loss blog on a regular basis.

Being a dietitian and fitness author, I get this sort of question a lot: what should I eat and when should I eat? My general rule of thumb is simple -- make sure to eat small meals throughout the day and never get full.

The aim should be to satisfy your hunger until the next meal.

I tell my clients all the time it's OK to be hungry. Trust me... you will not die from going to bed hungry.

My #1 rule besides eating small meals throughout the day is to not eat after 6 p.m. I am huge believer in this.

To make it through the evening make sure to eat a dinner with at least two cups of steamed or stir-fried veggies or salad with low fat salad dressing (measure out your dressings). Add some lean form of protein such as chicken, fish or lean beef. For vegetarians, tofu is an excellent choice.

Eat no breads, pastas, rice, potatoes or other forms of starchy carbs at night. So basically you would eat a large salad with chicken breast or lean beef. That equates to about 3 to 5 ounces cooked or stir-fried veggies with chicken or beef.

Not eating after 6 p.m. is crucial to weight loss. Most people eat a large dinner and then snack on sweets or salty foods at night while watching TV. They're putting down 2,000 calories and feeling like they just ate a Thanksgiving meal every night!

The problem is they'd then go to bed and not really metabolize the food for energy or fuel for the brain and body. Instead, the food will be stored as body fat.

Then what tends to happen is you wake up in the morning and you're not hungry for breakfast. You skip breakfast but by 11 a.m. you are now starving. You go eat a large lunch and then not eat again until dinner. Bu then you have starved yourself all afternoon so you eat like a sumo wrestler, stuffing their face with anything not nailed down in their house.

Side Note: Sumo wrestlers eat one large meal a day. It's roughly 10,000 calories consumed within two hours.

So ask yourself when you are about to eat all that food at
once: Am I training to be a sumo wrestler?

I think the main goal for most of us is to get lean and fit.

So I suggest my clients eat most of their carbs (oatmeal, whole wheat bread, baked potatoes, brown rice or other higher fiber starchy carbs) in the morning and taper off the carbs at the day goes on.

At dinnertime you eat only veggies and a lean source of protein.

You will be hungry at night and that is OK. I promise you will wake up in the morning and feel great.

You should be hungry so eat a well-balanced breakfast and repeat day after day for a month and watch your body fat fall off.

Check out the original Diet.com feature on Levinson's Buff Dad book.

Mike Levinson is a former amateur bodybuilding champion and registered dietician who holds dual degrees in sports nutrition and physical education. He has worked extensively as a nutritionist with the California Angels baseball team and with famous athletes such as Charles Oakley, JT Snow and Sean Rooks. He also worked as a nutritionist for the Chicago Bears and the Oakland Raiders.

@ 7:59am ET on October 13, 2008
Thanks Mike - I really agree it is just hard at certain times of the year! I love the imagery of the sumo wrestler - I will keep reminding myself of that:) Patty

@ 1:15pm ET on October 13, 2008

@ 3:41pm ET on October 13, 2008
Thanks for the sumo image, it actually helps. Why did you choose 6pm? When I was growing up, my mum always said not to eat after 8pm or you'll have bad nightmares!


@ 3:48pm ET on October 13, 2008
i am fat and ugly there is nothing i can do about it so why not eat whatever i want

@ 11:28am ET on October 14, 2008
I'm sorry, I'm no nutritionist, but I have to disagree with the idea that you can't eat after 6 p.m, and that you can't eat any starches after 6, especially in order to lose weight. I actually tried a program like this once; 5:30 p.m. was dinnertime. I went to bed around midnight, and when I woke up, I was usually dizzy. I am not a nighttime eater, but around 8:00 p.m., I felt familshed. Those last hours of the day I was depressed that I was so hungry. No, hunger is not the worst thing in the world, but you don't have to diet hungry to lose weight! Now my dinnertime is 6:00 p.m. The thirty-minute difference makes all the difference for me. Plus, I now eat usually a cup of brown rice with whatever protein and veggies I am eating. Now I wake up refreshed, very much unlike when I ate dinner at 5:30 without any carbs! That might be ideal on a two-week crash diet.

@ 4:39pm ET on October 14, 2008
my name is destiny barnes and it is really bad i eat every at ten and i gain the weight really bad and i weight 246.0 and i want to loose weight bad i need help bad

@ 7:56pm ET on October 14, 2008
Thanks for all your comments in regard to my blog on eating after 6 pm. I have to say that the large majority of people in the US eat most of their calories after 6 PM. Eating large amounts of carbs at night time is one of the worst things you can do. Most people eat about 25% of their calories in the morning and afternoon time and then pile on the food- summo style- at night time. 75% of their calories come at dinner and beyond- large amounts of carbohydrates. Eating dinner and then snacking up until bedtime is one of the biggest reasons people gain weight. A lot of my clients are never hungry for breakfast in the morning because they ate most of their calories at night time. Try this on- cut your carbs back to 30 grams of carbs or less for dinner and no dessert and watch the fat melt off.

@ 7:42pm ET on November 16, 2009
This works 100%. Yes, it can be rogh but it does work. After 3 weeks i noticed a different in my waist and also in my face. I cut out salt and kept my meals small and filled with veggies and lean protein. Stayed away from any processed carbs all togethor.

@ 12:52pm ET on January 15, 2010
Thanks Mike… For three weeks I have done what you have advised. (1) Eating absolutely nothing after 6pm only water or unsweetened green tea (2) Carbohydrates only in the morning & afternoon (3) Eating smaller portions of what ever foods I want (4) Protein and veggie for dinner… I must tell you I now have a lot more energy, my evening heartburn is completely gone and I don’t feel so bloated… Not eating after 6pm is way more difficult that I ever imagined, it’s a nightly struggle, but well worth the change… I feel much better inside and out….Tonya

@ 11:52am ET on May 4, 2010
i've been not eating anything after 6 p.m for about 2 weeks for now and i lost 2.1kg...thanx alot for this...hopefully im not losing water only

@ 12:13pm ET on May 26, 2010
I'm wondering what the rest of the day, specifically sleep time and wake time are for this quite hard and fast rule. It would make sense to me if you structured it like, don't eat within 4 hours of bed. If you go to bed at 10, then yes, 6PM is accurate. I don't have that schedule, so your rule is meaningless to me. But, I'm sure you can do better. What do you really mean when you say after 6PM?

@ 8:03pm ET on July 19, 2010
Interesting theory, unfortunately it's a myth! I have ALWAYS eaten after 6pm (RECOMMENDED by a dietician and doctor!!) and I am average build (5ft 10, 161 lb!) and feel healthy. My Mother and sister have not been so lucky and did have to diet, HOWEVER, they were told to eat throughout the day, just not too much and obviously healthy foods and that it was ESSENTIAL to eat one meal AFTER 6pm, they lost weight VERY quickly and are now also healthy and of average weight.
I don't know where you are getting this from but it's rubbish, a total myth!!

@ 4:46pm ET on August 1, 2010
it really works! definetely! though its so hard to resist, but patience is really a virtue...i've lost 5 kilos for 18days only..oh yeah!!!!

@ 9:14pm ET on September 6, 2010
well i have lost about 60 pounds over the past year but have recently been struggling to lose those last 20 pounds im weigh about 150 andwould like to weigh about 130 - 135 i read your article and am going to start this not eating at 6 tonight. i really think it might work conciderin i am a big time night snacker. and usually dnt eat breakfast so this should work. well il get back to u in 2 weeks. wish me good luck!!!!

@ 4:05am ET on December 2, 2010
i was wondering if you get on this diet when would be a good time to workout and what if i workout in the evenings, and get hungry what can i do to keep my self from eating , and what time is it better to work out in the am or pm?

@ 12:06am ET on January 4, 2011
This absolutely works! I think the only people that do not want it to work are those who prefer eating after 6PM. And it's a lifestyle change. I just became vegetarian and the fat fell off in 1 month. Stopped eating after 6, I see my abs. And with little workout.

@ 8:04pm ET on July 11, 2011
i am on a diet and i dont eat rice for almost 1 month now, i do my 30minutes cardio in my treadmill every morning and 20 minutes in the afternoon. i never skip my meal but sometimes i can't sleep and i always feel hungry in the middle of the night and so hard to risist, what i did is to get whatever leftover food in the fridg. i eat 2 slice of lean beef and 6pcs. of crackers 2 slice of white cheese is it bad for my diet?? i need your help thanks..

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