It's 2 a.m. Are you a) sleeping b) finishing the book you're reading, the book you're writing or the Hogwarts-shaped cake you made for your kid's birthday?
We know that not getting enough sleep throws off our metabolism, interferes with our ability to know when we're full and causes us to seek comfort and stimulation in fatty, sugary snacks. The obvious solution for the sleep deprived is to get more rest. But night owls who do their best work after hours (and the overextended who need to squeeze in a few more hours of work, sewing kids' costumes or catching up on Mad Men) need to be a little more creative.
Change your behavior: Gans says that the biggest challenge is to recognize when to eat meals and when to stop snacking. She usually sees people putting off eating for most of the day because they're not hungry at normal meal times and then taking part in an all-night snack-a-thon. She recommends three regular meals, starting with breakfast every morning—even if your morning is 11 a.m. and you're not starving, have a granola bar, a cup of yogurt or a piece of fruit. Don't worry about eating dinner later than other people, she says, because it's not when but how much you eat that determines weight gain. If you know you're going to be up for a while after your last meal, double up on fiber (whole wheat pasta, barley, legumes), which will help you stay full.
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