My kids are finally in bed, and I’m nestled into the cozy corner of the couch. The house is finally quiet. Well, unless you count the snoring dog curled up at my feet, which I don’t. On my left is the remote, which I will finally resume reign over (for a few hours anyway). And on my right? An open box of Girl Scout cookies, a Kit-Kat wrapper, and the crumbs from a block of salty pecorino I just devoured.
Don’t judge. It’s late. I’m exhausted. Life is stressful.
I start the days with the best of intentions, and things go downhill from there. Breakfast is toast and a banana. I have a salad for lunch. For dinner, soup and a biscuit (or three).
But as soon as the kids are in bed, all bets are off because that’s when I bust out the good stuff. Frozen Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. French fries dipped in ice cream. Bowl after bowl of Frosted Flakes. Salty cheese and buttery crackers.
I’m well aware that I might be sabotaging my fitness goals, but I exercise on a regular basis and am reasonably healthy most of the time. I try to eat a few fruits and vegetables throughout the day, and if I want to eat a sleeve of Tagalongs or binge on fistfuls of Cheetos at the end of a hard day, so be it. I’m an adult, and I’ll eat a block of sharp cheddar if I damn well please.
Once upon a time, someone (it was Oprah, wasn’t it?) said we shouldn’t eat after 7 p.m. and all the world wagged their fingers at us late-night eaters. Now, I love Oprah as much as I love a warm apple dumpling with a side of ice cream, but I call bullshit on the late-night food moratorium. Because…reality.
Parenting is hard, y’all. The days are long, and sometimes the only thing that gets us through the day is knowing that come 9 p.m., we can rip off our bra, put up our feet, bust out the Entenmann’s, and get elbow-deep into a tin of Pringles without worrying about grubby hands and whiny voices getting all up in our business. Because nothing ruins the bliss of a bar of Godiva like a 5-year-old’s side-eye when you refuse to share.
Besides, Jillian Michaels — aka fitness guru, food realist, and all-around badass mom — told us it’s okay to eat after dark. Because Jillian gets it. She knows that this is the only time of day when we don’t have to hide in the bathroom if we want to stress-eat Snickers bars or dig into a slice of the cheesecake we told our kids was off-limits.
There are a shit ton of things that suck about being an adult. Being able to eat ice cream in bed at the end of a long day is one of the few perks. Late-night snacking is like Botox for a crinkly, wrinkly, worn-out, exhausted AF soul. It smooths out the edges so we don’t lose our shit on the regular. Some people manage stress with yoga, meditation, and long walks; others gorge on simple carbs while bitching to their BFF. You do you; I’ll do me.
Now if you’ll excuse me, there’s a package of M&M’s hidden in the freezer that are calling my name.