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Healthy Eating Jump-Start Day 18: Don't eat after 8 p.m.

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Have you made a resolution to eat better and lose weight? Follow our month-long program of daily nutrition tips, created by dietitian Leslie Beck to change your lifestyle for January - and beyond. And to get your fitness on track, try our personal trainer-designed Boot Camp 2012 program .

DAY 18: Don't eat after 8 p.m.

If you're watching your waistline, it's a wise idea to set a cut-off time for eating dinner. (Unless, of course, you work a night shift.)

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Ideally, avoid eating a large meal after 8 p.m. If you have had an unusually long day and there's no avoiding eating after that time, keep it light – a bowl of bean soup, salad with lean protein or an egg-white omelette with vegetables.

While there is no scientific evidence that eating after a certain time of the night can make you gain weight, people who habitually eat their main meal late in the day do tend to have more difficulty controlling their weight. Research does suggest your body burns calories less efficiently later in the day. And the fact that most of us are less active later in the day – watching television, relaxing, reading or sleeping – makes you less likely to burn those calories.

But there are even better reasons to stop eating after 8 p.m. My clients who stick to the rule tell me they sleep better, wake up with an appetite for breakfast and feel less bloated in the morning.

Want more information related to today's tip? Read on:

I starve all day and overeat in the evening

I need to have a late-night snack. What's my best option?

Missed earlier days? It's easy to get caught up.

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DAY 17: Eat an afternoon snack

DAY 16: Track your calories

DAY 15: Ban sugary drinks

DAY 14: Eat an orange vegetable

DAY 13: Add ground flaxseed to your diet

DAY 12: Eat one vegetarian meal

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DAY 11: Pass on the salt

DAY 10: Plan next week's meals in advance

DAY 9: Eat a leafy green vegetable

DAY 8: Drink a cup of green tea

DAY 7: Snack on fruit

DAY 6: Use a smaller plate

DAY 5: Eat more veggies

DAY 4: Practise eating slowly

DAY 3: Boost fibre at breakfast

DAY 2: Drink a large glass of water before each meal

DAY 1: Keep a food diary for the next seven days

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