Avoiding The Pitfalls of Nighttime Eating

Avoiding The Pitfalls of Nighttime Eating

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Do you ever find yourself so easily walking away from that yummy looking cinnamon roll with no problem at all in the morning and then fall prey to it right before bed? I have been there. And as someone who tries trying to stick to a clean and healthy diet, this can be so frustrating! I would get so mad at myself for having such great discipline all day long and then at nightfall go into a feeding frenzy. I was so MINDLESSLY consuming the majority of my calories after dark. I would do this even though I knew that this is actually when my body has the lowest need for calories.   I know that I am not alone. Studies from the Department of Agriculture show that “in America, we eat more during dinner than any other meal”. And not only that, after dinner is the second highest snacking time.

Like many of you, I lead a busy life. I am a working mom and by the end of the day, I can easily find myself emotionally and physically depleted. Because of this, I know that my willpower is tested more at night and find that I am more vulnerable to the pitfalls of nighttime binge eating. So here are several strategies that I try to put in place daily to help set myself up for success when the sun goes down.

Eat regularly throughout the day. When one’s glucose levels are down, studies show
that you are more susceptible to lose your self-control.  So when we don’t stay on top of our eating throughout the day, we are setting ourselves up for failure at the worst time of the day to consume high amounts of calories. Instead of fasting and ending up starving at night, make sure you eat small meals containing protein.  This is one of the best ways to not only lose weight but also maintain it long-term.

Have a plan. If you know you are likely to search the pantry late at night, put a plan in place in case you give in. Set out a healthy snack such as fruit or raw vegetables. This will lower your chances to act impulsively. And if you do end up snacking on your healthy snack, don’t do it standing up in front of the fridge. Make your self sit down and mindfully pay attention to each bite.

Find other ways to relax. Eating can become the way that people wind down after a long, stressful day.  Instead of mindlessly eating the whole bag of chips in one sitting, set in place a nightly routine that helps you wind down; whether that’s reading, taking a bath, or watching your favorite show.

Shut down the kitchen. Clean the kitchen and turn out the lights. Make sure you put away all of your trigger foods and only leave out your healthy “go-to” snack. By shutting down the kitchen you are less likely to wander in there and act impulsively.

Make green tea or set out a glass of water. Sipping on a hot glass of green tea or setting out a glass of water can be a good way to distract your mind from food. Sometimes a little distraction can help break this nighttime cycle.

Rest and Recharge. Since we know that we are more susceptible to losing our self-control while we are tired, make sure you are getting the appropriate amount of rest each night. Give yourself 7-9 hours at night to recharge your body. Also, try to take small breaks to be relax your mind throughout day.

And at the end of the day, we all have weak moments and can falter on a plan. If this happens don’t beat yourself up. Instead, empathize with yourself for struggling, stop the negative self-chatter, and take note of where the plan faltered. Then you are ready make changes to set yourself up for success the next day.

Love yourself to a healthy lifestyle.

Loren Silas

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One Comment to “Avoiding The Pitfalls of Nighttime Eating”

  1. Thanks for the helpful tips Loren! Late night ice cream is my biggest challenge ; )

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