When I first began the practice of not eating past dinnertime – I have to be honest – I found it quite difficult.
Like many people, I was an emotional eater who turned to food after my kids were asleep as a sweet reward at the end of my day. Unfortunately, research shows that late night eating the wrong type of foods is a one way ticket to weight gain, bloating and fatigue.
When I try to break my clients of nighttime eating – I turn them on to “free foods and beverages. These foods and drinks can be eaten or drunk at any time without causing a negative effect on your weight. In order to burn belly fat, lose weight and boost your energy, your after dinner free foods are:
- Your free foods include all vegetables with the exception of potatoes (white and sweet), peas, corn and squash. In other words – feel free to munch on the following vegetables (in limitless quantity) – carrots, broccoli, peppers, cauliflower, cucumbers, radishes, celery, lettuce and cherry tomatoes. I find red peppers and cherry tomatoes specifically helpful when having a sweet craving. These low calorie, nutrient dense foods will not hinder your digestive capacity or ability to lose weigh in any way.
- Keep your cupboard well stocked with a variety of herbal teas (lemon, blueberry, peach, strawberry, etc.) When you feel the urge to eat, have a cup of tea instead. One of my favorite sweet teas is Bengal Spice tea by Celestial Seasning.
- Try drinking a glass of water. Often times we mistake our hunger and thirst signals.
- Fill up on 2 Dr. Joey’s Skinnychews which provide a long “mouth feel”. Dr. Joey’s Skinnychews are also filled with 2 grams of inulin fiber per chew. Inulin fiber has been shown to help with hunger, balance blood sugars and aid in digestive health. Naturally sweet and deliciously chocoaltely – you can’t go wrong. To make them last even longer, keep Dr. Joey’s Skinnychews in the freezer. For more information, please visit ww.drjoey.com
- If you know you will be working late, pack a healthy meal for dinner or…plan ahead.
- Think 80-20. Even if you stop eating by 7pm 5x per week – your body will thank you.
Late night eating often goes hand in hand with emotions and feelings – happy, bored, sad, lonely – we eat! Our relationship with food is often one of the most powerful relationships we develop early in life. It is also one of the hardest to change because unlike alcohol, drugs, cigarettes – food cannot be eliminated completely of course. We simply have to make the shift to create a peaceful relationship with our food choices
When first starting to change a food behavior, it takes focus, mindfulness, will power and a look into the “why” of your eating patterns. In other words, what are your triggers. Is it situational or rooted deeper than that? Luckily, physical and mental health and intertwined. Thus, when you start to make nutritional changes and eat better, you will soon start to feel better with your appearance and your body. Throw some cardiovascular activity and weight training into that equation and voila…thinks start to slowly shift. I encourage all of my clients to force themselves to stop eating after dinner (with the exception of free foods) for a minimum of 30 days. My entire goal is to get you “addicted” to feeling better. If you fall off the health wagon and eat or even binge in the first 30 days – do not panic. This is common and happens. Simply dust off your knees, put your chin up and continue on. I assure you…you can do it. You can make the shift.