How to put an end to nighttime eating
Published on June 28, 2022
When I first consult with a client for weight loss, I ask them to detail a few “typical days” of eating so I can get a sense of their dietary intake and where they may be going wrong. A very common eating trend I see is most people start their day off quite well with a sensible breakfast but unfortunately, do not finish the day in a healthy or balanced manner. Whether it is cravings, hunger, stress or fatigue – many people grab the wrong sugary or starchy foods from 3pm and beyond for a little “pick me up” or to sooth an emotion. In fact, recent research has shown that the average time most people blow their diet is at 4:!2 in the afternoon!
Unfortunately, nighttime eating is usually a one-way ticket to weight gain, bloating and poor sleeping patterns. Although this habit is often one of the hardest to break, I assure you, it can be done.
Nighttime eating often has a lot to do with your current state of mindfulness and awareness with food. Most people tend to eat late at night as a “treat’ after a hard day, to sooth stress or to numb uncomfortable feelings. While occasionally eating after dinner is okay, eventually – it will cause weight gain in the wrong areas (around your belly!).
THE SIMPLE STEPS TO TAKE
In order to break the habit of nighttime eating, simply implement one or all of the steps below;
- Drink sweet herbal teas – chocolate, caramel, iced green teas and sweet fruit teas are all allowed and all count as part of your water intake. My favorite sweet tea is Bengal Spice by Celestial seasonings.
- Keep in mind you have “free foods” you that will not cause an upset stomach or weight gain. Free foods include vegetables (cut up cucumbers, sliced red peppers, baby carrots), low sodium soup broths and a small amount (1/2 cup) of unsweetened apple sauce.
- Before eating after dinner, stop for just a moment and ask yourself, “Am I really hungry, or am I eating for other reasons?” If you are not truly hungry, drink a glass of water and wait until the emotion or feeling passes.
- Invest in homemade Popsicle makers and make your own healthy version. Simply add ½ cup of mixed berries, ½ banana, 1 cup of water and crushed ice. Blend on high and freeze in Popsicle makers. Have one at night when a sweet craving hits.
- Keep frozen red grapes and frozen mangos in the freezer. When you feel like a sweet treat at night (or during the day), pop a few in your mouth.
- Make sure you consume enough protein at dinnertime to fill you up.
- Try 30 days of intermittent fasting. Ideally – a 12 -14 hour fast is recommended. As an easier start – stop eating by 7pm and do not eat until 7-8am the next morning. You will quickly see how much it reduces inflammation and aids with digestion.
In order to break the habit of nighttime eating, you need to stop eating after 7pm for a minimum of 5 days. Once you are past this point, the hard work is done and the urge to nosh will be gone. By doing this step and this step alone, I guarantee you will soon notice a marked improvement in your own health and weight.
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