Hey! So you want to learn how to control your night time cravings? Let me guess, you clicked this article because some time, or many times in the past week, you’ve found yourself eating mindlessly out of boredom late at night, only to feel guilty the next morning? It happens to all of us. You are not alone!!! This is one of the most common problems I hear from clients, but there is hope! We all get bored, then randomly hungry because the brain seeks some pleasure, then we eat too much. Maybe you’ve been following your diet perfectly all week and then one night you just said “screw it” and headed for the tacos...so what do you do? How do you fix it and prevent it from happening again?
It all starts with figuring out WHY the over eating occurred in the first place. Go over this list of common questions that can help you assess your WHY when it comes to over eating... Were you bored? Were you tired? Having cravings? Didn’t eat enough earlier in the day? Eating low fiber so not feeling full? Eating low fat so food digests fast? Eating high sugar and spiking your hunger hormones? Eating because you’re sad or lonely? Eating because everyone else is? Eating because there is food visible? Are you just thirsty? Have you eaten any fruits and vegetables today? Some of those may sound pretty familiar! So how can you work around this? Here are my top tips! 1. Eat a high carb dinner. What?! Really!!! Carbs produce serotonin in the brain, which makes you feel satisfied and happy. Carbs also contain fiber and healthy vitamins, essential to a balanced diet. Good example of dinner carbs are: rice, beans, potato, veggies, lentils, pasta, grains, etc. Eating a high carb dinner can reduce cravings and hunger late at night.
2. Keep your hands busy! Knit, type, color, play music, etc. By keeping your hands busy with a positive activity you obviously can’t reach for food. You’re also stimulating your mind, therefore not bored anymore. Keeping yourself a little busy with something you enjoy that engages your brain is a great technique to ward off night time eating.
3. Eat enough. If you’re eating less than 1400 calories a day, I personally believe it is NOT enough. You need at least 1200 to function properly. Make sure you’re eating a large volume of food as well. For example, instead of 2 Tablespoons of peanut butter, do an ounce of almonds. Or instead of 2 slices of bread, choose 1/2 cup of rice. Eat more voluminous foods!!! Make sure you’re eating enough food for a satiating breakfast, lunch and dinner + some snacks. A good meal is about the size of 3 fists sizes for girls, 4 fists sizes for men. Make sure you’re eating enough calories to maintain a healthy metabolic rate to prevent cravings and over eating.
4. Eat often. Try to eat every 3 hours. It can be time consuming but it works because you never feel too hungry or too full. This method will heighten your metabolism as well each time you eat, which helps you burn more calories per day. Eat 5-6 meals daily to reduce the urge to over eat at mealtimes.
5. Eat well! Choose food that is actually NOURISHING to your body! Not just satisfying your tastebuds. Sometimes we have to make sacrifices for the betterment of our health, which means choosing an apple over a brownie some days! Always include a fruit or veggie with your meals to ensure optimal vitamin intake. When you can choose organic, do! It is better to have chemical free food :) Some really great low calorie foods to snack on at night include: grapes, baby carrots, celery, cucumber, hummus, crackers with cheese, greek yogurt or cottage cheese, berries, pretzels with peanut butter, hard boiled eggs, string cheese, popcorn, etc.
If you have struggled with over eating at night for more than a few months, you may want to seek out some help from a professional that works in that area specifically. These are just some tips :) Try your best to make the best choice you can, at the time given. Don't expect yourself to be perfect on your diet, just expect yourself to be better than you were the day before. If you can apply these tips to your day, you will be feeling much more confident in your ability to stop overeating at night! Do you need more help? I want to help you. Send me a message on my website or at PETERSL93@yahoo.com Specializing in long term nutrition for the aspiring athlete.
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