I hear from clients a lot that they eat really well during the day then at night they go nuts. They have a snack before dinner, dinner, seconds helpings at dinner then something sweet after dinner. That’s about three meals in a very short amount of time! Then there are those who snack and eat sweets or chips while sitting on the couch watching tv an polish off a bag without even realizing it. So today I’m going to give you three strategies to help you put a stop to mindless, nighttime eating!
1. Feed yourself well during the day & make sure you’re hydrated
For the majority of us, if we feed ourselves regularly throughout the day, we’ll keep our appetite at bay in the evening. However, if we’re constantly running around, forgetting to eat and not fueling our bodies, it’s only natural that we’d be ravenous by the time we get home at night.
One of the biggest push backs I get on this one is that most think they’re “too busy to eat.” Tough love: we’re all busy. You’re busy, I’m busy, everyone has shit to do. If you really want to stop nighttime eating because you think it’s stopping you from reaching your goals, you have to find time to eat and you have to drink plenty of water. You have to find ways to keep yourself satisfied and nourished. It has to become a priority.
I’m definitely sensitive to the fact that there are days where things don’t go as planned. Maybe you get tied up in a meeting at work or are shuffling the kids around and you skip a meal. That’s fine, life happens, but there are ways around it. Keep stuff in your car/in your purse/in your office that you can grab n’ go. Stock up on things like protein powder, fruit, protein bars and pre-packaged nuts or trail mix and keep them with you so you always have something to eat in a bind.
2. Give yourself treats during the day
One of my fat loss gals is a long-time personal training client of mine. Every time we would talk nutrition, she would say “I can’t have even a taste of chocolate. Once I start I just can’t stop.” I would always challenge that and tell her it’s probably not true, but she insisted. Well just a couple days ago she sent me her food journals and was SO excited that each day she allowed herself a few Hershey kisses at work and was done with them. No cravings, no going overboard at night. Her craving was satisfied and her needs were met and now she finally sees that you can just taste it and leave it 🙂
There reason why this works so well is because you don’t have to worry about using your willpower to say ‘no’ when you get home from a long day. When you’re mentally exhausted you can forget about willpower being enough to keep you away. If you have your treat at work or at lunch, you can just enjoy dinner and relax. I know it SOUNDS too simple but this is truly how it works. You do have to stay mindful of your choices (we’ll get to that next) but if you stop restricting so much, the novelty wears off and the chocolate becomes NBD. Allow yourself the permission to have a little something during the day and see what changes at night. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised!
3. Have a conversation with yourself (aka make a mindful choice)
I’m a big fan of talking to myself. Call me conceited but I think I have a lot of good things to say 😉 I talk myself through almost every food choice I make and I have a couple examples for you.
Last week I really wanted a muffin. So my conversation went something like this:
Do I really need a muffin? No.
How bad do I want it? Pretty bad.
What did I eat today? I looked back at what I had an noticed very little starch and lots of activity- no wonder I wanted it!
I got the muffin and it was amazing.
Could I have made a better choice? Sure, but given what I had that day I knew I’d want something sweet, I needed something to get me through my two interval training classes ahead of me and, yes, I was giving myself a treat. I used the muffin as my starches for the remainder of the day as well.
Later that night I had to talk myself through another choice. I had chicken with Brussel sprouts and bbq sauce for dinner and I was totally satisfied but I wanted some chips. So I thought it through. I already had some chips at lunch, I had the muffin and was full and satisfied from dinner. I decided to skip the chips.
See how those are both completely mindful choices? If I looked back at my food journal and saw that I had a bagel and lots of fruit or a sandwich at lunch, I would have skipped the muffin and probably had more water and half a protein bar or something. Still satisfying the craving and would have been a much better choice than the muffin.
So to sum up:
#1 Feed yourself
#2 Treat yourself
#3 Talk to yourself
Talk about #simplesanesuccessful!