How to stop nighttime snacking?
Does this sound familiar?
“I’M REALLY GOOD ALL DAY LONG AND THEN I JUST GET LOST AT NIGHT. I’M EATING EVERYTHING IN SIGHT.”
Nighttime eating is often linked with being overweight or obese, but some normal-weight people also struggle to curb nighttime eating.
Do you have nighttime emotional eating habit?
If you answer “yes” to all or most of the following questions, you may be in the same boat like many and seeking support is necessary.
- Do you overeat in the evening, especially after dinner?
- Do you eat at night even though you’re not hungry?
- Do you have no appetite in the morning?
- Do you often have feelings of sadness, stress, anxiety, or depression, and do these feelings tend to increase at night?
Here are some of the ways how to stop nighttime emotional eating:
- Don’t restrict yourself during the day
If you are trying to be “good” all day long what does that even mean? Unfortunately for many people being a “good eater” means they either under-eat or skip meals. They are usually saving the calories for the evening because they already know the pattern.
But it’s one of the worse things we can do. Depriving ourselves of food leaves you irritated, edgy and hungry. Food is all you think about. Is it any surprise, then, that we go all in at night? We’re tired, we’re hungry, and finally… FINALLY… we’re going to reward ourselves!
It’s important that you listen to your hunger cues-don’t run away from them. When you get the sensation in your stomach, feeling weak and shaky…eat!
Only when you eat, you will get the food obsession out of your mind and get back to your normal life.
Once you eat regularly, you won’t be starved in the night but simply put you will have a regular meal and get it over with.
2. Don’t starve yourself at night either
I am not against people trying intermittent fasting or not eating after 6 PM, but if you are hungry eat.
If it’s 6 PM and you feel hungry and yet you don’t eat you will need some super strong willpower to push through until bedtime.
And highly likely you will give in around 9PM and then eat again everything in sight.
You can have a good healthy snack that will hit the spot, it doesn’t have to be a full blown meal but some yoghurt with berries, some nuts on the side would be perfect. You should never feel guilty when your body is telling you to eat.
3. Eat without distractions
In our modern day world, we eat standing up, on the go, in front of the TV , laptop or while scrolling on our phone.
If you can’t imagine screen time without snacks, try cutting down on your screen activity, or cutting it out altogether. Or limit your screen eating to fruits, vegetables, and no-calorie drinks. It’s important to break the habit that screen time equals food time.
Also when you eat without distractions, you are giving yourself and your brain the time to digest the food properly, your brain gets the notion that you are in fact eating and you can have a better understanding of satiety. When our mind is elsewhere, we can’t focus on our food, digestion and satiety cues.
4. Be curious
Many of us eat at night and we are not sure why. We say “it just happens”. However, if you dissect your day and analyse a bit better your emotions and triggers you will most definitely see a pattern.
For many of us overeating at night is simply an ingrained habit, fuelled by daily feelings like frustrations over the day, loneliness, anxiousness, or boredom.
When you feel the urge to splurge, build in a 5- to 10-minute pause. You may even want to slap a big “STOP” sign on your refrigerator. Then ask yourself: What am I hungry for? What do I need?
If, for example, you find that you’re anxious, begin a new habit: meditation, journaling, walking, listening to your favourite music…
If you feel an intense need to reward yourself at night, especially after a frustrating day, do reward yourself, but with non-food pleasures. Make a list of things that could be a reward instead for YOU.
5. Imagine your life in the future to break the habits
This is a very powerful exercise that I often do myself. If I feel I am getting sloppy and not paying attention to what I eat at times (happens to all of us) I instantly say to myself: Who do you want to be? How doe this woman act, behave, feel? What do you want to do in the future? What kind ion life do you want to have?
I set up new goals, new things I want to do, see, experience that require me to be fully present and healthy.
Long-term goals such as vitality, health, being present with your family until you are old are all worthy reasons to pay attention to your eating habits now, in the present moment.