It is eleven o-clock at night, you actually had a decent dinner earlier in the evening, but something still pulls you to the fridge – and it is definitely not the leftover salad from lunchtime. You are craving something bad right now, pizza, chocolate, ice cream… No matter what comes in your way, it must be sugary, fatty or both!
Of course it is okay to treat yourself with a little something once in a while, but snacking late at night can become a really bad habit which is hard to break. Here are 5 tips that will help you to resist your nighttime cravings.
Convince yourself that eating is not a hobby! You can enjoy your food, but its main purpose is to fuel your body with energy, not to keep you busy. So when you eat, chew thoroughly and try to really taste the different flavors of your food. If you have the consciousness for your food, you might even figure out that you are not hungry. Try to distract yourself for example with reading a book, calling a friend or listening to music. Also setting a timer to 10 minutes, in which you leave the kitchen, until you reach for food makes most cravings dissolve by themselves.
It might sound weird right now, but this action actually prevents you from little snacks or did you ever eat chocolate or chips with a fork?
Ask yourself is it really food I am looking for right now or is it anything else? Are you maybe just tired and need some energy? Make yourself a cup of warm tea with chamomile or lavender and lay down and relax. Are you bored? Stop what you are doing in this moment and find an activity that you enjoy, such as painting, yoga or even just writing a longer e mail to your friend.
Do you usually watch TV with a bag of chips in your hand? Try to not take any food in front of the TV. Instead always eat consciously. This also includes no looking at your phone, reading a magazine or sitting in front of the laptop. You will recognize every bite you put in your mouth!
Brushing your teeth right after dinner as a clear cut before nighttime might be very helpful for some people. It also gives you a nice minty flavor in your mouth.1 Also a good idea, as it fills you up, is drinking a glass of water before reaching for the snack.
In most cases the urge of nighttime hunger comes from a poor calorie intake in the morning and at lunch time. Eating foods rich in protein earlier in the day will help you feel fuller longer and counteract the nighttime meal.2
Find a photo where you really like your body or a picture from the time you were very unhappy with it. Either of them will work to keep you away from the fridge.3
Many nighttime snackers have no idea how much food they actually stuff their mouth with and how many calories they thus add to their diet. Start a list to write down which snacks you eat after dinner and look up the calorie amounts. This might not only help you limit the overall amount you consume, but also shows which foods are your main enemies, calorie-wise.
If you are sitting at work all day long without any exercise it is very likely that you are not really tired before going to bed. You will stay up later, which equals into more time to eat. If you exercise and tire yourself out before going to bed, which could do a nice swim, dancing or running, you will fall into your bed exhaustedly. No need to worry about waking up at night time!
Nevertheless, if you figure out that you are honestly hungry, you should eat. Going to bed hungrily will prevent you from sleeping and cause tiredness on the next day which can in turn result in overeating on that day. It is okay to eat in this case, but you need to eat the right food. Options you should go for are kale chips, a small hand of pistachios (not a bag!), pumpkin seeds, a boiled egg, berries or a sugar free meal replacement shake – as these foods are rich in nutrients and protein.4