Sandra Wickham, Author

Fitness Article: Combating Late Night Snacking

By Sandra Wickham

Do you have problems with night time over-eating?

Most people I talk to don't have too much of a problem sticking to a healthy meal plan during the day, but then at night, all that goes out the window! Why? Why do those snack cravings hit? Suddenly all those good intentions and efforts of the day are blown in a frenzy of late night munchies!

Unfortunately, there is no way to make gains in your health and fitness plan if you're only eating well during the day and then losing all control at night. (the same goes for eating well for the five days during the week and then eating anything and everything all weekend! But that's another article..)

Here are a few suggestions that have helped me.

Eat enough during the day!

Often when we're trying to lose weight, we restrict ourselves too much, dropping our calories too low for what our bodies need.

If your body isn't getting enough calories throughout the day, it is going to tell you about it at night and you're going to find yourself going back to the refrigerator and cupboards again and again! Or, sometimes during the day, we get busy and forget to eat enough, then when we get home and have to rest for a minute, our body screams at us to remind us we haven't eaten enough. That's when we run for the quick, easy and not always healthy snacks.

Try to focus on eating smaller, frequent meals throughout the day, balanced with healthy fats, carbohydrates and proteins. That way, your body won't be demanding extra calories in the late night hours.

Keep your hands busy!

Do you sit infront of the TV and eat, without even realize how much you're eating?

Sometimes it's just a habit we've created and it can be uncreated! I mult-task at night when I'm watching TV in order to keep my hands busy and away from the snack food! I work on craft projects, work on my to do lists for the upcoming day, or anything else to keep my hands busy. Just because you're sitting in front of the TV doesn't mean you have to be snacking!

Make the snack visible!

If you ARE going to have a snack, don't eat it straight out of the bag, box, or whatever container it comes in! If you're eating straight out of a bag of chips, for example, you don't SEE how much you're eating, and it's easy to overeat. Pour a specific amount of chips out onto a plate, on the other hand, and you can SEE how much you're eating and you can stop when your serving is done. Leave the bag in the cupboard, with a lock and key if you have to! ;)

Go to bed!

I don't even remember where I first read about this or heard about it, but it has helped me enormously and it is SO SIMPLE.

At night, our insulin levels rise as our body prepares us to go to sleep. Unfortunately, the other side effect of that is we think we want to eat! We interpret that as being "hungry" instead, and keep making trips back into the kitchen. When you start feeling like this, get yourself ready for bed, read a book and go to sleep! No need to stay up to watch tv and eat!

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