Did you overdo it this weekend? If so, you’re not alone!
A lot of my clients on Mondays and Tuesdays often approach their sessions with a mini walk of shame. They feel bad that they went crazy over the weekend, eating and drinking all sorts of stuff that they know wasn’t on their meal plan.
The biggest trend I noticed with these eating patterns is they tend to occur at night. My clients weren’t starting the day with huge breakfasts loaded with sugar, fat, and calories. They were going out to dinner on a Saturday night, or staying up late with their favorite movies and snacks. This wasn’t any old type of noshing. This was nighttime noshing.
Today’s post focuses on helping you break bad habits like nighttime eating that can sabotage your health and wellness goals. I’ll admit that I did used to love late night eating, but over the years and by following these tips, I’ve learned how to curb my appetite in the evening, which sets me up for an awesome day ahead.
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This is by far one of the most important practices for breaking your nighttime noshing habit. I once had a client who spent almost her entire evening after dinner helping her kids in the kitchen with their homework. Consequently, she would spend the evening grazing on leftovers from dinner, chips, and the occasional ice cream sandwich. So when she couldn’t figure out why she wasn’t losing weight despite working out with me every week.
My solution? Get out of the kitchen! Once dinner is done, the dishes have been washed, and the leftovers have been put away, close down your kitchen for the night and don’t open it until breakfast tomorrow. Lingering around your kitchen all evening is only inviting you to eat late into the evening, which can sabotage your goals.
2. Make Sure You’re Eating Enough At Dinner and During the Day
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This is another common trope I notice with clients. Sometimes, we do get ravenous late in the evening, and often it’s because we didn’t eat enough during the day. Make sure you’re eating enough at dinner, striving for a healthy balance of protein, carbohydrate, and fat. Some great sample meals include:
- Grilled salmon, brown rice, and asparagus
- Lean steak, baked sweet potato, and broccoli
- Roasted chicken, whole wheat pasta with tomato sauce, and a green salad
Another factor to consider is if you’re eating enough food during the day. Did you work through lunch unexpectedly and find yourself ravenous at dinner? Or did you oversleep and grab a donut for breakfast instead of your usual oatmeal.
Skipping meals and eating foods high in refined sugar/fat can often trigger you to overeat later in the day. Avoid nighttime noshing by pacing yourself throughout the day with healthy and balanced meals.
3. Adopt a PM Routine To Relax and Wind Down
If you’ve grown accustomed to plopping down with a giant bowl of giant chips while you binge on Netflix every night, I have some news for you. You need to get out of this rut and instead create a PM routine that promotes health and wellness. Some ideas:
- Take a relaxing bath or hot shower to help sooth achy joints and promote relaxation
- Give yourself a DIY mani, pedi, mini-facial, or some other self-care treatment. Bonus points if your wet nails keep you from diving into a bag of junk food!
- Foam roll to work out knots and other ailments. Read more about this in my post on my favorite self-care practices.
- Make yourself a cup of herbal tea. Whether its lemon ginger to curb your appetite or chamomile to calm your nerves, herbal tea is a calorie-free way to fight nighttime eating.
Other Tips and Tricks to Prevent Nighttime Eating
- Go Easy on the Booze→ It’s common to want to have a drink after a long day at the office, and I totally get that. Stick to one drink and keep it simple (i.e. a vodka soda or a glass of red wine). Excessive drinking, especially in the evening, can ignite hunger and make you want to eat.
- Try Exercising in the AM→ Exercising in the evening can make you hungrier later in the evening. Switch to morning workouts to give you a boost of energy and tap into your natural circadian rhythm
- If You Must Eat, Pick a Healthy Snack→ If you’re truly hungry, invest in a healthy snack that has a balanced amount of protein, fat, and carbohydrate. An apple and peanut butter, cheese and a few crackers, half a turkey sandwich on whole grain bread—these are all good options!
Bottom night, nighttime eating doesn’t need to be something that keeps you from working towards your health and fitness goals. We all have bad habits that we are trying to break (myself included). Taking the time to be conscious of your behavior and make the appropriate changes are key to breaking bad habits and getting new habits to stick!