It’s late at night and while you’re scrolling through your social media feed to wind down your day, those nasty cravings start to rear its head. You head to the kitchen and mindlessly reach for the tub of Ben & Jerry’s and end up eating more than you intended to.
If you’re trying to lose weight and have been watching what you eat for most of the day, it must be extremely frustrating to see this late night snacking habit put a dampener on your progress.
(Disclaimer: Binge-eating is an actual disorder that involves uncontrollable episodes of eating. If you suspect that you may be suffering from the disorder that is binge-eating, please consult a medical practitioner. For most of us, we experience what feels like binge-eating, but it’s just a very common and normal need to snack — usually on unhealthy foods.)
So what’s the solution?
Firstly, don’t deprive yourself
The number one mistake that many make when trying to lose weight or make a healthy lifestyle change, is to do too much, too soon.
Cutting out all your favourite unhealthy snacks in one go can definitely help you lose weight faster, but it’s most likely unsustainable. Just how long can say no to the tub of ice cream in your refrigerator?
It’s been shown that willpower is a finite resource that WILL run out if you push it too far. Your cravings are only getting stronger while you were abstaining, and when your willpower breaks, that’s when all hell breaks loose.
Rather than pushing your willpower to its limit, and allowing your cravings to get stronger, keep it under control by allowing a reasonable portion of your favourite unhealthy snacks once in awhile.
You should actually plan for snacking
But “once in awhile” can be really subjective, and if we leave it to our desires, it’ll most likely turn into “multiple times a day”.
Rather than having to give in to temptations of snacking, plan for those unhealthy snacks to be a part of your diet! It’s a little complex to explain it completely in a paragraph of text, but basically, you can reduce the portions of certain meals slightly, which will leave room for a small unhealthy snack without resulting in weight gain.
You’ll satisfy your cravings without feeling hungry, healthy for both mind and body. The strategy to include unhealthy snacks into our diet is something that we call the “Happy Meal”, and it’s a fan favourite among the clients that we’ve coached.
To replace unhealthy snacks, you can instead include healthier alternatives such as unsweetened greek yogurt with fruits, peanut butter on wholemeal toast or spiced nuts. Find more healthy & delicious snack inspirations on our Pinterest!
With that said, you don’t necessarily need to be coached by us to keep late-night snacking at bay, so here are 8 rapid-fire practical tips to put a stop to your late-night snacking habits, without having to rely on insane levels of willpower!
Get unhealthy foods out of sight
Studies have shown that we are more likely to snack, if the snacks are visible or convenient to reach. It’s so hard to stop ourselves when we have our favorite barbecued flavored chips sitting on the kitchen counter.
Here’s what you can do: Place unhealthy snacks in opaque containers and at the back of your snack cabinet to keep them out of sight and out of reach (or just avoid buying these snacks in the first place!).
Have regular meals
If you’re famished from skipping dinner, you’re more likely to gobble down any snacks that you can find.
Reduce your chances of overindulging in unhealthy snacks by having regular, timely meals!
Have more fiber and protein
Foods high in protein and fiber can help keep you full for a longer period of time. Have well-balanced meals that include a good proportion of both protein and fiber throughout the day to keep night time snacking at bay.
Keeping yourself hydrated is a good way to keep your appetite and cravings in check. Studies have suggested that drinking just 2 cups of water before a meal helps you to consume fewer calories and lose weight in a safe and healthy way.
Furthermore, many of us often mistake thirst for hunger. Think of thirst as a hunger for water — instead of hydrating ourselves, we often mistakenly feed that hunger for water with food!
The next time you feel “hungry” or feel a need to snack, drink a glass of water first to make sure that it’s not caused by dehydration.
Shift your dinner later
If you have your dinner at 6pm and go to bed at 1am, it’s only natural to start feeling a little hungry at one point of time during the 7 hour gap. If you go to bed late, try shifting your dinner to a later time to prevent the arrival of those nasty hunger pangs before it’s time to go to bed.
Go to bed early
Alternatively, you can simply go to bed earlier if you aren’t able to shift back dinner time! Having ample sleep is important for health and is beneficial for weight loss as well anyway.
Keep yourself busy
Some of us look for food to deal with our boredom. Don’t allow that to happen! Play a game, watch a video, paint your nails, just do anything that can keep yourself occupied and get your mind off food.
Brush your teeth
This might sound weird, but it works. If you’re like us, brushing your teeth is a MAJOR deterrent to late night snacking. We’d rather not eat than go through the hassle of cleaning our teeth again. Talk about the perks of being lazy!
Many folks have found these tips to be effective, so give them a try and let us know which works for you! If you have more ideas to add on to our list, make sure to also leave a comment below!