You’ve worked hard all day. Whether it was crazy deadlines or a launching a new product or wrestling with WordPress again, by the end of the day you’re ready for a bit of “me” time. You hit the couch, flip on the TV or the ipad and start opening the cupboards or the fridge eagerly anticipating enjoying your favourite snack in peace and quiet. After the crazy day you’ve had? You deserve it!
I don’t think I’ve had a client yet who hasn’t told me some version of this story. They know that nighttime junk food snacking is derailing their weight loss and health goals, but they don’t know how to stop.
Well here’s how:
Nourish your body better during the day
One reason that you may be hungry or cravings things like sugar at night is because you’re not keeping your blood sugar stable throughout the day. When we eat a lot of sugar or simple carbohydrates (bread, crackers, pasta, rice, soda, etc.) it sends our blood sugar sky high.
What goes up, must come down so after the high comes the crash.
When we crash we crave more sugar so we can start feeling good again. This constant rollercoaster effect is exhausting for your body and can leave you famished by the end of the day.
There are two primary ways to avoid the blood sugar rollercoaster. The first is to make sure that every meal and snack includes some protein, complex carbohydrates (vegetables, low-sugar fruit, whole grains, etc.) and healthy fat (nuts, seeds, avocado).
The second is to boost your intake of fiber. Fiber helps slow the release of sugar into your bloodstream and thus prevents the quick spikes that result in quick crashes.
Nourish you soul better during the day
Another reason that you may find yourself binging at night is because when we’re feeling tired, stressed or even lonely, it’s unpleasant. We don’t want to feel that way. Our brain knows that eating sugar and fat makes us feel instantly good so when these yucky feelings come over us, we crave junk food to make the bad feelings stop.
The only way to stop this habit is to work on implementing self-care techniques throughout the day and week that get to the root cause of those yucky feelings. Make sure you’re getting enough good quality sleep, use meditation or deep breathing techniques to reduce stress, journal about the thoughts and feelings that are bothering you and make time for activities that you truly enjoy.
Have an alternative ready
Snacking at night doesn’t have to be a bad thing. If you do find yourself really hungry in the evening then go for it – just make sure you’re choosing something that is going to be healthy for you.
Personally, I love either apple slices dipped in a little almond butter and cinnamon, or some air-popped popcorn and a nice mug of herbal tea. Sometimes I’ll even enjoy a square or two of dark, organic chocolate – yum!