Are you still wondering why you have such terrible night time cravings?
I don’t blame you, up until a couple of years ago I struggled with the same issue.
I remember about 4 summer’s ago when I worked as a secretary. Everyday was exactly the same as the previous – clock in, send emails, check folders, sign people in, repeat for 8 hours and go home mentally freakin’ exhausted! I would come home and had no apparent energy left to cook a good meal or even think about what a healthy option was. Kind of ironic because I was sitting at a desk all day!
Willpower is limited – and there is only so much you can use in one day. That is what I learned from this time in my life. I spent all day using up my willpower at work, I had no systems in place to help keep my mental energy in check, something highly underrated in regards to nutrition. I was constantly avoiding ‘stressful’ situations whilst at work that by the time I got home I felt I had nothing left to use!
The donuts on the conference table
The candy in the jar on the front desk
The employee who asked me to grab Froyo
The cake from the professors birthday
What I wish I had known back then was how avoiding and resisting all these ‘temptations’ on a daily basis was ultimately the cause of my night time face-stuffing sessions. I know now that white knuckling your way through the day is the absolute WORST strategy one can possibly have.
Allowing one’s self the freedom to not eat PERFECTLY is the first step to overcoming night time eating.
You don’t have to feel bad or guilty because you ate 1/4 a donut. You are no less hardcore or dedicated to health than anybody else. If eating that 1/4 a donut saves you from eating your entire fridge later YOU EAT THAT DONUT.
It’s taken me a long time to get to a place where I am okay with that. It’s quite ironic actually, that now I eat much more flexibly and relaxed than previously, yet I look the same if not better. Not to mention, my quality of life is 150% better than it was during those days of white knuckling.
My How To’s on Stopping Night Time Eating
Eat good food during the day – the less you deprive yourself during the day, the more content you will feel at night. Plan your day around healthy and nutritious foods that will keep your blood sugar stable, but don’t feel bad throwing in a piece of candy or a bite of something sweet when you feel the desire. Make sure you keep ‘back up plans’ around in case you forget to bring lunch one day.
Backup Options (keeping you from binging when you get home)
- protein powder
- protein bars
- beef jerky
- canned/packaged tuna
- rice cakes/PB
Take a Pause – plan a 10 minute break into your day. Whether you listen to music, sit in your car, or close your eyes for a few minutes – bring yourself back into an aware state of mind. When you are able to observe your thoughts and how you’re feeling, you can do a quick ‘self-check’ to see if everything is running properly. Do you need a meal? Maybe to call a friend? Take a quick walk? Watch a funny video? Do something that brings you back to what you consider your best self.
Take Two and Chuck – say you really can’t stop obsessing over the donuts in the corner office. Try grabbing a donut, taking two bites, and then throwing it away. And please don’t say this is a waste of food – the processed/not real food will probably do better to the compost pile than your stomach anyhow. The sense of freedom and accomplishment this will give you will incentivize you enough to keep up with this technique.
Intentional Treat Substitutes – so you think none of this will work for you? Or maybe you try all of the above and still don’t feel any better? PLAN yourself a nightly treat then! A treat is something that will suffice your craving, while not detouring too much from the nutritional value you want from your food.
Somethings I would consider treats….
- yogurt with granola and berries
- halo top ice cream
- banana with peanut butter & dark chocolate
- a few pieces of dark chocolate
- protein powder mug cake with peanut butter