Avoid Late-Night Snacking
There are several reasons why it’s best to avoid late-night snacking if you are watching your weight. By not eating after 7pm (one of the cardinal rules for weight management) you are effectively managing your daily calorie intake. Oprah believes in this rule and proved its effectiveness, as not eating at night helped her in her weight loss journey tremendously.
How to avoid late-night snacking
Another reason to avoid eating at nighttime is because excess calories are consumed in the form of casual nighttime snack foods when you’re mindlessly eating in front of the TV.
Part of the reason why the bad habit of late-night snacking is so tough to beat is because we feel comfortable snacking on feel-good treats when we’re watching Netflix.
In fact, binge-watching Netflix seems to wonderfully coincide with binge-eating.
We also tend to mindlessly eat when we’re bored, so it’s common to want to eat late at night after the work day is done, after e-mails have been checked and answered, and we’re just relaxing at home in comfortable boredom.
If you have a tough time refraining from nighttime snacking, you’re not alone. Check out these 5 tips for avoiding late-night snacking.
1. Remind Yourself That You’re Not Actually Hungry
There’s a really great podcast called ‘Primal Potential’ that points out that often when we snack at night, we’re not actually hungry for food.
The idea is that we’re actually hungry for something else: excitement, intimacy, love, attention, or some other void that we’re filling with food.
For example, when you eat when you’re bored, you’re actually hungry for adventure. When you eat when you’re sad, you might actually be hungry for love or affection.
When you’re anxious, you might actually just need to meditate or write in your journal. There are other cures for anxiety aside from eating, so try something different.
The next time you catch yourself reaching for that Twix bar, remember that you’re not actually hungry for food. Get out a notebook and write down what you’re really hungry for, as it’s therapeutic to write down your emotions.
2. Brush Your Teeth After You Eat Dinner
By brushing your teeth after dinner, you’re less likely to want to snack at night. Brush your teeth really good, and use a minty mouthwash. If your mouth feels and tastes minty-fresh, this will actually avert food cravings.
Part of the reason this trick works is because the minty flavor of toothpaste or mouthwash in your mouth actually makes food taste bad.
The other reason is that when your mouth feels fresh and clean, you’re less likely to want to eat, since you’ll ruin that nice fresh-mouth feeling.
You especially should brush your teeth after dinner if your meal included dessert or something sweet. Our friends at Truedent Family Dentistry explain, “Brushing your teeth after eating anything sweet or sugary is crucial. Brush your teeth immediately after eating so that the acids from the foods and sugars don’t have time to set in on your teeth, causing tooth decay.”
So, kill two birds with one stone by averting cravings and keeping your teeth healthy by brushing after eating.
3. Have a Cup of Coffee or Tea
Coffee is known to inhibit the appetite. We often don’t feel hungry after drinking a cup of coffee. With a hot tea, it takes awhile to drink or sip on, so it keeps your mouth busy so that you are not eating.
In general, a hot drink will be very low calorie and yet very filling and satisfying. It’s a much better idea than eating snack foods.
So, take a sip of your hot drink instead of eating something, and you’ll be much better off.
4. Try a Lollipop
A low-sugar lollipop is a great alternative to snacking. If you’re sucking on a lollipop during your Netflix binge, you’re consuming fewer calories than you would be if you were continuously reaching your hand into a bag of chips.
Most low-sugar lollipops only have about 50 calories and they can take up to an hour to finish.
5. Keep Your Hands Busy
You’re less likely to reach for a bag of chips while you’re watching Netflix if you keep your hands busy with something else.
Try taking up knitting, crochet, puzzles, adult coloring books, or some other activity that keeps your hands busy. You’d be surprised how effective this strategy is in distracting you from reaching for a snack.
Next time you feel those late-night snacking urges, try a few of these tips.
If you can take control of your late-night snacking, you are well on your way to starting to achieve your fitness and health goals. Get started tonight!