Do you stick to your diet all day long but struggle with late night cravings? Find out more about why it is that when you eat matters almost as much as what you eat. You may be able to enjoy more of the foods you love and still lose weight with these easy lifestyle adjustments.
Changing the Way You Eat
- Get familiar with the latest research. There have been many studies over the years about whether calories consumed at night are more likely to make you fat. The general consensus is that it’s best to eat when you are the most active. You may have heard that Oprah avoids eating after 7:30 p.m. Try resolving to stop eating a couple of hours before bedtime. It makes sense if you think about it. If you’re active, you’re BURNING those calories.
- Start with a healthy breakfast. Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. Your body needs to refuel. Plus, you’ll be likely to eat less for the rest of the day if you begin with a full stomach. Consider a protein rich breakfast, too. Protein helps you stay fuller, longer. Which means you won’t want to snack soon thereafter. Always a good thing, right?
- Eat more frequently. Every four to six hours is a good time for a meal or a snack. This schedule will keep your metabolism up and help prevent you from overeating at night because you arrive home from work starving. These don’t have to be heavy, calorie heavy foods. But keeping your furnace going keeps you burning calories.
- Choose healthy snacks. If you do eat at night, choose your snacks wisely. Vegetables, fruits, nuts, and whole grains are all better than processed foods high in sugar and fat and low in nutritional value.
- Consume more fiber. Fiber is ideal for keeping you feeling satiated while eating less. This ingredient is why a plate of steamed broccoli sprinkled with a little garlic or vinegar leaves you feeling more content than a cookie that contains more calories.
- Limit your portions. There is still room for your favorites like ice cream or brownies. Just measure out a sensible portion so you get the flavor without adding to your waistline.
- Drink water or tea. Beverages without any calories give you the experience of snacking without interfering with your diet. Sip water anytime and enjoy a cup of decaffeinated tea in the evening. You might think you’re hungry, but sometimes water or iced tea will satisfy that need and the thought will subside.
Other Lifestyle Adjustments
- Improve your sleep. It’s easy to ignore the refrigerator if you’re sound asleep. Keep a regular schedule, buy a good mattress, and block out distracting lights and sounds.
- Wake up early. Early risers tend to weigh less than night owls even if they eat the same amount. Try going to bed and rising an hour earlier. You’ll naturally eat less at night.
- Brush your teeth. Once you brush and floss, you may decide it’s too much trouble to clean your teeth again so you’ll pass on the cheesecake. You’ll also keep your teeth and gums healthy.
- Turn off the TV. A sedentary lifestyle plays a big role in weight gain. Go for a walk or visit the gym after work instead of munching while you watch TV or surf the Internet.
- Reward yourself with non-food treats. Substitute a warm bath or a good book in place of your usual bag of chips and soda. Your new rituals will soon become a habit.
- Keep a journal. If you need help changing your ways, writing your activities down may help. It will remind you of how many calories you really consume at night.
Get plenty of restful sleep and eat sensibly all day starting with a nutritious breakfast. You’ll be better prepared to ward off late night hunger strikes and reach your weight goals while giving your body enough calories to feel full and energetic.