Tips for managing night time hunger/eating
Many of the women who I work with struggle with night time hunger or the desire to eat after dinner and this can be the thing that really derails their efforts to stick to healthy eating.
Can you relate?
What causes night time hunger?
For me, I notice that I will be more likely to seek out more to eat in the evenings when I am feeling especially tired. Having noticed that being tired is my trigger for this, I tend to check in with myself by questioning whether I am actually hungry ( and the answer will usually be "no") and then make myself a cup of herbal tea -Blossom Infusions After Dinner Tea is perfect for this! http://www.blossomwellbeing.com.au/tea-shop
or go off and have a bath or go to bed an read. I'm tired, so my body is seeking energy if but rather than eat, what I actually need is to relax or just go to bed!
Being overly hungry at night can be due to not having eaten enough during the day or not having eaten the right combinations of foods throughout the day. Missing lunch or going too long without eating in the afternoon can leave you feeling ravenous in the evenings as the body has missed out on nutrition and energy which it needed - earlier in the day!
It may also be habitual such as being used to having dessert or something sweet after a meal or being in the habit of snacking whilst watching TV and associating that with relaxation or winding down time.
Emotional eating can also be at play with night time hunger, feeling fatigued in the evening may be the trigger, or ‘rewarding’ yourself after a long or unpleasant day or feelings of loneliness and other emotions may be surfacing.
If you struggle with hunger in the evenings here are some suggestions for you to try:
Make sure you eat well during the day eating balanced meals containing of proteins, fats and healthy carbohydrates to allow your body to get the nutrients and energy that it needs so that it doesn’t signal you to eat more in the evening.
Watch the protein and healthy fat content of your evening meal to make sure that you feel satiated. Desiring something sweet after a meal can be habit, but it can also be a sign that your evening meal hasn’t provided the ideal ratio of protein, fats and carbs. Remembering to include a palm sized serve of protein with about two teaspoons of healthy fat in the form of butter, olive oil dressing or some avocado in your meal will help balance out your ratios of carbs: protein:healthy fats ( many of us are eating too many carbs and not enough protein and healthy fats!)
Practice mindful eating
Slow down to eat eg. eat slowly, chew your food well. Only eat when truly hungry- get in to the habit of asking yourself whether you are actually hungry before go go looking for something to eat.
Many people find the ‘Kitchen Closed’ approach helpful
Once you have eaten dinner and cleaned up the kitchen, take the approach that the kitchen is now closed so that there is no need to go in there again this evening.
If you know that you have actually eaten enough and you are just wanting more after dinner/in the evening ask yourself what do you really want need? It may be that you’re tired and need an early night or you’re wanting comfort – if you’re tired, listen to your body and have an early night. If you’re needing comfort or a bit of a boost, find another way to do this that doesn’t involve food this may be:
- Making yourself a cup of herbal tea
- Get outside for a short walk or some fresh air
- Reading a magazine/book that you enjoy
- Having a bath
- Calling a friend
- Doing some calming breathing exercises or even just some simple deep breathing into your belly- this helps your nervous system switch from stressed to calm quite quickly
- Use some positive affirmations
- Focus on 3 things that you are grateful for right now- there is always something to be grateful for. Gratitude, even for the simplest of things affects your brain chemistry and neurotransmitters
If you would like additional support to reduce night time eating or emotional eating please get in touch to book an appointment. Book online here: https://blossomwellbeing.acuityscheduling.com/
You might also like to have a look at my online Mindful Eating program which guides you through creating a healthier relationship with food and eating. You can find out about it here: https://blossomwellbeing.com.au/mindful-eating-program-start/