100,000-149,999 SparkPoints 109,340

Potential Trouble Ahead

Monday, February 20, 2017

So far, so good.

I’ve been eating within my calorie range every day (with only a couple of small slips), drinking copious amounts of water, and exercising faithfully at least 5 days a week for the past month or so.

Yesterday, the weather was so nice, I got my bike out of the garage and took myself for a ride. It wasn’t until I’d been on the bike for about 15 minutes that I remembered how much I loved riding and actually missed it. I rode for 6 miles and am now chomping at the bit to get out there again, despite the soreness in my gluteus most maximus.

Today I walked for a little over an hour and it was my longest distance yet. While I’m tired and sore, it’s not as bad as I expected it to be. That must mean I’m getting stronger! Woohoo!

I’ve also lost some weight, which is tremendous reinforcement for all my efforts.

Amid all the positives, I have identified on potential trouble spot. Night time eating. I noticed it the past 2 evenings. Both nights I really wanted to eat and did. Saturday night, I was more in control than Sunday. Fortunately, it wasn’t so bad that I went wildly over my calorie range. However, knowing myself and my history, I can see that this could become an issue for me if I let it.

As a start, I’ve identified some potential triggers/reasons that I might eat at night. Some of them are “legitimate” reasons to eat; others, not so much. I list them here in the order they happened to occur to me:

1. Boredom;
2. Habit;
3. Hunger;
4. Stress;
5. Anxiety;
6. Poor Planning (of meal content and meal times, use of calories, and bed time);
7. Watching tv, which is the easiest and most frequent way for me to fall into not paying attention to what/how much I’m eating.

Next, I tried to think of strategies I can use to help minimize over-doing the night eating:

Learn to pay attention to my hunger cues throughout the day so that I can feel satisfied all day instead of like I’ve been starving for hours. Feeling deprived can lead me to over-compensate at night.

Accurately track everything I put in my mouth and all my exercise, so that my daily nutrition requirements accurately reflect what I’m doing and my needs.

Make sure I eat enough – sometimes, after a workout, I forget that I might need to compensate with a few more calories to meet my dietary requirements.

Eat more slowly.

Add more protein and/or fiber to dinner so that I feel full longer.

Eat dinner a little later.

Leave enough calories at the end of the day for a small evening snack.

Before I eat, wait 10 minutes to see if the feeling of wanting to eat passes. While I wait, I should occupy myself/my hands with other things, like knitting or reading a book.

After 10 minutes, if I still want to eat, I should ask myself if I want to eat because I’m hungry. If hunger isn’t the reason, I should find something else to meet my need, as appropriate.

I have a list of reasons that I want to lose weight and improve my health posted on my dresser in the bedroom. I should remind myself of my goals and those reasons every day.

Track my snacks -- no matter what -- so that I’m aware of the impact my night-time eating has, making it easier to identify ways to refine my new healthy lifestyle so that I’m better prepared for success.

Other distractions from night time snacking could be stretching, taking a bath, or meditating. I can visualize myself doing all the things I want to do when I’m thinner and healthier, like going on vacations, riding my bike, going to ball games and shows, dancing, horseback riding, photography, etc.

When I want to eat at night, it is usually while I’m watching tv, in my bedroom. I need to pay attention to whether or not I’m developing an unhealthy association between watching tv and late night snacking. If I think this is becoming a problem, I will try to break the association by making a rule that I will only eat while sitting at the table and no snacking in the bedroom.

I need to continue to ensure that I get enough sleep and try to maintain a consistent bedtime on most nights.

I should eat if I’m hungry.

I should brush my teeth after I eat my last food for the evening as a signal to myself that the kitchen is CLOSED.

Finally, I thought about healthy, light evening snacks I could build into my plan:

String Cheese, Yogurt, Banana, Bowl of Fruit Salad, Belvita Cookies, Pistachio Nuts, Hard Boiled Egg, an Apple and a tablespoon of Peanut Butter, 2 cups of Popcorn (no butter), Herbal Tea, or Grapes.

Measuring portion sizes is a must. I’d appreciate it, in your comments, if you would include your suggestions for healthy snacks and thank you in advance.

Live Lightly!
Share This Post With Others
Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Sounds like you're doing great and you have a sound reasonable plan! I've read that for late night hunger, you should try to eat a bit of lowfat protein, that it doesn't land on your hips so quickly. (I can't remember the bio-scientific reason for that though.) Sometimes for a nighttime snack, I like 1/4 to 1/2 cup fat free cottage cheese (I like Shop Rite brand) with a topping of fruit. That can help. or sometimes a 1/2 cup of bran cereal with a drop of 2% milk. Wishing you continued success! emoticon
    789 days ago
    Great job really, both food wise and work outs.
    Seems you got a handle on the food and that is more thn1/2 the battle. Keep going. emoticon

    791 days ago
    It sounds like you are really doing great! Great job with the exercise!!! And great job blogging and observing what is going on. You've really thought it out and come up with some great solutions. I'm sure you've helped a lot of people, who are also struggling with the PM snacking.
    791 days ago
  • NEW_ME1975
    Wow! What an insightful blog. You offer some great perspective and advice. Thanks for sharing.
    792 days ago
    There's a quote I like that says If you are hungry eat an apple, if you don't want the apple, you're not really hungry but bored. One thing you can try is a hobby that requires your hands. That way they are busy elsewhere.
    792 days ago
    Some suggestions:
    1. If you know that you always get hungry at 8:30pm for example, but are ravenous by 10pm plan to use a certain amount of calories for that snack every day. Have it. Enjoy it. Try to do so before you are ravenous so that it is more likely to satisfy you.
    2. Play around with the calories to determine satiety. You may find the need is different based upon the intensity/type of your workout and your daily menu If you can get away with 100-200 calories, there is no point in eating 300-400, right?! On the other hand if it takes 300-400 plan for it and have it. There is no shame in your game. You are dropping weight consistently week after week. You are burning massive calories with your workouts and your metabolism is in high gear.
    3. Choose the foods that satisfy you in order to prevent the I should eat______ but I really want_____ argument with yourself. I don't know about you, but I never win that one.
    4. Try not to see a bedtime snack as a treat. It's just a snack.Seek treats elsewhere, new sneakers, a new outfit for vacation etc.
    5. If you are hungry, you're allowed to eat
    6. If you get in a jam, it might be because you are not hungry for food. Figure out what you are hungry for. If you can't have what you are hungry for right then, do something that brings you joy. Remind yourself you will eat in the morning and you really will not starve to death over night. (This one is still hard for me to believe but it's true, really!)

    You are doing great, Kate! You've got this emoticon

    792 days ago
  • EDWARDS1411
    792 days ago
    Great job at analysing and coming up with solutions. I like to spritz my popcorn with water, then sprinkle a little trivia on it. My brain thinks I'm eating kettle corn. Celery with an avocado filling is good too.
    792 days ago
  • Add Your Comment to the Blog Post

    Log in to post a comment

    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.