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:
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.