Nighttime eating is a common problem. You’re busy during the day, but at nighttime you lose control and go off the rails with the foods you eat. It could the result of one of the following reasons:
You don’t get enough to eat during the day
If you’re trying to lose weight, don’t try losing weight by skipping meals or creating too much of a calorie deficit early on. Doing so usually ends up making you ravenous by evening and leading to the munchies when your willpower is at its weakest. Instead, allocate the majority of your calories for lunch instead of dinner and eat a lighter meal in the evening. Also, try to keep your blood sugar from plummeting (which can cause cravings) by eating 4-5 smaller meals throughout the day instead of 2-3 big meals.
You’re eating too many refined carbs
Sugar and refined carbs provide quick energy, but cause a drop in blood sugar that stimulates your appetite. Avoid any processed or refined carbohydrates such as white flour, bread, pasta and especially white sugar. Opt for carbs that have fiber and make you feel fuller such as green leafy veggies, brown rice and whole grains.
You’re not getting enough fat and/or protein
Fat and protein help you feel fuller. Eat lean protein and “good” fats (olive oil, avocado, nuts) at each meal in the right combination can contribute to satiety. 20 to 35 percent of total calorie intake should be from fat (aim for 7 percent or less from “bad” fats) and about 20 to 25 percent should be from protein. The 21 Day Fix is a great program to follow to ensure you are getting the right foods in the correct combinations.
Your diet lacks certain nutrients
Your body will also often crave foods that are rich in the nutrients your diet is lacking. By taking a daily vitamin or a supplement like Shakeology you’ll help fill in those nutritional gaps and cut cravings.
You’re stressed out
Maybe you’re not really hungry at all, but rather are an stress eater. Many people also eat to self-soothe (or abuse drugs or alcohol). Stress itself releases certain chemicals that can lead to weight gain. Creating healthy habits like exercise and/or meditation can help with that.
Hunger isn’t the only reason why people eat. Some eat out of boredom or habit or even for entertainment. Simply listening to your body’s cues and knowing if this is the case is a step in the right direction. Staying busy in the evening when you’d normally have a snack can help.