Ways to control those late-night cravings

How to get control over your waistline by eating better at night!

You’ve probably heard of diets that force dieters to avoid eating after a certain time of the day. That’s because eating lots of food right before going to bed makes it more likely that your body will store up fat when you’re not burning calories by moving around. How can you fend off those late-night cravings that bring unwanted calories to your most vulnerable soft spots?

One of the easiest ways to avoid late-night cravings is to cut the late nights out of your life. This is as easy. Simply brush your teeth, wash your face, and get in bed well before your cravings usually kick in.

To make sure you don’t find yourself lying in bed for hours and suffering the same late-night desires that you’re trying to avoid, don’t read or watch television in bed. It may take a few nights to grow accustomed to an earlier bedtime, but your physical and emotional health will improve from hitting the hay at a decent hour.

This may seem contradictory if you’re trying to beat late-night eating, but pushing dinner back an hour or so will help you stay full later into the night, ultimately leading to no more late-night cravings.

This can be a difficult adjustment if you have a hungry household, so be prepared to allow plenty of healthy snacking on veggies and fruit leading up to dinnertime (this will also help you choose a more reasonable portion at dinner too).

For the most part, cravings also kick in when you’re sitting around not doing anything. Instead of opening the door for boredom-induced snacking, find something to do and do it well! Whether you decide to finally clean out the kitchen pantry or want to get yourself involve in a crossword puzzle or putting together a quilt, staying busy will help you sidestep any potential temptations that arise in the late hours.

Also, stress is a key reason you may find yourself eating when you know you shouldn’t. Stress can throw off your levels of certain hormones responsible for food cravings, so staying away from stress can’t be stressed enough.

Beat stress with controlled breathing, regular exercise, and sleep. If you’re still feeling stressed, take a close look at your life and reprioritize. You may be putting too much emphasis on things that aren’t important. If it isn’t do or die…relax. If it isn’t life or death…relax. Your well being and life are more important than most of the little things that bother us at night.

Have no control over your need for late-night foods? Give in, but give in healthily by substituting your unhealthy ice cream and candy corn for carrot sticks, celery sticks, or apple slices. Once you’ve made the switch, you may have to take another step and toss the ranch dressing you’re dipping it in. Anything that diminishes the health perks of your food must be done away with. Your waistline requires it!

Being thirsty or dehydrated is often mistaken for hunger, so getting some water in your system may be just what your belly wants. So before you give in to your hunger, you need to quench your thirst. Any time you find yourself faced with an insatiable desire to snack on some late-night goodies, drink a couple glasses of water and wait a few minutes. If your hunger is still growing after a healthy dose of H2O, go for one of the healthy snacks mentioned above.

Need More Evidence? Read this mousey research. A recent study gave more proof that late-night snacking is a bad idea for anyone who wants to keep a tight reign on his or her waistline. During the study, mice fed during the day (they normally eat at night) gained 7.8% more weight than mice fed at the appropriate time. In other words, eat at the right time, get the results you want.

In the end, you and only you are responsible for your waistline. It is usually the little things in life that can help you lose the gut or put more fat on. Make these small, simple changes to your eating habits at night and take control of your weight loss. Follow these steps and wake up to a tighter waistline. Now that is a good reason to roll out of bed on a Monday!

For more great health and fitness articles, check out www.reddeerhealthmagazine.com.

Jack Wheeler is a personal trainer and owner of 360 Fitness in Red Deer. He can be reached at 403-347-1707 or check out www.360fitness.ca for more information.

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