Do you Struggle with nighttime cravings???
You are not alone. This is hands down, the greatest complaint we hear from clients, and admittedly something I have battled myself.
It helps to understand that, cravings are different from hunger. Hunger starts in our stomach and is our bodies’ true physiological request for nourishment. Uncomfortable feelings such as a rumbling belly, headache, lightheadedness and fogginess accompany it. Steamed broccoli and brown rice will satisfy hunger. Cravings on the other hand are more psychological, and may actually feel more intense than hunger. This is a burning desire for a specific food, taste or texture, and is usually what gets us into trouble with late night snacking.
Cravings are part of being human. We are evolutionarily hardwired to seek pleasure/ reward in the form of food (sugar and fat specifically) and sex. This was necessary for our survival as a species, but in today’s over-stressed culture, where ice cream and potato chips are available 24-7, this becomes a major challenge.
The bottom line is, giving in to nighttime cravings will derail even the most successful nutrition program. We simply won’t fit into our skinny jeans this morning if we binged on Cheetos before bed.
Time to give nighttime cravings the boot.
- Enjoy a healthy dinner. Include protein, fiber (veggies and maybe some whole grains), and fats (in the form of olive oil, avocado, nuts or fatty fish) to keep you satisfied.
- Plan a healthy snack. We have small children, and sometimes supper happens at 5:30. Naturally, by 9:00, I am starving. I preplan a low-sugar, protein- rich snack for just such an occasion. Some great choices are:
- ¼ cup nuts (and maybe a 1 ounce piece of dark chocolate)
- Plain Greek yogurt with 1 TBS natural peanut butter, and 1 TBS Flax meal stirred-in
- A granny smith apple with natural almond butter
- Air-popped corn with olive oil, sea salt and nutritional yeast flakes.
- Tune-in to your hunger cues. Remember a craving is not hunger. It you are truly hungry, have the designated snack above.
- Know your trigger food. (For me it was salty tortilla chips), and don’t keep it in the house.
- Keep busy. Clean your house, do a Tabata of Burpees, have sex….
- Break the habit. As humans, we love routine. For me, sitting down to watch TV at night meant the cravings would begin, and I began to associate enjoying that time with a specific comforting food. Commit to breaking the habit! Know it will be a little uncomfortable at first, but will get much easier. Use this as an opportunity to forge a new healthier routine. Foam roll, paint your nails, or sip herbal while you catch up on episodes of The Walking Dead.
Nutrition does not need to be an enigma. If you are struggling, let us help you get back on track. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a complimentary consultation.