We all have a darkness inside us. A hidden part of ourselves that we hide from others. A side that we feel isn't how we want to be perceived or seen. I think of it as a monster living inside me. And mine is insatiable....
Have you ever found yourself creeping down the stairs late at night to grab a handful of chocolate chips because they are so small that they "don't count"? Or how about sneaking a couple of nuts from the cupboard as you shut the lights off in the kitchen for the evening. Or better yet, when the kids are in brushing their teeth you manage to sneak one of the chocolate bars you impulsively bought at the store last week. Do any of these things sound familiar? They do for me because these are all things I have recently done. Not things I have heard my clients say or things I have learned in theory. These are actual real life events that happen to me on a regular basis. I say they "happen" to me because honestly sometimes they feel a bit out of my control. I feel like there is some other part of me reaching for these foods even though i am adequately full. What sort of dark monster living inside me is able to hide for so much of the day but creep out and completely take over at night? And do my efforts to fight this monster actually work against me? Perhaps the approach I have tried and counseled on so many times is not the best way. Whenever I try to fight this monster I end up in a shame cycle that creates a negative environment in my mind and body. I create stress and this only increases cortisol levels, which raise my blood sugar levels. If I had just eaten the candy I would have raised my blood sugar as well. So if its going to raise no matter what why not just eat the candy??
Unfortunately its not quite as simple as this. The goal is to remove the need and desire to eat late at night and honestly it takes a lot more work than just reading one blog post, however this should get you started.
6 Tips to reduce Night Time Snacking
1. Eat a balanced dinner with adequate protein, a little fat and some complex carbs. This well rounded dinner will not only help keep you full but will also satisfy your various taste buds allowing you to feel more content in your meal
2. Clean the kitchen in the morning- YES I give you permission to leave your kitchen a mess- or at the very least pass this chore onto someone else in the household. The longer you hang out in the "food zone" of the house, the more likely you are to reach for a snack.
3. Make a cup of tea. Tea can be a great way to nourish your mind and body before bed. A sweeter herbal tea could help curb cravings for candy or treats. It will also help to keep your belly full to avoid any post dinner stomach growling.
4. Take magnesium. If you find yourself craving chocolate at night you might be low in magnesium. Talk to your doctor about whether adding in this supplement might be right for you.
5. Have a small treat right after dinner. Invest in high quality, bitter dark chocolate. Having a nibble of this right after a meal will help to satisfy that need for a dessert and the bitterness will quell the sugar cravings.
6. Go to bed early!! The longer you stay up and linger around the house the more opportunity for a snack. Go to bed after dinner and read, or just go to sleep early. A good nights rest allows us to wake up refreshed and the more refreshed and alert we are the better choices we make the next day!