I’m sure at one time or another you’ve experienced its presence:
Dinner is over, the kitchen has been cleaned up, and you’ve plopped down on the couch to finally relax after a long day.
That’s when the Snack Monster strikes…. You get this insatiable feeling of hunger and the need to eat something.
And I’m not talking about a bowl of salad or an apple.
It’s more like chocolate, ice cream, chips, etc.
And not just one serving, either.
There are 1 of 2 possible reasons this is happening to you:
1. You Haven’t Eaten Enough/Properly During the Day: deprivation in the morning and early afternoon can wreak havoc at night. People are usually too busy, too distracted or - quite honestly - too lazy to prep an adequate breakfast and lunch for themselves. Coffee and a donut from Dunkin’ just won’t cut it.
You’re busy?? We all are. But there are plenty of creative ways to have a successful breakfast and lunch each day.
TRY THIS: Make sure you get a good sized breakfast, lunch, and hearty afternoon snack. Include healthy fats, protein, and natural sources of carbohydrates.
An example is: 3 scrambled eggs with spinach and ½ an avocado. You could also try egg muffins which can be cooked in bulk ahead of time… so it’s just grab & go.
2. Nighttime Snacking Is Just What You Do: this is where we get a bit more into the mental muscle, and mindfulness side of things…. Not just simple recipe hacks. Think about it: do you just assume that you’ll snack at night? Have you built it into a habit, or routine of sorts? You may not be hungry or need any more food for the day, but having a bag of pretzels while watching Game of Thrones is just “your thing.”
Except that it is producing a result that you don’t want.
So you need to change “your thing.” You need to train your brain to engage in an activity other than snacking.
You need to rewrite the story you tell yourself about what you do at night.
Because if you keep believing the same story of “well, I just snack at night. It’s what I do and I can’t help it,” then that outcome will just keep happening.
Altering your brain and what you believe is possible for yourself is the first step.
TRY THIS: Make a list of actions/behaviors that you can do instead of mindlessly eating tortilla chips for an hour.
Things like: calling a friend, folding laundry, chewing a stick of gum, drinking seltzer, drinking hot tea, going for a walk, playing with a stress ball, knitting, combing your hair…. The list literally could go on forever.
Not all of these will work for you, but everyone can find 1 - 3 things that are suitable distractions.
Then, place a reminder for yourself in the kitchen.
I suggest to my clients that they make a sign to hang in their kitchen after dinner every night that says “KITCHEN IS CLOSED” or “REMEMBER WHY YOU’RE DOING THIS”, or “WHAT DO YOU REALLY WANT?”
The visual reminder will bring your mind back to the fact that you’re trying to STOP this habit that can happen without realizing it until it’s too late.
Whether its reason #1 or #2 that resonates with you, the solution that you try won’t work 100% of the time overnight. Like anything else you’ve learned to do- you won’t be a master at it the 1st time, or even the 1st 20 times… it will take repetition, trial and error, and some encouragement and motivation from friends/family/coach to help keep you going.
But once you create new habits that are more in line with the result you want…. And once you start SEEING those results… you’ll have all the internal motivation in the world to keep on doing it.