Recently, a reader asked me about a problem with night-time eating.
I can follow the steps and stick with the plan until I get home in the evening. I want to clean out the refrigerator. I eat a lot more when I am at home. I try to practice mindful eating and portion control in the evenings, but I am finding it to be quite challenging. I also tend to eat more at home when I am at my computer and doing schoolwork.
Any suggestions on what I should do?
I do feel better about myself though and I like that. I feel that I am making steps towards my goal.
Here was my response:
“It sounds like you are stuck in a pattern where eating is part of your evening routine. Your challenge is to make slight adjustments to your routine so that you won’t sabotage your health plan.
What’s your eating like during the day? Are you eating a balanced diet with fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains in moderation? The reason I ask is sometimes if your diet is unbalanced or you starve during the day, then you REALLY become unbalanced at night – which sets off cravings. So make sure you are eating foods that supply the nutrients your body needs to function at its best.
The reason I ask is sometimes if your diet is unbalanced or you starve during the day, then you REALLY become unbalanced at night – which sets off cravings. So make sure you are eating foods that supply the nutrients your body needs to function at its best.
If you do have unhealthy foods that you habitually snack on in the evenings, then keep fruits, vegetables, or lean protein easily accessible so that you have something healthy to grab if your body is hungry. Apples, Pears, Oranges, Greek yogurt mixed with frozen berries, low sodium V-8 juice, and mozzarella cheese sticks are choices that can curb hunger.
If you are eating for reasons other than body hunger, then you need to find out why.
Are you bored? Lonely? Just eat because the food is there?
Whatever the reason is, you need to identify it because then you can think of ways to meet the need without food.
Here are some ideas on what you can do instead of eating in the evenings if you are not hungry:
- Wait 10 minutes. Breathe deeply to relax and meditate on the following scripture: “for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17).” Pray and ask God to fill you with his peace and joy at this moment. Pray for Him to show you the right action to take at this time.
It may be hard to do this at first and this article explains why changing habits can be challenging. But eventually, this behavior can become your new normal with enough practice.
- Brush your teeth after dinner; swish your mouth with minty or intense cinnamon-flavored mouthwash.
- Drink a cup of hot herbal tea with the herb Stevia for sweetness. Good choices are peppermint tea (for digestion) or Chamomile (if you need to relax. Many grocery stores carry stevia now where sugar is sold.
- Do some simple stretching exercises to relax and unwind. You can get some ideas from YouTube. Alternatively, if you need an energy boost, you can try jumping jacks, squats, or Kettlebell swings.
- Use aromatherapy, such as scented oils or candles to help curb food cravings. Best scents are lemon, peppermint, or green apple.
- A hot bath using bath salts with the above scents can also help you relax.
- Self-care is a great way to spend the evening. Give yourself a facial, manicure, or pedicure.
- Listen to praise music and dance to the Lord.
- Are you tired? Then don’t use food as a means to stay up longer. Go on to bed.
Get creative. Again, it takes time to change your evening pattern, but the effort will be worth it!”
Be blessed in health, healing, and wholeness,
Creator of the ‘Take Back Your Temple’ program
P.S. Have you ever wondered why you lose weight only to gain it back? The truth is that traditional diets can only go so far in helping you control your weight.
In the following video, I share why traditional diets fail. They are missing 3 critical ingredients that lead to weight loss success.
Click here to take control of your weight with the 5 Habits of Weight Loss Success
The last one really caught my eye of try not to eat when you’re tired, but it’s so hard! I live in Belgium (my dad is a diplomat so we move every 3 years) and there literally is like NO sun, so I’m always lethargic and tired. My school is far away so I wake up at 5:40 am and come home at 5 pm! It sucks and I’m so tired when I come home that I eat to get energy. I don’t even have energy to exercise! What do I do? 🙁
Hi Rachel – Given your challenges, it’s even MORE important that you create a solid health foundation for yourself. That means doing whatever you can to strengthen your physical resources. Whenever I’m low on energy, I take a look at a few things: Regarding the sunshine issue, can you replace the light bulbs in your environment with full spectrum light bulbs? That will help to simulate the colors available from sunlight instead of dull florescent light. I use them in my house. Second, are you eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and making water your primary beverage during the day? If your diet isn’t balanced and you are trying to live off of fast food or junk food, then you won’t have the energy you need to function at your best. Check out this article for guidance.
As for exercise, you can exercise in 10 or 15 minutes breaks during the day instead of trying to have a formal exercise program. Can you learn some short exercises like taking the stairs, running in place, jumping jacks or 10 minute routines from YouTube? There are solutions to your issue – you’ve got God-given creativity, so ask God in prayer to show you how you can get healthier in spite of the obstacles you face. This article may also help to inspire you: Sharpen your Ax: A Christian Weight Loss Success principle.