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How do I stop eating at night??

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Old 01-09-2006, 02:11 AM   #1
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Default How do I stop eating at night??

I seem to do good all day! The last few days I've made it through to dinner time with about 700-900 calories, and planning to eat 300-600 at dinner to make my daily target of 1200-1500 calories total.

Then I sit down to dinner and do ok at dinner, saving myself about 100 calories for a snack (I adore 100 calorie snack packs!) later in the evening.

But by 8pm (We eat around 5:30 or 6:00) I start snacking, and can't stop!

How do I curb this?? Any advice?
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Old 01-09-2006, 04:17 AM   #2
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I completely understand your problem!! I used to have that problem too!

But brace yourself for a painful answer...

To me, the late-night snacking is simply a bad habit more so than anything else. I know this because I would snack even if I'm not hungry. I HATED the idea and feeling of going to bed without a 80-90% full stomach. It didn't feel right with me.

But I knew it was a detriment to my weight-loss. And it's not healthy for the digestive system.

So like any "addiction" I had to exercise self-discipline. Because my bedtime is typically midnight, I took a whiteboard out and drew a countdown line (almost like the Tickerlines you use in your signature) from 15 days to 1 day also known as Yay-Day! I wrote the title: "Days No Food after 9pm"

I took a magnetic pin and placed it on the number "15", the aim of course was to move the 15 down to 1.

The first couple of days was hard. I would move from "15" to "14" then when I caved in to my addiction, I'd break the cycle and had to re-start back to "15". But you'll get there...trust me! Once you get going and you hit day "10" it's easy-peasy because you're now motivated to keep going till yay-day! And like any other habit...once you get going, it's easy to keep the momentum.

Once you've completed your 15 days, you can re-start the cycle but this time set your cut-off time to 8pm, or even 8.30. You be the judge of what you can handle.

I hope this helps! I am now going to bed without head-cravings and it's a blessed freedom! Let us know how you're progressing.
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Old 01-09-2006, 05:56 AM   #3
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i think the answer depends on whether it is a habit as the other poster suggested or whether you are genuinely hungry. if you are hungry then you may need to look at your diet and change what you eat or the calories. But if it is habit or boredom then you will need to find something else to substitute, like doing a crossword. or save a mandarin or something small for after.

i know how hard it is. i am a late night eater too but if i force myself i can stop. the hard part is remembering to say "stop" rather than automatically eating LOL
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Old 01-09-2006, 10:14 AM   #4
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Just to throw something else into the mix, but if you do have a snack around 8ish (or whenever), you might want to make it something that will "stick" with you. Foods high in fiber or protein may be a better bet than snacks with less nutritive value. Think about eating fruit, or a slice of cheese, or even popcorn.

I snack in the evenings too, and it can still be a hard time for me -- though getting better as I try to distinguish real hunger from cravings or boredom. I do try to leave myself more cals for the evening (about 200). At your weight (which is very close to mine), you may be able to lose on more calories as sweet pea noted. I lose on about 1900 cals/day, so you might want to play around with the numbers.

The other thing I do a lot in winter is have a cup of low-cal hot chocolate. swiss miss makes one that's 25 cals/pkg (with extra calcium). It's warm, soothing and sweet enough to curb my cravings.

Good luck!
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Old 01-09-2006, 10:20 AM   #5
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I've always been an evening snacker. I just allow for it in my daily calorie counts. Ya know how folks talk about having 6 or 7 small meals throughout the day? Make one or two of them after dinner.
I second the protein thing. Every little meal should contain protein. Last night I nibbled a little more chicken had a yogurt and went to bed.
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Old 01-09-2006, 11:04 AM   #6
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I always eat at night. I just make sure I leave enough calorie room for whatever it is I want
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Old 01-09-2006, 11:49 AM   #7
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First, ask yourself if you're really hungry. Or is it head-hunger, boredom, or just plain habit? Second, DO SOMETHING ELSE. If you're watching TV (which I know is a "snack trigger" for a lot of people, including me), get up and do some housework. Read a book. Go out for a walk -- exercise is a great appetite stimulant. Or even, just go to bed! Do ANYTHING to get your mind off of it.

You could also try "weaning" yourself off of your nightime snacks. The first week, have a goal of only doing it 4 nights out of the week. The next week, do it only 3 times, etc. Eventually you should be able to stop doing it altogether. If it helps, keep a chart on the fridge showing the week and put a smiley face on the nights when you DON'T snack. You could even reward yourself one night a week with a snack if you make it through 6 consecutive nights without doing it.

Also, why not snack on carrots, a protein shake, low-fat string cheese, or fruit? That way you get the satisfaction of eating something but you don't get in too many extra calories.
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Old 01-09-2006, 12:39 PM   #8
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Night snacking for most people is emotionally driven - so while keeping yourself busy will help, sometimes the overwhelming urge to mindlessly eat is your mind's way of avoiding possibly feeling something negative. It could be a response to the normal stress of your day, or a way to avoid doing something you don't want to do (for me it's always those night time chores!). Whatever the reason, you need to spend some time really figuring out the emotion behind the urge you have to eat. Saying you are just bored isn't going deep enough. Once you figure out these emotions, you can engage yourself in other activties that will help take care of your emotional needs - instead of using food.
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Old 01-09-2006, 12:43 PM   #9
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I am a nighttime eater too.

In my case, I discovered that I was craving something that I didn't get during the rest of the day and that was hydration! For example, often I was having cereal, but what my body really wanted was the milk or some other fluid. Is it possible that what you are eating during the day is short is one area? Just what worked for me
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Old 01-09-2006, 12:44 PM   #10
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Thank you all for your advice!

I think since I tend to be lazy in the nighttime, maybe I will try going for a walk when I feel the urge to start eatting uncontrollably! Then if I get back and am still hungry, Maybe I'll try carrots or an apple, instead of chips and chocolate!
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Old 01-09-2006, 12:59 PM   #11
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I used to snack at night ALL the time. Lately, when I feel the urge to have something after dinner, I make smoothies. This works for me for 2 reasons: 1, I only used frozen fruit and skim milk and top with fat-free cool whip, so it doesn't completely blow my diet for the day, and 2, it takes some time to get out the ingredients, put it all in the blender, mix it up, pour it out, put everything away, clean the blender...so it takes time. And then, I eat the smoothie with a spoon like runny ice cream, so it takes longer to eat than if I just sucked it down, and by the time all that is done, I don't usually feel like going back into the kitchen!

Also, I know it can be hard depending on your living situation, but you should try to basically purge your kitchen of snack foods. I know for me, knowing something yummy is there will make me want to eat it whether I'm hungry or not (even if it's low-fat, low-cal, whatever...too much of anything is bad). At one point, I used to go into my kitchen for a snack, and I realized that I only had INGREDIENTS, nothing easy, so if I wasn't truly hungry, I wouldn't take the time to MAKE something, ya know?
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Old 01-09-2006, 02:58 PM   #12
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I am no expert but I also feel the need to "eat" after 8. I try to have a cup of green tea decaf if that doesn't work I have an apple w/ alittle peanut butter and that seems to always satisfy me hunger pangs..
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Old 01-10-2006, 12:08 AM   #13
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You didn't mention what you are eating during the day. It could the lack of balance in the foods you are eating that is causing you to overeat. Maybe you are eating too much processed foods when your body needs and wants real foods, especially fruits and vegetables. maybe instead of the 100 cal packs which is full of sugar and processed stuff, why not reach for an apple, banana or orange. Or maybe a huge bowl of lettuce, not the iceberg, but romaine, curly green and red leaf or a packaged salad with the dark green lettuces? Then put a small bowl of low fat dressing on the side and dip a fork into the dressing, then into the salad. You can eat a lot of lettuce for few calories. Lettuce, cos or romaine, raw - 1 head or 626 grams - 106 calories (nutritiondata.com). That is a lot of salad with lots of good minerals your body loves.

I know when I gave up processed foods and went to very simple foods my nightly junk food binges and hungers dropped dramatically. I still eat carbs - pita breads, shredded wheat and other carbs with about 9 oz of protein per day but have at least 3 pieces or more of fruit, a large salad and a large serving of vegetables per day.

Hope this helps.

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