Many people find that they are ferociously hungry at certain times of the day. They can even sabotage their dieting efforts by falling off the wagon at these times. It can be a different time for different people: for some it’s mid afternoon, others it’s just before dinner, or it can be evening eating for others. You need to determine if you’re falling prey to this dieting disaster and make changes to account for it. There are a few strategies that you can employ to help you with those ‘snack attacks’!
Late night eating – Often times the problem is that you may not be eating at the appropriate times. Many have NO appetite early in the day and as the day grows, so does the appetite. You end up eating late at night and then go to bed stuffed. No wonder you aren’t hungry first thing in the morning. You need to change this so that you’re most hungry early in the day. You can do this by slowly adding more calories earlier in the day and resist the temptation to gorge later in the evening. You may have to go to bed hungry at first until your system gets turned around. Basically, your body needs to know that food is available in a steady supply. If your body knows that food is plentiful, then the metabolism will remain revved up and you’ll be less likely to store any ingested calories as fat in case of ‘famine’.
Add a snack! – Believe it or not, snacking is good. It reminds your body that there’s a steady supply of food and your body will be happy to burn those calories rather than save them (store them as fat). It’s best to have snacks between meals during the day as this will curb your appetite so that when you do have a meal, you don’t overeat. Those of you that are starving right before supper for example, need to add a substantial mid afternoon snack. Make sure that your snacks are nutritionally dense. Those calories need to contribute to your overall nutrition rather than provide nothing more than sugar or sodium. Mindless snacking needs to be a thing of the past. If you plan your snacks you will be more likely to think about nutrition and portions. It’s that feeling of when you get so hungry that you will eat nearly anything that you’re trying to avoid. You will easily overeat when you get to this stage.
Slow down – Your belly is a little slow in telling your head that you’ve had enough. It takes a full 20 minutes for the brain to recognize signals of satiation. If you slow down your eating, whether it’s a snack or a meal, you’ll be more likely to stop eating sooner if you eat slowly and chew food fully. Make eating a deliberate act, not something that you do while watching television or driving. These distractions cause a ‘disconnect’ between your belly and brain. It’s important to listen to your body’s signals and follow them closely; your body will give you all the information you need if you pay attention to it.
Too many carbs – At meals or snacks, you need to ensure that you’re having a balance between carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats. If all you eat is carbohydrates, you’re likely to get a blood sugar spike and then blood sugar will dip as will energy levels. If you have a bit of protein and healthy fat with your carbohydrate, this will slow down absorption and you’ll get a steady release of energy with no subsequent dip in blood sugar. In addition, reach for complex carbohydrate to further slow down absorption and lasting energy.
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