Many dieters and people struggling to live a healthier lifestyle stick to their plan during the day, but cave in to nighttime noshing. In the extreme this has been labeled as NES (Night Eating Syndrome), which affects up to 6% of people seeking treatment for obesity. But it is very common for people get the munchies in the evening.
The reasons we reach for snacks in the evening are varied. They could include boredom, habit or seeking comfort. Another possible reason has to do with flagging energy levels. When you don’t eat enough for breakfast and earlier in the day, then your energy levels will be low.
Low energy levels lead to an increase in cravings, especially for carbohydrates, the quick fix for an energy boost. When you allow yourself to get too hungry, it can become very difficult to stop eating once you start.
Many find it difficult to eat healthy and avoid high calorie snack at night. One suggestion is to stop eating at 6 or 7 p.m. This plan is bound to fail if you have not eaten a good breakfast as well as healthy snacks and meals throughout the day. On the other hand, if you give your body what it needs for fuel, then it is easier to resist cravings.
To manage nighttime noshing consider the following:
Deal with the feelings or triggers that contribute to your cravings.
If you are eating out of boredom, sadness or anxiety, then find out what you need in order to address those feelings without food.
Start with a healthy breakfast and eat regularly.
Check your schedule and allow yourself time to enjoy eating early in the day. If you run yourself ragged during the day and don’t allow yourself to heed your natural hunger signals, you are going to be ravenous at night.
Eat balanced meals
Notice what you are eating. Eating too many carbohydrate during the day can set a pattern for craving more of the same at night.
Reduce your stress level
Walking, meditating, or making sure you have down time are all ways to reduce your stress. Less stress means less need to comfort yourself with food.
It is okay to snack at night. In fact giving yourself permission to enjoy a snack at night can remove the guilt and shame that sometimes accompanies nighttime noshing. When you manage your munchies by eating enough calories during the day in the form of balanced meals and snacks, reducing your stress level and dealing with emotional trigger; then you will be in a better position to snack without overdoing it.