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  • Writer's pictureAngela Hancock

Is late night snacking sabotaging your journey to health?

What’s the worst time of the day for you in terms of sticking to your healthy eating regime? For me, it’s always been in the evening … that time after dinner, generally around 9pm when I may not really be “hungry” but I want something and the kitchen just seems to be calling me …. It’s usually after I’ve had a really “good” day, where I’ve made healthy choices, stayed focussed and kept my goals in mind, but for some reason, the pull of the kitchen seems so strong. In the past, I’d find myself having “one” biscuit, feeling really guilty for being “bad” and then end up binging because I’d ruined the day anyway … can you relate?

This phenomenon used to de-rail my “good” days on such a regular basis until I found my nutritional system and I wondered why there was such a difference in my evening eating habits now. Don’t get me wrong, there are still times when I’ll sit and eat in front of the TV or comfort eat or eat just for pleasure, but the difference is, now it's on my terms, without guilt and I'm in control. I no longer end up acting like the “Cookie Monster” and feeling guilty for binging. I look forward to my evenings, rather than feeling a sense of dread as the day edges on ... if you can relate, here’s what I discovered. Not enough protein I wasn’t eating enough protein during the day: this very important macro sends satiety signals to the brain and if you don’t eat enough of it, your body will keep sending signals telling you to eat more, so I always make sure that I hit my protein requirements every day. As a rough guide, researchers suggest that you should be aiming to eat about 1g of protein per kg of body weight to maintain lean muscle.

Not eating a big enough dinner Do you have days where you are too busy to really focus on what you’re eating? Between meetings, school runs, life in general, you just pick through the day so that when it comes to dinner, you are not really hungry. Then you end up picking at your dinner, which leads to more “picking” later in the evening. Now, if I have a very busy day, I always carry healthy (protein based) snacks and a meal replacement bar with me.

Dehydration It’s really important to stay hydrated! Thirst often disguises itself as hunger, so being conscious of the amount of water I drink during the day helps me to be open to the possibility that I am actually thirsty. If you don't think you should be hungry, drink a glass of water before reaching for the biscuit tin and wait about 10 minutes before deciding whether or not to eat. Not sure how much water you should be drinking? A common and easy to remember guideline is 8 x 8, eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day - more if you are active or larger framed than average.

Early dinner On days when I have an earlier dinner, I do usually feel hungry later in the evening, so I will factor in a healthy something to my daily regime. When it’s planned, the guilt that I would have felt for snacking after dinner is gone. Therefore, if you know you are going to be eating dinner early, plan a healthy, protein based treat for when that hunger hits. I have lots of yummy recipes for sweet and savoury treats to enjoy.

Staying up too late I often stay up later than necessary working (because I love what I do), but on things that I could do in the morning. I made it a habit to go to bed at a reasonable time every day which prevented me from raiding the cupboards at silly o’clock in the night, and also helped to prevent me from overeating the wrong types of food the next day because my body was craving sugar to keep going … but that’s another post! Feel free to reach out if you would like any more information on any of the above! #teambustarut #bustarut #nomoremunchies #midnightsnacking #latenightsnacking #lifestyle #notadiet #healthtips

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