Do you ever hit Netflix O'Clock & suddenly you're overwhelmed by the desire to eat the contents of your refrigerator and pantry? Then this episode is for you! I'm asking you to ask yourself six simple but powerful questions about your daily habits that may just help you cure your nighttime snacking (or at least make it more within your control!)
I'm speaking from experience here - I used to be one of those people! These are 6 tried & true reflections that both myself and my clients have incorporated to help bring awareness to what we're consuming throughout the day, ultimately leading us to crave - or not crave - night time snacks.
The first step to making positive changes in your life is becoming aware. Let the following six questions be your guide (not rule book!) to mindfulness around your food choices! If you want, you can start a food journal, you can record them in your daily journal, or simply read and reflect on them in your mind throughout the day.
1. What do I eat all day?
Maybe you want to make a list here! You could try a little bit of food journaling, if you want (more on that here). But, the bottom line is you want to bring awareness to the quality of the nutrients you are giving yourself! Are you including enough protein, fiber, and healthy fats? Are you eating enough? Is the food that you eat satisfying?
Depending on what you are fueling yourself with, your body may or may not get to the end of the day and still be asking for more fuel. If you're giving yourself very refined carbs, foods with little nutrients or protein, you're going to hear your body calling for more fuel later on in the day.
2. How much water am I drinking?
This one is plain and simple: if you are not hydrating yourself, you are going to feel that in your hunger needs and cravings at the end of the day. Simple ways to make sure you're getting enough water:
Just notice: are you refilling your water bottle throughout the day? (If you don't have a reusable water bottle, get one!)
Are you drinking water before, during, and after your meals?
Starting to feel a little bit tired or cranky during the day? Slam a big glass of water and see if that helps!
3. How early or late is dinner? / How are my meal times spaced out?
I am not trying to advocate for any "optimal" timed eating schedule -- there's no one-size fits all time schedule for eating, of course! This one is more about drawing an awareness to how much time you have between meals, and is there a greater gap between breakfast & lunch compared to lunch & dinner or vice versa?
You could be an early dinner person, meaning dinner is closer to lunch, but that leaves you with a longer gap between dinner and bed time (plenty of time for your body to digest & start craving a little snack at bedtime!)
I absolutely love this tip that some of my clients have been doing:
Make an early dinner and only eat about 3/4 of what they normally would at that time. Save the rest for later on, replacing that bedtime snack!
So they are still eating the same amount, just spreading it out to ensure they are not ending up in the cookie jar later on. This is great if you have the flexibility to make an early dinner. Not only are you honestly saving food waste but you are savoring that delicious, nutritious meal that you put so much effort into making (or spent the money to pick up), but you're avoiding that unhealthy snack.
4. How do I honor my cravings?
Sometimes your body wants something, and sometimes you can honor that craving and that's that. Maybe your body wants a tiny bit of chocolate, and you grab a small cookie and move on with your day. OR, you might be someone who grabs a small cookie and ends up eating the whole box (I'd say most people are the latter!).
There are some great ways to honor your body's cravings without over-indulging, and one of my favorite ways to do that is simply to ensure you are offering your body balance. So, maybe you give yourself a few pieces of chocolate but being mindful to balance it out with a handful of cashews and a couple strawberries!
You've got a combination of nutrients, a bigger snack, you're still honoring your craving, but you are putting that less nutritious food in balance with other, healthy options.
5. Am I in control of what is in my home?
Okay, a little bit of tough love here. What are you buying and storing in your pantry? The bottom line here, is that if it's not there, you can't eat it. So let's find ways to be in control of what we store, and how we store it!
I'm not one to say never keep cookies or chocolate or whatever your sneaky bed time favorite is, I for one keep all of these things around! But, maybe, you could reconsider the location you store it. Maybe it's a separate cupboard, shelf, or just putting it behind other, healthier options. The minute you see that snack, your body will start craving it. Maybe stick it behind the hummus and the whole grain crackers?
This one is about being in control, making mindful decisions about what you buy, when you buy it (do you still have half a bag of potato chips, do you really need to buy a full one yet?) so that you actually have control over your cravings, rather than letting them control you!
6. Do I need to go to bed?
Food is fuel. Food is energy! When our body starts craving fuel & energy, do you think that maybe it's possible that it's simply tired and actually needs SLEEP? This is about making the conscious decision as to what option is going to better serve your health. I'm not saying go take a nap every time you feel hungry, I'm saying, ask yourself: what does my body actually need at this moment?
For more on Food Journaling, see this blog post: https://www.bewellwithsteph.com/post/foodtracking
Find my "Combating Cravings" mini-workshop & other topics here: http://www.bewellwithsteph.com/workshops
Want to talk about working on nutrition, eating, and healthy habits 1:1? Schedule a free Discovery Call! http://www.bewellwithsteph.com/workwithme
If you are looking for a little more support in the area of combating cravings, managing them when they come up, or shifting your mindset around fun/treat foods, I would love to be there for you! Reach out to me on any platform that works for you.
Prefer to listen to this topic? You can, here!
(I elaborate a lot more on some of these important, ideas, too.)
Will you be reflecting on any of these questions?! I want to know if they were helpful to you. Let me know in the comments! ♡
You are worthy of living and capable of creating a healthy lifestyle you love. 🤍