Perhaps you find the start of your day runs pretty smoothly, in terms of making healthy choices, and controlling portion sizes. But, it’s later in the evening, when you start to feel like things are going downhill, and you begin to crave “unhealthy” foods.
What is the solution to this extremely common problem?
You may be surprised that it’s often a matter of eating more throughout the day, rather than blaming it on your “non-existent” willing power.
These actions backfire, however, and it is much more likely to lead to extreme hunger later in the day, overeating, and more feelings of quilt and hopelessness.
How To Stop Overeating
1. Calculate Your Energy Requirements
I am not a huge fan of counting calories day in day out.
However, as a one-off, it can be very useful to work out roughly how many calories you need each day, then calculate a normal days food intake. That will help you to see clearly how you are meeting your energy requirements.
If you are consistently eating less than your body needs, that will be a major reason for overeating later in the day. Your body is simply craving more calories, but you are mistaking this for a lack of willpower.
You can use this BMR Calculator to work out how many calories are needed each day. And, then use Calorie Count, to estimate your daily calorie intake, and also check if you are missing out on any important nutrients, such as protein, calcium, or iron, etc.
Once you see how things really are for you, you will have a clearer idea of what you need to do to make it better.
2. Eat Regularly
This is advice you’ve heard before — but it is so important.
You must eat at regular times, to avoid that extreme hunger, which leads to overeating. This is your first line of defence against overdoing things, and for many of you, it is all you need to do to get this under control.
If you find you aren’t hungry when you wake up, that may be a clue you are overeating late at night.
What you need to do is avoid eating two to three hours before you go to bed. You should then be hungry first thing in the morning, and ready for a healthy breakfast.
Under no circumstances should you skip breakfast, lunch or dinner. That is absolutely essential to your well being, the normal functioning of your body, and to strengthen your ability to avoid overeating at night.
3. Focus On A Healthy Diet
Lean protein sources are extremely important for making you feel more satisfied, and therefore fuller for longer.
Try to eat a little protein with each meal and snack. For example, eggs for breakfast, legume soup at lunch, salmon at dinner, with snacks of nuts, vegetables and hummus, and yogurt or cottage cheese, etc.
Whole grains, like oatmeal and brown rice, are also important. Try to eat lots of vegetables, particularly leafy greens, and a little fruit each day. Also, don’t forget to drink lots of water.
When your diet is mostly healthy, i.e. you avoid soft drinks, highly processed and fast foods, you will find your cravings for these types of foods eventually disappears.
Cutting these foods and drinks from your diet will allow your taste buds to re-adjust, and help you to get a grip on food cravings.
So, what are your tips on how to stop overeating at night?