It’s safe to say we all know that feeling; It’s 10pm and all we want to do is run to the fridge, grab the first snack we see and wolf it down as fast as we can. Whether it be a yogurt, an ice cream, or a whole block of cheese–we don’t judge. This is a common practice among all of us, the urge to snack late at night.
Now, we know that late night snacking can result in weight gain. This is because the metabolism slows way down in times of being sedentary. So it’s not a good idea to go to the kitchen for a splurge meal when the clock is well past dinnertime. But, why do we want to even if we know we shouldn’t? What about this forbidden snack time makes us want it so badly?
Let’s take a look at why late night ‘cheating’ is such a common problem, and how we can work to curb it.
Why We Get Hungry at Night
There are a number of reasons why we get hungry at night, as opposed to during the day. Most of them depend on your work life, and how you spend your days. For the vast majority of us, we spend our days going to the gym, going to work, going to school, etc,. During this time we are in a state where our focus and attention is on accomplishing tasks throughout the day. This can contribute to a reduced feeling of hunger.
Another factor of reduced hunger is likely stress. For a lot of us, our studies or work day can be filled with increased levels of stress. This results in a reduced appetite, and thus less urge to eat a larger lunch or even dinner occasionally.
Now these are just basic examples. There are other cases where lack of hunger can be associated with other conditions, but these are more rare and not the norm for most of us. The fact is, for the overwhelming majority, we simply don’t have the time, energy, or thought capacity to eat properly during the day while we are going about the hustle and bustle of our lives.
So, how does this end up for us? Well, it results in the body craving a stockpile of energy stores because it isn’t sure when it will get another proper meal again. When you calm down and prepare for the evening, your body wants to take that time to horde as many calories as possible. Thus, the urge to hit the fridge and go wild.
So, now that we have a basic understanding of the why, we should look at how to curb this.
How To Avoid ‘Night Cheating’ On Meals
The simplest way to avoid binge eating at night, is to simply focus on having a more balanced lunch and dinner. This helps to get your body in a sense of rhythm where it doesn’t have to concern itself over caloric intake, and won’t be as hungry in the evening. However, a good portion of this habit is… Well… A habit.
Habits can be very tough to break once they are formed. Once you get into a set daily routine it can be almost mindless to continue doing it. So, it isn’t a bad idea to try and build new habits. This doesn’t mean you have to starve yourself at night. However, you can replace the massive evening snack with something more manageable.
Try switching the cheat foods to something more healthy. Fruits and veggies can be a nice evening snack that won’t blow your diet out of proportion. You can also snack on some nuts or dried fruits to give yourself that sensation of an unhealthy snack, without being unhealthy.
Ultimately it’s all about focusing on your daily eating habits, and how you can get yourself into something where your body doesn’t feel the need to go overboard as soon as the day winds down.
At Unit Fitness in Saddleworth, we have a team of excellent PTs who know all about nutrition and proper dietary habit development. We can help you kick the night cheating desires, and replace them with a more healthy way to manage your caloric intake. Reach out today to learn more about what we can offer you!