The Evening Snack Attack
Sometimes searching what puts weight on you will give you the answers to taking it off. Often it is a matter of habit. One of those habits is eating at night. Isn’t it easy to grab your favorite snack while watching TV? The mind is in total entertain me mode, it doesn’t want to think and engage, it wants to watch.
And while you feel the comfort and ease of watching you want to further the good feeling with food. This becomes a big part of the problem to losing weight. Your brain is chemically rewarding your activity. The pleasure chemicals are released reinforcing your behavior.
Our society embraces the “late-night happy hour” abandon. Think about night time activities and how the majority of them revolve around food and drink. You are bombarded with it from every direction. Become aware of it, and counter it. The process is very similar to buying a car. Whatever the make and model, you suddenly recognize the same make and model as yours on the street. Your awareness is sharpened. Time to sharpen your eating awareness.
The last thing your body needs before your 8 hour coma is more food or highly caloric drink. So how do you break the late evening eating habit?
1. The first rule is no food 3 hours before bedtime. This doesn’t mean stay up an additional 3 hours so as to not break the rule. You need your sleep for fat loss, which is a topic of discussion in a future article.
2. Create a good habit. If you keep the 3 hour rule for example during the week, and then on the weekend it’s party central….ain’t gonna work! Set the rule and stick to it through the weekend. It will take a few weeks and then become as second nature as eating a bowl of ice cream (used to be) watching TV. The new habit will feel normal and eating before bed will just plain feel wrong.
3. Try to do some stretching while watching TV. It will keep you semi preoccupied to get your mind off of food. Secondly, your brain will reward you for it with its pleasure chemicals because it feels good to your body. Stretching relaxes muscles and improves circulation. Stretching at night is beneficial in many ways. Stretching out those muscles that you’ve used all day long helps you both recover and sleep better. It will also help you not eat, since your focus is off of eating while you are engaging your muscles. Try a to learn some basic moves for stretching and then utilize them while watching your evening TV.
4. Make a deal with yourself. If you’ve broken rule #1 then make up for it by doing some additional work for each drink or hors d’ oeuvre you ate. Set this up in advance so you know the consequences. For each drink you will work 30 minutes on a project for example or you will jog in the morning before anything else. Make it doable.
5. Work out. Some folks can do this others can’t. It depends on you individually. If you can workout and be tired and ready for bed with your evening workout then schedule it in and make it the habit. If working out at night gives you energy and you can’t fall asleep then adapt accordingly. Experiment with it and find out. If you’ve eaten too much for dinner or had a heavy evening snack then try walking or some other form of exercise to aid digestion. Remember to keep the 3 hour rule.
6. Read. Would you believe that reading engages the brain expending energy, …meaning burns calories? Hey, every bit counts, right? It also makes time fly and it is harder to pig out on some fattening snack. It will also help to relax and tire you, preparing you for somber.
7. Get some Herbal Tea into your system. This is a great way to get a zero calorie drink that is good for you easily into your body. The sleepy teas have natural vitamins and minerals in them. This is your replacement evening snack. It will help your body to naturally start to shut down. TV doesn’t have to be a sedentary activity.
Try Nintiendo’s WII TV for good healthy fun. Or do some abs work during the commercials. Do as many reps as you can until your program returns.
I used to ride by stationary bike (or elliptical) while watching TV, not a bad practice. I also will do my martial arts stuff (blocks, kicks punches) while watching TV.
If you haven’t tried TAE BO, your missing out on a great workout. Once you learn the moves you can do it while watching TV.
Turning you night time TV buffet into a calorie burning event that will get you to your goals a lot faster in a more productive way.