Stop snacking for good
If you're guilty of nipping downstairs for the occasional midnight feast, you're not alone. We’ve all done it - a pack of crisps here, a sausage roll there...no harm done, right?
The occasional snack won’t upset your diet or exercise regime too much but it might indicate an underlying problem with your diet during the day. If you aren't eating right during the day, your mind and body could turn to the cupboard at night.
Of course, this is all negligible if you're snacking on healthy options, like low calorie bars, yogurts or hummus, but it's still important to watch what you eat. If your calorie intake during the day is around 1,800 to 2,000, eating a 500-calorie snack after hours could ruin all of your hard work.
Why do we snack?
There are a number of reasons why we snack, such as boredom, bad habit and emotional eating.
When it comes to boredom, it's easy to grab some comfort food while watching a late night movie or TV show. You might have slipped into the habit of opening the fridge door and seeing all manner of delicious foods. Habit is a vicious temptress but one that needs to be curbed in order to achieve weight loss goals.
Emotional eating happens when a person is attempting to curb anxiety, nervousness or concern through eating. Think of the age old cliché of a woman tucking into a tub of ice cream after a particularly painful break-up - that's emotional eating. It can also potentially occur in stressful moments in life such as job loss, moving or illness.
If you're snacking because you’re actually hungry, it's much better to opt for healthy snacks rather than processed, calorie-laden foods as the latter could end in unhealthy weight gain.
How to stop snacking
Swapping a bad habit for a good one is an easy way to give midnight snacking the boot. For example, instead of hearing the clock strike midnight and racing to the fridge, how about attempting something constructive like updating your diary or reading a chapter of a book?
Also, make sure you're eating enough of the right stuff during the day so you don't get hungry at night. One of the most common causes of midnight snacking is eating the wrong foods during the daytime, so instead of a greasy fry-up for breakfast and a pizza for lunch, how about scrambled egg on granary bread for the morning and a three bean salad for lunch? Foods high in protein and fibre can fill you up for longer and help you resist the urge to snack.
Remove temptation. Banning unhealthy foods from your home frees you from the shackles of snacking. Willpower is one of our best friends when it comes to dieting and exercising, so why not apply the same strict method when it comes to midnight snacking?
And finally, remember that a midnight treat should be exactly that - a treat, a one-off, a special occasion. Use them wisely to reward yourself for a great workout.