Are You A Nighttime Eater?
You think you are being so good:
You ate a high-protein yogurt for breakfast. You ate an apple at 11:00. Lunch was a salad with tuna- no mayo! Then you had a small power bar before your 5:30 boot-camp workout. Great! Now all you have to do is get through the rest of the night with a reasonable dinner and you will have put a great dieting day together…
Here is the problem.
Your strict adherence to a low calorie, low fat day, and your calorie-crushing boot-camp workout has left you vulnerable to nighttime eating.
This used to happen to me all the time. I would be so frustrated because I was so good all day only to blow it at night. You know the feeling, right? And you blame yourself and think you are just really weak. But you are not weak. Your body, in fact, is strong and trying to tell you something.
You need to eat more in the day.
From my experience as a manager at Nutrisystem, as a personal trainer, and as 25-year dieter, the biggest reason people binge at night is because they are “unsatisfied” by what they ate in the day, especially if they worked out.
And the reason this happens is that dieters fear over-eating and count their calories as the day goes on. They want to save some calories to eat at dinner, when they know they will be hungry, so they eat less than they truly hunger for during the day. This sets up a terrible cycle:
Under eating during the day, and over eating at night.
This cycle is born out of your Diet Mentality. But your Thin Mentality is different. You eat whenever you are hungry without considering what time it is, or how many calories you have already eaten. If you don’t eat when you are hungry you are not being “good,” you are disrespecting your body’s voice. You are not keeping a tally of what you are eating. You are, simply, listening to your body for true hunger.
This breaks that vicious under/over eating cycle that plagues dieters. How? Because when you have eaten with respect to your hunger during the day, your body won’t send you crazy cravings at night. Your body is calm, nourished and not afraid that you are starving.
When I broke this cycle by building my Thin Mentality and eating in response to hunger during the day, I feared that I would be eating way too much. But you know what? That is not what happened at all. When I answered true hunger when it came to me in the day, I was no longer motivated to “binge” at night. I know that this is hard to believe. You think you are just a “nighttime eater” or out of control or whatever. I thought I was too.
But as it turns out, once you start reconnecting eating and hunger, your body starts to trust you again, and provide the guidance, through hunger and cravings, to the amount and variety of food you need. Food and dieting is no longer a stressor in your life. Food and eating is a pleasure. As Mother Nature intended.