One of my goals for this month is to get a handle of my night time snacking. Every night, 9 pm rolls around, I look at the clock and notice the time and magically I’m hungry for my night time snack. Night time snacks don’t have to be a bad thing. When I had gestational diabetes, they were actually a good thing. Having a protein-heavy snack right before bed made my blood sugar the next morning a lot better. However, I’m not diabetic anymore so I don’t really NEED that snack. More importantly, it’s become a habit and if I want to eat more mindfully, it’s a habit I need to drop. It’s also a time when I notice that I tend eat more than I should (even if they are healthy snacks) just because I have the calories in my daily allotment, not because I’m really hungry. With my overall goal for the year of getting to healthier relationship with food, I need to get the night time snacking in hand because it’s food for the wrong reasons.
I’ve been without my bedtime snack now since June 1st and it gets easier every day. Yesterday was a little stressful at work and my husband was out of the house, so the combo of no witnesses and a busy day made me think about the snack a bit more but the urge definitely wasn’t as strong as it was the past. Some of the things I’ve done to make this a little easier:
– I told Darrell so that a) he wouldn’t remind me it was snack time and b) I had an extra layer of accountability. Having an accountability partner can be a huge help when you’re trying to change a habit, whether it is someone you’re physically seeing every day or someone you check in with online/on the phone/some other way.
– I started having my small bite of something sweet after dinner instead of at 9 pm. That served two purposes for me: 1) it is my signal that I’m done for the day, since I’m used to that last sweet thing at the end of the day and 2) it actually ends up being a smaller sweet treat because I’m still pretty full from dinner.
– I have a cup of tea or decaf coffee (or a small glass of wine) if I’m struggling with the urge at that old familiar time. Just having something to look forward to, a new healthier habit, is a nice distraction and should help to shift my focus a bit. I also tend to save my push ups/planks/other little body weight exercises for that time so I have a physical distraction as well.
– I give myself the safe “out” of having a healthy snack option. Deprivation is never a good thing if you’re truly hungry, so I certainly don’t want to ignore it if I somehow really am hungry at 9 pm. Thus, I gave myself the option of having veggies if I want a snack after dinner. It’s amazing how readily I decide I’m NOT hungry when I’m looking at having a salad.
– Go to sleep! This month, it’s sort of perfect that I’m also working on shutting down electronically earlier in the evening so that I can get more sleep. If it is 9 pm and I can’t play on the iPhone or have my snack, I might as well go to sleep, right? Wins all around!
Other tips I’ve run across are brushing your teeth (never worked for me as a deterrent), going for a walk (kid isn’t old enough to leave alone yet, but my push ups serve as a similar purpose), and eating more earlier in the day so you’re not as hungry. When I was on Weight Watchers, I would actually pre-track my bedtime snack first thing in the morning so I was sure to leave “room” for it in my points.
Other tips to check out: