Raiding the refrigerator or the kitchen cupboards in search of a night time snack is in the long run a recipe for disaster leading to the pounds piling on, sleepless nights, indigestion and a host of other health issues…
Scenario 1: You are alone at home surfing the net or watching some re-runs on television. Accessing Facebook or Instagram and images of exotic holidays of friends’, parties, destination weddings and what you perceive is an enviable lifestyle could make you head to the fridge and reach out for that tub of ice cream, biscuits, leftover pizza or a sugary drink – any comfort food!
Scenario 2: A person on a stringent diet, counting calories through the day, might just crumble once everybody else is tucked into bed. Sheer hunger could drive one to reach out for a bag of crisps, a large sugary drink and forbidden desserts!
Scenario 3: A student sitting up at night preparing for an examination or trying hard to complete assignments is tempted to reach out for unhealthy snacks as a means of keeping boredom, sleep or feelings of inadequacy at bay
Scenarios 1 & 3 are examples of people using food to meet a need that is not necessarily hunger. Otherwise it is hunger that causes the binging.
Here are some simple ways to avoid night-time binging:
- Clear your fridge and kitchen of all high calorie food: It’s quite amazing how banishing all tempting food like pizzas, burgers, cheese, ice cream, chocolates, biscuits and sugary snacks from your home can reduce night time or even daytime binging.
- Stock healthy snacks: In case one is inclined to snack, it is better to do so on healthy stuff like fruit, nuts, cottage cheese, berries and yoghurt.
- Identify the cause: If you can identify the triggers that cause the binging, it helps deal with the problem. This could help break the cycle of emotional eating.
- Keep busy: In order to avoid night-time snacking, it is advisable to keep the evenings busy with classes, activities with friends, movies, etc. It is incredible how little one thinks of food when one is caught up in a whirl of activity!
- Have a proper routine: A three meals a day plan along with the right amount of exercise can very easily conquer the problem of night-time binging.
- Avoid sleeping in the day: If you do feel the need for a siesta, make sure it does not exceed half an hour. Too much sleep in the day can keep you wide awake till late at night, hence a greater temptation to reach out for food!
- Make the right food choices: Balanced meals with the right balance of carbohydrates, proteins, vegetables and fruit can address immediately the problem of night-time binging. If one has had sensible meals, it is very rare to want to snack at night. It is advisable to follow diet plans that do not starve you.
- Go for a high-protein diet: A diet which is rich in proteins is proven to keep one satiated. Some protein-rich foods are eggs, oats, chicken, meat, fish, cottage cheese, milk, yoghurt, broccoli, quinoa, lentils, pumpkin seeds and peanuts.
- Destress: Stress can lead to seeking solace in food. Using food to curb emotions is a very bad idea. Introduce meditation, yoga, long walks and breathing techniques into your daily routine; these will help you to cope with stress better.
- Get professional help/Have an emotional network: In very extreme cases of night-time eating and binging, it is advisable to seek professional help. Better still could be to confide in good friends or relations who could provide you with emotional support. Reach out to them instead of reaching out for junk food!!