If you’re anything like me, human, then there will have been plenty of times you’d been burning the candle at both ends then before you know it you’re opening the fridge thinking ‘now, where did I put that chocolate?’.
How do I stop late night snacking is a massive question that we seem to ask a lot, I mean, we know we are doing it but even that doesn’t stop us even that old saying ‘a moment on the lips a lifetime on the hips’ doesn’t help either. (Yes I did once write this on my fridge door, full disclosure).
How do we actually stop late night snacking then?
The first thing we need to look at is what is the reason you’re actually snacking, usually it is down to one of three things.
- Lack of nutrients, hydration or calories during the day.
- Increased stress levels.
- Increased build up of a sleep deficit.
Not Eating Or Drinking Enough During The Day.
I know what you’re thinking, I am trying to lose weight, how will eating more in the day mean I eat less at night, if it’s due to higher stress and lowered sleep levels then we need to address those also, which will happen later in this article, but making sure you’re getting enough in during the daytime will allow your blood sugar levels not to be all over the place making your body crave a hell of a lot of rubbish.
This is one of the reasons I like to make sure if a client or someone I am advising does want to do a nutrition protocol such as intermittent fasting (where you have a certain window of eating and a longer window of not eating) does jump straight in without looking at other stress management protocols in their life first especially if they want to jump into the 20 hours of fasting with a 4 hour eating window which longer term could lead to higher craving levels if trigger foods and nutrient value isn’t taken into account.
If someone wants to eat less during the day to save calories for the evening that is fine but it cannot be an excuse just to eat a load of junk food, we still have to get the food our body will actually utilise and give it the best chance of being able to thrive.
It’s all good looking to have a long fast for a once off real low quality meal but long term it is like trying to buy a car with lottery money, it isn’t going to get you very far.
Get your food in throughout the day and log it somewhere such as My Fitness Pal to see how much real nutrition you’re getting in which will then allow your body to lower it’s stress levels and allow you to get rid of those late night cravings for good.
You Are Eating Because You’re Stressed
Stress is one of the biggest reasons we overeat, we boost cortisol levels with extreme stress and they stay boosted meaning the body then wants to find a way to lower them and boost the antagonistic hormone serotonin to chill us out a bit more.
It does this usually by craving foods which we believe help boost serotonin, or what we believe make us feel good ‘comfort foods’, chocolate, candy, foods we ate a lot of when we were children and round our grandparents are usually a big one here too.
The problem here is that these foods aren’t the ones which actually could boost serotonin effectively and help us relax, things such as salmon, nuts, eggs, cheese, turkey all have something called tryptophan which is a precursor to serotonin for the body to increase it’s levels.
Write A Stress Diary
Next we need to look at stress levels, first thing can be not getting enough sleep, we will get to that in a moment.
But I like to check in with people’s levels of stress as an individual, a stress diary listing the three biggest things which are stressing them out that day, the reason why and the one biggest thing they can implement in order to alleviate this stress even a small amount that day.
Once we know what is stressing us out we can take action to lower the levels, ironically one of the biggest things that stresses high achievers out is when things are not actually written down, that old ‘i’ll add it to the list’ (which doesn’t exist) and actually making these lists each day has helped hundreds of clients I have worked with around the world.
Can I Take Supplements?
There is supplementation you could take for lowering stress and helping you relax however in order to advise the correct levels I don’t feel this would be responsible on an article which is put out for multiple people.
I do this on a 1-1 basis with my clients I work with online as every single person is different and we have used supplementation such as 5-htp, melatonin, tryptophan, magnesium, zinc, b vitamins and a few others to great success at differing levels throughout.
How Much Do I Need To Sleep?
Stress management happens mostly when we are doing the hardest thing we find time to do as a high achiever, sleep.
We get lowered levels because there’s something we always need to complete, we are in a digital world where we can wake earlier and binge watch Netflix to make sure we don’t get FOMO (fear of missing out) which then means that yes, we’re caught up on the latest season of Suits and won’t miss out on Harvey Specter’s latest boss moment but we will be higher on the stress spectrum through lowered levels.
Truth is that studies have shown if we sleep for 6 hours or less for even just 2 weeks we could risk lowering our testosterone levels by over 10%, that is the equivalent of aging us by 10 years in 14 days.
This also means we aren’t as ready to take on the day following our lowered level of sleep and stress will impact us more, we get to the end of the evening and, boom, ‘can’t keep my hand, my hand, my hand out the cookie jar’ (Gym Class Heroes if you were about to search on Apple Music).
I would recommend getting a good night time routine, turning off technology and reading a book, meditating, journalling or just doing some breathing exercises before bed, around 60-90 minutes at least in order to wind down and lower your stress levels to get the most rejuvenating sleep which will set you up to stop all that late night snacking in the future.
I guarantee that if you start to fuel your body with actual real things it can utilise, real things it can use to lower stress, start giving back to it then you will first off not just lower the late night cravings but you will get them to stop, your control will be back in your hands. Also, a cool side effect is it makes fat loss so easy. Want to get started? Drop me a message now.