how to stop snacking

  Consuming too much food at the end of a long day is a frequent roadblock for many people attempting to lose weight. You’re probably familiar with the scenario: you’ve been “good” all day and then come home and feel compelled to clean out the refrigerator. Or perhaps you choose an after-dinner treat to unwind — after all, you’ve worked a long day at the office — and one square of dark chocolate becomes an entire bar (or more). You are tortured and perplexed as to how that occurred.

The third justification is a little more challenging to understand. “The brain contains neurons that cause you to repeat habits,” Gomer explains. “It will compel us to consume food for non-hunger-related reasons, and once the floodgates open, we will be done.”

To add to the confusion, a recent study published in the International Journal of Obesity discovered that our hunger hormones—leptin, which makes us feel full, and ghrelin, which makes us feel hungry—are hardwiring us to eat more later in the day. Sigh.

According to scientists, night eaters consume more than half of their daily calories after 8 p.m. Numerous nighttime eaters could overcome their weight problems if they stopped eating at night. 

According to Kimberly Gomer, Pritikin’s director of nutrition, it’s critical to distinguish between bingeing and overeating. “Every now and then, we succumb to overeating. By contrast, binge eating occurs when an individual consumes an abnormally large amount of food in a short period of time. Binge eaters consume food more quickly than usual, until they reach an uncomfortably high level of satiety. Typically, they consume food alone and conceal it. They have been observed to have recurrent binges—at least once every three weeks for three weeks. It’s about an inability to control oneself, which manifests as shame.”

Whether you are excessively snacking after dinner or bingeing, these behaviors must be addressed, even more so if weight loss is a goal. Gomer discusses the most effective strategies she has found for overcoming evening eating and what to do if you do succumb. (After all, it is a location that we have all visited!)

The End of Post-Dinner Snacking

Enhance Your Planning Capability

The adage “failing to plan is planning to fail” could not be more true when developing a healthy eating pattern. “Prepare and stock food, and take care of yourself while eating it,” Gomer advises. “You want to avoid becoming overly hungry, as this will cause your body to crave more calorie-dense food to compensate for the sensation of hunger.”

Another item to schedule is when you eat out, Gomer suggests. “If you’re visiting a restaurant or a friend’s house, you should have a game plan in place. When you lack control, avoid appearing excessively hungry to the point of incapacitation.” That is one of the reasons Gomer established Pritikin’s “Dining Out” night. A member of the nutrition team takes guests to a local restaurant to practice ordering and mindfulness skills.

Take It Home

According to Gomer, establishing a hunger and satiety schedule is critical for ensuring that you consume enough calories throughout the day. “You’ll notice when you’re eating properly and in sufficient quantities to feel light and comfortable. Take the following into consideration: What gives you a sense of well-being? Does a salad encased in a bean wrap envelop and comfort you?

 Alternatively, an increase in protein intake may be necessary. Do you require a bowl of soup or a baked potato at 4:00 p.m.? It is subjective and is related to the amount of exercise and stress in one’s life.”

Gomer recommends using Pritikin’s hunger scale to determine when to eat — and when to stop. “You want to start with a three (I’m hungry) and finish with a six (I’m light and comfortable).”

Examine Evening Cravings Microscopically

  • Distinguishing hunger from “eating our emotions” is a necessary — if perplexing — ability to develop. Consider the following advice from Gomer: “The reason we crave foods high in salt, fat, You are hungry if you are hungry at 10 p.m. and crave a salad. If you develop a craving for something denser, such as pretzels, you are almost certainly not.”
  • Consider the Entire Picture
  • Apart from food, Gomer notes that other covert factors such as lack of sleep can contribute to overeating. Sleep, she argues, affects depression, anxiety, and our self-image.
  • Apart from adequate sleep, Gomer suggests the following tools for emotional management: All of these activities are beneficial: exercise (mainly walking), meditation, journaling, and conversation with a friend.

Negative Consequences Must Be Eliminated

  • As previously stated, one of the primary reasons that nighttime overeating has developed into a (bad) habit is that it has become a (bad) habit. “For instance, if you sit on the sofa and then relax with food every night, that is a habit, and you must break the chain and do something else,” Gomer explains. “Perhaps you’d like to ascend to the second floor and take a hot shower or go for a walk outside. Alternatively, sip a steaming cup of tea. The trick is to have a plan for the evening.”
  • “If you notice yourself repeating an action twice or three times in a row, take a moment to pause and break the habit.”
  •  “I advise my weight-loss clients to avoid snacking following dinner to assist them in breaking the habit. When you are able to break that habit, it is truly liberating and exciting.”

Increase Your Fruit and Vegetable Consumption

  • “If you’re dieting and live in a cold climate, have a vegetable soup for a good, hearty vegetable hit,” Gomer suggests. Vegetables are critical for weight loss due to their low-calorie content. It is still a mathematical exercise; you must create a deficit.”
  • Whatever the case, “If you find yourself in two consecutive situations of overeating, embrace yourself and forgive yourself,” Gomer advises. 

Recognize the Importance of Assistance

  • If you find yourself bingeing regularly, it’s probably time to seek professional help. “When we enter therapy,” Gomer explains, “we gain a better understanding of how our dysfunctional eating patterns affect our intake.” We ascertain what precipitates the behavior; is it the presence of a parent? What about a specific circumstance? It teaches you how to exert control over your mental processes.”
  • Gomer recommends group therapy if you are not yet ready for treatment. 

  Consuming too much food at the end of a long day is a frequent roadblock for many people attempting to lose weight. You’re probably familiar with the scenario:…

  Consuming too much food at the end of a long day is a frequent roadblock for many people attempting to lose weight. You’re probably familiar with the scenario:…

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