It's mostly because when you finally get home from work, you have all day behind you, you feel that you DESERVE to eat all the good stuff, and you have about 4-5 hours before hitting the bed. And what do you do? Reach for snacks.
Isn't it easier to avoid snacking in the morning and during the day than at night?
Excessive Snacking and Eating Food are Two Different Things
I've talked about some reasons why it may be hard to stop snacking here. Being hungry all day is one of the most common reasons why you can't stop eating at night–your willpower simply isn't stronger than your physical need, the need to eat. Being hungry is a normal thing.
[tweet_box design=”default”]Being hungry is a normal thing. [/tweet_box]
There are some silly “rules” out there that you're not supposed to be eating after 6pm if you want to lose weight, but in my opinion, this advice is nonsense. Many people don't get home until 8pm, does it mean that they should go to bed without any food if they had their lunch at 2? I don't think so.
So, you don't want to avoid eating a normal meal for dinner, but what you want to avoid is mindless snacking where you often even don't realize the amounts of foods that you're putting in your mouth.
21 Things To Do Instead of Snacking Your Night Away
After you've had a good dinner but you still can't stop snacking after that, there are many things you could do instead. Here are some you may want to try:
- Clean the house. Keeping myself busy with cleaning really keeps me away from snacking. Vacuuming, putting away things, doing the dishes.. you name it. The busier I am, the less likely I am to snack.
- Organize your drawers. Oh, that takes me forever! Whenever I open a drawer to put away my papers and throw away stuff that I don't need anymore, I really forget about everything else. I end up reading all the papers, browsing through the magazines etc. Last time I tried to organize my drawers I found my old training diary from high school. It was a super interesting read, plus I got some new (old?!) training ideas that I have to put in use again!
- Organize your closet. I'm pretty sure you have a bunch of suff you don't wear anymore. Clean up your closet, throw or give away stuff you don't need.
- Do the laundry. If you workout a lot (and I have feeling you do), you need to do a lot of laundry. Okay, we all have washing machines nowadays, but it still takes time. My washing machine is located in a common room downstairs in our apartment building, so I have to take it there, then come back upstairs, and after that, go and dry it, and come back again, and finally go get my dry clothes. I often do two loads, so it takes time and is distracting enough! Plus, with all that walking, I get a little bit of more exercise in than I would have otherwise.
- Color books. My friend gave me this super cute coloring book that I didn't believe could be that engaging. Really! The drawings in it are super fine, so coloring one picture takes a good half an hour. I seriously forget about eating while I'm working on the coloring book. If you wondered what's that picture above, then that's one of my masterpieces 🙂
- Cook. I'm all about quick and easy meals that come together in 15 minutes or so. But to be able to pull out ready-to-eat meals throughout the week, I have to be ready, so I meal prep quite a bit. Keep in mind though that we're talking about ways to stay away from snacking, so be aware of how much you taste all of the great things you make! I tend to snack quite a bit when I'm cooking, so it's a good idea for me to put a handful of veggies and fruits on a separate plate and snack on those, not the other stuff.
- Get outside. An evening walk is super calming, and especially useful before the bed. Listen to a podcast or some music, or sometimes it's even better not to listen anything at all. But, be careful having your earplugs on at the night time when it's getting dark, especially if you're walking alone!
- Work out. You simply can't eat while you're working out, right 🙂 Working out is always a good idea. You probably don't want to go and do an outdoor workout when it's pitch black there, but you can always do a simple workout at home.
- Foam roll and stretch. These two are uncomfortable and painful enough so candy and popcorn won't even cross your mind. Besides, they really help you with mobility and flexibility, making you a better athlete.
- Take a shower or bath. Long and hot! Hot shower relaxes you and calms your mind. But now as the days have been warmer again, I've been really liking cold showers too.
- Read. Read blog, newspapers, books, whatever you like. Cookbooks may not be the best idea though. I've noticed that the more I read and look at food pictures, the snackier I get, so that really doesn't serve the purpose. But other books are always a great idea! I have a long list of books I want to read, and it's not getting shorter but longer all the time. I would be concerned if it would be the other way.
- Write. If you have a blog, write a new blog post. If you don't, write an email to your mom, sister, friends… Writing an email to someone you care about makes them really happy. My sister is a great writer and I truly enjoy getting her emails, so I try to get back to her as often as I can. We live too far from each other… And don't think that you're not a writer. It doesn't matter how good or bad you are. Just write. No one is judging you.
- Watch a movie. Netflix is full of good movies! I should actually create a list of movies I want to watch, because every time I decide that NOW I'm going to watch something, I spend at least 30 minutes on browsing through movies and trying to make up my mind.
- Give yourself manicure or facial. Those things feel just fantastic! While you're slathering mask on your face or waiting your nails to dry, you just can't eat. And you don't even want to, because that just feels so much better than eating.
- Make a cup of tea. That's a great thing to accompany with reading.
- Chat with your spouse. If you haven't seen each other all day, use that time to catch up. Try not to do it over ice cream or pizza though. Tea works well here too.
- Meditate. Meditating helped me to get control over my crazy eating, and I think it will help you too.
- Call someone. My family is far from me and when it's night here, it's morning over there. So that may not always work. But if you don't have that problem, give your friend a call and chat about anything and everything. We don't do it often enough anyway, right?
- Plan your next day's workout. Sometimes I tend to spend a little too much time in the morning standing in front of my home gym and trying to figure out what should I take outside with me and train with. Putting a plan together for the next day saves you from snacking and also saves you time the next day.
- Plan your next vacation. That's always fun, isn't it? We all love vacations. Search the web, find good deals for flights and hotels, see what's there to do.
- Go to bed early. Most of us could and should hit the sack way earlier than we actually do. Not only you avoid night time eating, you also wake up rested and ready for the next day.
That's it! I personally find that the more active I am, the better I can avoid snacking, so doing laundry, organizing the drawers and doing the dishes help me the best. But reading a great book that you just can't put down is a great way to distract yourself.
What are some of your ways to stay away from night time snacking? Let me know!