7 Tried And Tested Ways To Curb Late Night Binge Eating
The thing about binge eating is that you don’t even realise you are doing it…until it becomes a convoluted habit you’re struggling to break. It’s not nearly as fun as binge-watching a show and can have long-term effects on our eating habits. FYI, binge eating is the act of overeating unhealthy food without realizing where to stop. It has happened to all of us at some point, especially late at night.
Needless to say, it is probably the worst thing you can do to your body. Think of it as overcharging your phone, it is bound to spoil at some point. There a thin line between grabbing a cookie now and then at midnight, a whole other to finish off a bag of chips every night!
But, if you relate to this don’t fret anymore. We have a round-up of things you can do to ensure not binge eat sooner rather than later!
1. Stop Dieting And Depriving Yourself
There is a major difference between dieting and depriving yourself. When you’re dieting you eat a little of everything including carbs and fats. Whereas, deprivation is just basic cutting down on any food that has calories (even good carbs). A lot of people confuse the two, sending their body in starvation mode which is what leads to a binge eating streak at the end of the day. Once you have recognized the issue, stop dieting for a while just focus on getting all your nourishment before 9 pm. That should help you to stop binging!
2. Have Wholesome Meals Throughout The Day
What most nutritionists will tell you is that rather than eating three large meals a day, eat five small ones. It has been tried and tested and you know what, it actually works! Late-night binging is what happens when you are unsatiated with your meals throughout the day. Maybe your body hasn’t received enough protein or carbs or maybe there are large gaps between each meal. If you want to break the binge, eat five small wholesome meals a day. For example- breakfast at 8 am, some fruit at 11 am, lunch at 2 pm, a small healthy snack like chana (Bengal Gram) at 5 pm and finally dinner at 8:30-9 pm. Try it out, it might just help curb that binging urge.
3. Allow Yourself To Enjoy Food
The first thing you must do to break the binge pattern is improving your relationship with food. To do that, begin by not labelling food into ‘good’ and ‘bad’. Doing that does not stop you dipping into the ‘bad’. All it actually does is make you feel shameful and guilty which in turn leads to emotional binge eating. You see, it is a brutal circle that you need to break by eating mindfully and being aware of what you are eating. So sit down with your meal, eat slowly and enjoy the experience!
4. Control Your Trigger Foods
We all have trigger foods, something that you know is terrible for you, but you can’t stop eating them anyway. Mine would be Nutella, spoon after spoon until I am uncomfortably full. When I realized how terrible that was for my body, I consciously started avoiding Nutella. Similarly, if there are foods you gravitate towards late at night, try and focus on distancing yourself from them. Stop purchasing them, if you have some in your house either throw it away or finish it once and for all. If it isn’t around you can’t eat it! Restock your kitchen with healthy snacks like nuts that you can always munch on.
5. Break This Habit By Creating A New One
More than a need, binging is a habit. And what do we know about habits? They can be broken. Yes, old habits die hard but they do die. All you have to do is consciously discontinue the habit that leads you to binging and you’re all set. For instance, if you are in the habit of watching TV every day before bed which leads you into ransacking your kitchen for snacks, stop watching TV before bed. Read a book instead or go for a stroll. Basically, readjust your nightly patterns.
6. Listen To Your Body
More often than not, binging is not a product of hunger. We indulge in it out of boredom or like I said above, a mere habit. The trick to crushing this nasty practice is to listen to your body. Next time you think you are hungry, stop and think what your body really wants. Is it thirst, some fresh air, rest or are you really hungry? If you are actually hungry, give yourself permission to eat without feeling guilty. If you aren’t then don’t force yourself to eat.
7. Make Sure Your Snack Counts!
After reading all that if you are thinking, “I have tried it all, nothing works for me,” this one is for you. The thing about binging is that after a certain point it becomes a compulsion, you just can’t stop. If you are at that point, what you can do is, make your snacks count. Instead of having that entire packet of chips try munching on some homemade trail mix. Or if you are someone who needs dessert every night, curb it by having a piece of jaggery or maybe a bowl of yogurt with a little honey. Just make a conscious determined effort, you can’t just wing it.