I'm finally making a commitment to get back in shape and lose about 35 pounds, and for the most part I'm doing well. I'm making good food choices and watching my portions, and I'm exercising almost every day.
The problem is that I am a night owl and stay up pretty late at night, and that's when I start snacking. Sometimes I'm genuinely hungry, but mostly I'm not. It's pretty much a habit at this point, and even though I KNOW my weight loss will progress a lot faster if I stop the midnight snacking, I can't seem to control it.
Would love some ideas on what I can (aside from going to bed earlier, which I've tried and failed to do consistently).
I think it's a great first step that you recognize that it is not always hunger-related. Frequently we snack out of routine, boredom, or emotions. Tracking that and treating the underlying snacking trigger can be very helpful, or even journaling about it when you feel the urge to snack. That being said, if you stay up late, you might be due for another mini-meal. Having lots of little meals throughout the day can prevent urges to eat late at night, but if you are already doing that and you are still hungry, then don't deny yourself. Keep plenty of healthy snacks around...both salty and sweet to quench your craving. Apple slices and honey, cool whip and berries, hummus and carrots, ranch flavored rice cakes...these are a few of my faves. Good luck!
If you're really hungry then definitely eat something. It may help if you can find and activity or project to work on in the evening. I find that when I'm involved in something I don't think about food much. I like to research my family history, sort photos for the scrapbook, sew, read a good book or clean out the junk drawer. Anything that will keep your mind actively involved will help.
Karen, I have been through the same thing. I call it "habit eating" and have also reached out to fellow Wellsphere members for advice and support on how to control it. For a while, I found that eating all three meals each day with sensible snacks (fruits, vegetables, high fiber cereal) in between helped me manage my hunger and made me feel full until bed time. Make sure you're getting three good meals each day with a portion of protein and a carbohydrate in each. If you feel the need to snack at night, here's a trick I've used-blend a low calorie juice with ice to make a "slushie." People have told me that sometimes if I feel hungry, I'm actually just thirsty. A slushie is the perfect way to quench that thirst while still "eating" a little something.