As a parent, the “witching” hour for my little kids is between 4:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. My little guys get a bit fussy, whiny, and really need some help making it through until dinner. Once they’ve eaten, gotten their baths and are all snuggled up in their jammies, life is good.
As an overweight and then obese woman, the “witching” hour for me was after dinner. I had the hardest time reigning in my habit of eating massive amounts of food after the children were in bed.
At the time, I only had two daughters. (Now I’ve added five sons to the mix, in case you are a new reader.) Back then, John and I would get the girls to bed, sit on the couch to relax and turn on the television. We’d start to watch some random show and then I’d start on the eating.
The number of calories I consumed between 7:00 and 11:30 p.m. was outrageous. I’d easily eat another 1,000 calories after dinner. No wonder gaining weight was part of my week!
Even when I was supposed to be on a diet, I had trouble with the nighttime eating problem. It didn’t matter if I was on Weight Watchers or trying the Richard Simmons diet. I found it really difficult to unwind and relax at night without food.
When I really got serious about my weight loss, I knew that I had to conquer this nighttime eating pattern once and for all, or I’d never be able to lose weight and keep it off.
It was really difficult.
I found myself hopping up and heading to the kitchen without even realizing what I was doing. I’d have to remind myself out loud that I wasn’t hungry, I wasn’t going to eat, and I was trying to lose weight. I realized that I needed to have some strategies for unwinding at night without food. Here are five that worked well for me.
Laid out my options for a nighttime snack right after dinner. Although I tried not to eat after dinner, I realized that if I wanted to eat something, I should plan in advance what I was going to have. Some things I laid out on various nights were a few animal crackers, a fruit, applesauce, baked chips and yogurt.
Cleaned the kitchen and turned out the light. Somehow walking into the darkened kitchen helped me psychologically realize that the food time was over for the day.
Prepared a cup of hot tea right after the girls went to bed. Having something to sip on and hold in my hands was a tremendous help in breaking the nighttime eating habit.
Scrapbooked, sewed or knitted. Keeping my hands busy helped me avoid snacking unnecessarily.
Went to bed. That’s right. If I had already had my allowed snack, enjoyed my cup of tea and still couldn’t seem to stay out of the kitchen. I just put on my jammies and went to bed. Worked every time because I didn’t eat or want food while I was sleeping.
Have you ever struggled with nighttime eating? To this day, I still have to watch it as there is something about eating at night that I honestly enjoy. But the way that I allocate my calories usually means I’ve had about the right amount of food by the time dinner is over.
What are some ways that you’ve overcome eating at times when you really are done with food for the day?Diane