The Battle of the Late Night Binge!!!
Are you a night owl? It may be a habit that stuck with you from your days in college, chasing a family, or shift work – but you still find yourself up watching late night and sleeping in just a little too late. And though you may not want to admit it, you eye that fridge when you are sitting on the couch – and it’s eyeing you right back. It may be hard, but we have to learn how to resist the late night binges.
A recent study by the Northwestern University Fienberg School of Medicine shows there is a link to sleeping patterns (or circadian rhythms) and eating habits. The study showed that late sleepers consumed 248 more calories a day, twice as much fast food and half as many fruits. Why this happens, scientists haven’t quite determined – it could be there isn’t a structured meal so there is on-going snacking with poor choices at hand. There could also be a link to a person’s metabolism and their circadian rhythms not being in synch. Either way if you are eating late at night these kinds of eating habits can lead to significant weight gain and even obesity over time.
So what can we do to budge the late night pudge and get a good night’s sleep? Here are a few CalorieKing tips:
- Make sure you eat during the day – starting with a good breakfast. If you miss one of your meals during the day you could end up snacking and on all the wrong things – adding to your calorie count. Worse still, if you skip breakfast or skimp on lunch, you might feel like dinner is actually your first meal, then snack later and later into the evening. So be sure to have regular, nutritious meals – with plenty of protein and veggies to keep you full.
- Give yourself some closure. If it is within your daily calorie limit make sure you set aside your evening snack and then symbolically “lock up” the kitchen before sitting down in front of the tv or computer. After eating your dinner or last snack, brush your teeth right away to signal that you are done eating for the day.
- Think, and then drink. When you feel a craving, ask yourself if it is really hunger or perhaps you are just thirsty? Make sure you reach for water or a low calorie drink instead of sugary soda if you are thirsty from a salty evening meal. It is also a perfect substitute when battling an urge to eat out of habit. Water not only fills you up but is good for you as well!
- Ditch the junk food! If you know you have a tendency to reach for the snacks at night, do a kitchen makeover to get rid of the fatty, sugary foods around the house.
- Create relaxing rituals to keep busy and your mind off the food. Enjoy a bath. Do a crossword puzzle. Curl up with a cup of plain decaf tea. Listen to some favourite music. Write your blog. Whatever works for you… maybe even a little exercise to tire you out!
- Keep a journal of what you eat and when. When you see your eating habits on paper you can identify your challenges and make a plan. You might just find yourself shocked at what you actually eat and want to make a change.
While scientists continue to study the link between sleep and poor nutritional habits, you can be the one to take control. Left unchecked you could reach that tipping point towards obesity which brings on so many other problems such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. If you find yourself bingeing compulsively and feel powerless to stop, CalorieKing urges you to seek professional advice. With the right help and support, you can learn to control your binge eating.
We know it may be a challenge to shake up your patterns, but once you get a plan in place you can start by taking one step. Then another…. We know that what works for some might not for others so help us add to this handy list by telling us your strategies to beat battle of the late night binge!