You heard it here first! Nutritionists are human too. Unlike certain TV nutritionists we don’t get up at five am to puree mung beans and like all you normal folks out there, we like things like chocolate and ice-cream too. But luckily, that’s ok because a little bit of indulgence can be part of a healthy diet. Phew!
Speaking of indulgence, I’ve noticed on our Facebook page that there is a particular time of day where people who are watching their weight really struggle to limit or avoid those ‘treats’ or ‘extras’. You’ve guessed it, it’s in the evening and I’d have to agree with them. But, whether you are out working or are at home all day, it’s perfectly understandable that you would be more vulnerable to temptation at the end of the day.
There are a lot of reasons for it. Some psychologists say that you have a certain stock of will power. As you go through the day and resist temptation and make good choices, you are gradually using up that stock, so that there is less left at the end of the day. Other things can reduce your stock like mood, fatigue and alcohol, all things that can affect you at night.
The real question is, what can you do about it? Well, there are two approaches really. The first is to accept the fact that your resolve will be reduced in the evening. In that case, avoidance is probably the best strategy. It might be difficult at first but try not to buy sweet and fatty treats because the likelihood is that you will eat them if they are in the house. You can try alternatives such a drinking water and herbal teas, or maybe eating lower calorie alternatives such as popcorn, sugarfree jelly, or sucking on sugarfree sweets. The other approach is to try to maximise your will power. Get plenty of sleep so that you are not too tired.
If stress or feeling low is a problem, it’s a good idea to ask a your GP or a counsellor to help you with techniques for dealing with that. You might also find useful information on websites such as http://www.mentalhealthireland.ie or http://www.publichealth.hscni.net/publications.
Make sure you eat regularly during the day so that you are not absolutely starving in the evening and if you are trying to lose weight, keep your goals somewhere prominent (like on the fridge) to help you stay motivated. Equally, some of the ads on TV may be nudging you towards temptation, so stay mindful of that.
As I said in the beginning, it’s okay to have a few treats as part of your healthy diet. In fact, eliminating them altogether is probably pretty unsustainable. If night time is your weak time, it might also be a good plan to have a little of what you fancy then, rather than earlier in the day when you have the power to resist temptation. Just make sure it’s a couple of nights a week rather than the norm.
So the good news, being prone to night eating is fairly normal and there’s a lot you can do about it. The bad news, it’s nearly 5 o'clock here, better stock up on will power before I head home…