Ariel Warren
Ariel Warren
POST  8 months ago - 5 min read
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Studio 5: 5 Tips to Curb Late Night Snacking

Studio 5: 5 Tips to Curb Late Night Snacking

On Studio 5 with Brooke Walker I was asked to give a Nutrition Segment on 5 Tips to Curb Late Night Cravings.

Late night snacking when we are not actually hungry can cause weight gain because you are eating unnecessary calories. Often it is because we are stressed, bored, or tired. I have 5 tips for you to help curb those late night cravings.

As I promised on the segment, If you weren't able to watch it, here are my notes for the Segment and a special promo for 1:1 coaching and/or customized meal plans and fitness routines for improved diabetes management and healthy weight loss.

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Okay! The 5 Tips to Curb Those Pesky Late Night Cravings.

#1 Boost the Protein

Doesn’t matter what source you get it from (vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, you name it) try to eat about 20-25 grams of protein per meal.

Research shows that increasing protein may help you cut down in calories in 3 ways (but there are more)

  1. Protein reduces the hunger hormones (Ghrelin) while boosting appetite-reducing hormones which helps you reduce calories without even thinking about it.
  2. About 20-30% of protein calories are burned as the boyd tries to turn them into energy (this is called the Thermic Effect of Food).
  3. Eating plenty of protein can help prevent muscle loss when you lose weight. By preserving muscle, and losing fat, protein can keep your metabolism high as you transform your body. Protein is especially effective for changing your body composition when you have a resistance workout routine.
  4. As a goal, shoot for 25-45% protein with your eating.

A couple high protein foods to add would be:

  • Eggs (especially the white part)
  • Cottage cheese
  • Plain & nonfat greek yogurt
  • Mozerella cheese stick
  • Chicken, turkey, fish, lean beef
  • If you are vegan: lentils, nuts, seeds, beans, edamame, nutritional yeast, peanut butter, etc.

#2 Load Up on Fiber

Dietary fiber makes us feel full for better weight loss, and is helpful for regularity and heart health.

You can increase your fiber by eating whole grains, legumes (such as beans and lentils), vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds. The Recommended Daily Amount for Fiber is at least 25 grams for women, and 30 - 38 grams for men. That’s about 14 grams of fiber for every 1000 calories you eat.

This is random, but did you know that fiber is only found in plants? It’s made up in the cell wells of plants to give the plant shape and structure. And did you know that only animal products have cholesterol?

So the benefits of Fiber are:

  1. Helps with regularity.
  2. May prevent colon related diseases.
  3. Helps Lower bad cholesterol, blood pressure, and inflammation.
  4. Helps control blood sugar levels by slowing down the absorption of sugar.
  5. Helps achieve healthy weight because high fiber foods are more filling which helps you eat less.

#3 Don’t Starve Yourself

Not eating on purpose, or by accident, can lead to either overeating when you finally do eat, or it can cause you to greatly increase your snacking and cravings for high calorie foods at night. Once your body has been deprived, it is going to revert to its caveman self and think, “I need energy, and I need it now!” Fast energy = high fat and high sugar foods AKA foods that don’t help with weight loss.

Do yourself a HUGE favor if you are trying to lose weight, don’t go a long time without food during normal hours of eating.

Our bodies are smart, and if we are trying to cut down on food for weight loss, it needs to be done gradually. I would recommend no more than a 500 calorie deficit of what your calorie needs are (that includes calories burned through exercise).

A 500 calorie deficit should more/less equate to about 2 pounds of weight loss per week. Cutting more than 500 calories can cause intense hunger which can lead to binges and overeating. If you do successfully cut out more than 500 calories per day, and lose more than 2 pounds per week,you could hurt your metabolism, and the weight loss can be more muscle rather than desired fat loss.

By losing muscle, you can decrease your metabolism and gain a higher fat body composition resulting in a less toned version of you. Do yourself a favor and do not starve yourself, stick to a gradual decrease. This way is much more sustainable and allows you to have much better long term success for weight loss.

#4 Balance Your Meals

Balance your carbs, protein, and fats throughout eat meal. I’m not saying, you have to eat a certain amount of carbs, fats, protein, every person’s need are different. What I am saying is to balance your meals.

Even if you are eating a lower carb diet, spread your carbs equally throughout the day.

For example.

I would not eat an omelette for breakfast, big salad of chicken, non starchy veggies, and a oil-based dressing for lunch, then for dinner 2 cups of pasta, and a cup of fruit for dessert.

Instead. Balance the carbs throughout the whole day instead of all in just 1 meal.

Balancing your food will help you feel more satisfied, increase nutrient metabolism, and help you have more stable blood sugars. Having a high carb meal with little protein and fat can cause your blood sugar to spike and crash, which can also increase your late night cravings.

As well as eating nutritiously throughout the day by boosting protein, loading up on fiber, not starving yourself, and balancing your meals, you may find the real reason you are overeating at night is more emotional rather than physical.

#5 Identify Emotional Needs

If this is the case, which is a common, you should take a step back and look for particular patterns that trigger a late night snacking session.

Look for a specific pattern of events that usually sets off your eating behavior.

Take a second and think if you are you using food to meet a need that isn’t hunger?

If so, you are not alone. Many struggle with overeating due to emotional needs rather than hunger. Overeating has a numbing effect on our unwanted feelings, and distracts us from the real problem. A couple thoughts to overcome emotional eating are:

  1. Don’t abandon yourself - when you are feeling these emotions. Tell yourself it’s OK to feel sad, mad, guilty, tired -- you name it.
  2. Approach your feelings with kindness - This will help yourself understand that you do not need to overeat to protect you from these feelings.
  3. Listen to your emotions - This will help you discover what you truly need for deeper satisfaction.
  4. Remove temptations - Clean out your fridge and cupboards of your favorite binge foods. If these snacks are not easily available, they become a lot harder to get your hands on when you are having a emotional episode.
  5. Create a “food mood” journal - For a few days, before you eat, have yourself to write down what you're feeling and thinking at that exact moment. Seeing your emotions on paper helps you understand what's happening inside and recognize times when you're more likely to eat out of something other than hunger."
  6. Get Support by calling a friend, joining a support group or talking to someone who specializes in emotional eating such as a counselor or a dietitian.

As a Recap my 5 tips to Curb Late Night Snacking are:

#1 Boost the Protein

#2 Load Up on Fiber

#3 Don’t Starve Yourself

#4 Balance Your Meals

#5 Identify Emotional Needs


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