Are you one of those people who sneak out to binge at night even after you have had your dinner and wondering how to stop late night binge eating? If yes, then it’s time to get cautious as this behavior is known as Night Eating Syndrome (NES) and is one of the major reasons for obesity. Not many people know that nighttime eaters generally end up consuming extra 300 calories every day, resulting in weight gain.
Before we discuss ways to stop night time binging, let us understand the causes of night time eating. Some factors that encourage bingeing are overeating post-dinner on a regular basis, while watching television after dinner is done, waking up in the middle of sleep or generally when bored. Furthermore, there are some people who suffer from depression, anxiety or imbalance in hormones responsible for hunger, skipping breakfast or extremely less consumption of calories during the day – all these factors can highly impact nighttime eating.
If you too are one of such people, there is nothing to fear. A few changes in lifestyle and behavior can help you give up the habit of nighttime eating:
The First Step is to Identify the Triggers
Before doing anything else, identify your triggers. You need to know that when you reach out for any food item, is it hunger that provokes you to eat or is it craving for that particular food item that makes you weak? It is important to know that hunger and craving are two entirely different things. Hunger builds up slowly and steadily but when you crave, you feel the urge to have something immediately. Few other factors that can result in untimely binging are emotional triggers, study time while reading a book, watching television etc. If you are eating extra food, you are probably involved in unnecessary binging; make a note of this.
Not many people know that the hormones that decide whether you should be eating or not are insulin, cortisol, ghrelin, leptin and peptide YY. If there is an imbalance in any of these hormones, an individual might experience hunger and there are chances of overeating. The main reason for the imbalance in these hormones can be erratic eating habits or an unhealthy lifestyle. When we consume high calories and low nutritional value foods, the brain gets the signal of more food requirement.
Plan your Meals
Once you are aware of what makes you reach out for food even after you have had your dinner, you will understand how much extra you are eating, and this can help you in creating a meal plan for yourself. Planning out your meals is the best way to regulate your food intake. Use a journal and write what you intend to eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner and in-between snacks. Also, keeping a note of the calories that you are consuming will help you achieve your fitness goals at the same time.
Stack your kitchen with healthy eating options like vegetables, fruits, chicken, eggs, fish, beans, lentils, mushroom, and nuts just to name a few. Make it a point to eat healthily. Avoid junk food and fatty items. Also, it is recommended to keep healthy snacks so that even if you feel hungry in between meals, you eat healthily.
Always Have a Filling Breakfast
The first meal of the day i.e. your breakfast must be filling. Having a filling and healthy breakfast fuels your muscles and brains and keeps you alert and energized throughout the day.
Do Not Stay Hungry During the Day
A wholesome and filling breakfast will keep your tummy full for 2-3 hours and then you will feel hungry. If this happens, do not restrict yourself from eating; instead, make sure that you have a small and healthy snack. Grab a multigrain biscuit, fruit, green tea, coconut water or a bowl of salad. To avoid getting extremely hungry at night, have a small meal post lunch, an hour before your workout and around 25-30 minutes after workout.
Have Enough Proteins
Make sure you add Protein your daily meals as it helps in increasing your satiety levels. The secret is that since Protein takes more time to digest, it will stay in your digestive system for a long duration thereby reducing hunger. Food items like a mushroom, chicken breast, soy chunks, eggs, tofu, fish etc. are rich in Protein.
If you make little effort and follow the above-mentioned steps, you might soon prevent yourself from nighttime binging. You might not be able to give up on it instantly, but the continuous effort is sure to do wonders for you.
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