Weight loss is a 24/7/365 commitment, but certain times of the day are more crucial than others. The most critical time frame to worry about? Late at night. The few hours you have leading up to bedtime can make or break your weight loss program because your metabolism can slow down as your body prepares itself for sleep. Eating before bed, especially if it's snacks loaded with carbs, can digest slower, disrupting your hard work and increasing the chances of weight gain. Easier said than done, though, because hunger can increase if you're tired. We get it, so we're here to help. Here are five healthy alternatives to help beat the urge to a late-night snack.
Cut back on Television
It's safe to say most of us enjoy some TV time before and even as we fall asleep each night. However, breaking that habit can be one of the most effective ways to eliminate late-night eating and accelerate weight loss. For starters, less TV means less sitting and lying down, which also lowers the risk of heart disease and other medical conditions. You're much more prone to binge snacking while watching TV as well, so less TV means moving more and eating less.
Workout at Night
Finding the right time of day to work out is a constant battle for many, but the late evening may be the perfect time to do it. It keeps you off your couch and away from your kitchen. Even the busiest schedules typically have an opening at that time of day. Whether it's at the gym, in your living room, or just a jog around the block, working out before bed gives you all of the usual fitness benefits, but a better night's sleep and a guarantee you stay away from late-night snacking are substantial bonuses.
Save Your Chores for After Dinner
People tend to mindlessly snack when they're bored, and nighttime is the danger zone for that since we're off work and it's time to relax. But there are so many things you can do around your house to keep yourself occupied and less inclined to eat. Do the dishes, take out the trash, fold laundry, walk the dog, clean your bathroom, vacuum the carpets, you get the idea. There's always SOMETHING you could do, so doing household chores after dinner can tire you out and keep your hands out of the snack drawer.
Drink Water or Hot Tea
Hunger and thirst sometimes go hand in hand, so addressing one can eliminate the need for the other. If you feel the urge to snack before bed, a glass of water can help satisfy your hunger. Hot tea is also an excellent option. It adds flavoring, cleanses your body, and drinking it slowly will help decrease cravings.
Nibble on healthy snacks
If you feel the need to grab a bite to eat before bed, stock up on healthy snacks. Make sure you're prioritizing snacks high in protein, with no carbs or sugar, and the smaller the portion size, the better. We recommend nuts, seeds, fruit, vegetables, yogurt, and protein bars/powders.
The bottom line is that evening is one of the worst times to eat. It can jeopardize your weight loss program and increase the risk of chronic diseases such as obesity, high blood pressure, and even depression and anxiety. However, putting effort into avoiding late-night snacking can reward you with noticeable weight loss results quicker than expected. We hope these tips help develop new habits that shape your new healthy lifestyle!