I don’t know what it is about feeling the need to snack at night, but I think most of us struggle with our eating after 5pm more than any other time of the day. So what do you do when you want results, but you want to snack?
The answer really depends on your goal. If you want to reach your goal fast, then snacking almost shouldn’t even be an option. For me, I’ve always allowed myself a 200-calorie window for 100-calorie popcorn, string cheese or beef jerky. But if I want to take things up a notch, even 200 calories can add up to nearly 2 pounds of fat not lost by the end of the month.
Unfortunately, most people graze. They will have a small handful of nuts. Then they may grape a few grapes. Then they decide to pop some popcorn. Before you know it, they have a sweet tooth. It can really get out of control quick, so rules must be in place.
First, let’s look at the facts. You don’t NEED to eat. You probably just ate dinner an hour ago and are actually full. So the one time you don’t really need food, is when you want to eat more food. Does that make any since at all?
Here are a few questions to ask yourself so you can start setting some rules in your home.
1. Decide what your goal is. Put your goal in plain site – on the fridge or on the pantry door. Write notes to yourself of the things you are going to quit doing like this picture. You need something to remind you what you are working for when the snacks try to distract you.
2. Decide how fast you want to reach your goal. Keep track of how you are doing. Whether you track calories on an app like I do (I use LoseIt) or you mark off each day you are on target on a calendar. Once you determine how fast you want results, track your progress along the way.
3. Decide ahead of time what you will or won’t allow. Are you going to go without completely or just limit your snacks?
4. Set a caloric limit on your evening snacks and stick to it. I suggest putting a cap on how many calories you are allowing yourself to eat. That way you have a strict cut off. Otherwise, you will keep having “a little more”.
5. Make a rule that you will not eat ANYTHING unless you count up the calories first. This way, you stay in tune with what you are eating, and the “damage” you are making. Here’s the reality – every calorie you eat is ultimately reflected on the scale. If you don’t want to be frustrated every time you weigh yourself, and you want to gain control of the scale – then learn to gain control of your snacking.
Here is a list of just a few snacks and the equivalent weight loss you would have if you skipped that item. If you are on target all day for weight loss, but exceeded your goal from snacks alone, this is how many more pounds of fat you’d lose each month if you were to forfeit them. REMEMBER: Most people have more than one snack a night, so you can see how quickly this adds up. You can also see why people slowly gain weight – the same happens in reverse.
27 Chips & Salsa = 2 3/4 lbs
1 cup of low-fat ice cream = 2lbs
2 glasses of wine or 2 beers = 2lbs
1 small pack of pistachios = 1 1/4 lbs
100 Calorie Popcorn = 3/4 lbs
2 cups of grapes = 1 1/2lbs
1/2 cup almonds = 3 1/4lbs
10 crackers & 2oz cheese = 3lbs
6. BEFORE you take your first bite of anything, ask yourself “What do I want more? Get faster results or to taste more food?” Are you really going to allow snacks to sabotage your waistline? Seriously, you won’t die if you don’t snack – and the results you want so badly will come SO much faster! Get a grip! (this is really me just talking to myself!)
7. Just say no. I think most of us work so hard to figure out a way to still snack, when maybe what we need is to stop our bad habit to begin with. If you are snacking every night, you are stuck in a habit. Make a snack a treat – not a nightly habit.
8. Aks for accountability. Tell your family your goals. Ask them to not let you snack. This way, when an hour goes by and you’ve already changed your mind, and talked yourself into having a snack anyway, you have support to help talk you back out of it.
Last night I had to talk to myself using these above tips too. Although I am very disciplined throughout the day, I train hard, I count calories – I still fight the snack attacks at night just like most people. I literally had a conversation with myself – and the part of me that wants results won.
In the big scheme of things it’s SUCH a SMALL sacrifice!! And, despite how successful I was last night, I will indeed most likely have the same exact conversation tonight until I get in a better habit of controlling my snacking – but the fit me will win the fight! 🙂