Battling The Witching Hour Cravings

Thankfully I chose walnuts as my late night snack. But if I don't get a handle on evening snacking it could be worse. Image courtesy of franky242 and FreeDigitalPhoto.net.

Thankfully I chose walnuts as my late night snack. But if I don’t get a handle on evening snacking it could be worse. Image courtesy of franky242 and FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Did you know that most evening eaters eat  50% of their calories at night. Yikes! At least I know I’m not alone. Thankfully I don’t do that anymore. I spread my calories out during the day. But I’m not immune from snacking in the evening. Breaking this bad habit is a challenge.

Saturday Night Boredom Fest
I spent a quiet, relaxing evening at home on Saturday. Tired, I planned to go to bed at 11:00 pm. By 9:30 I was starting to fall asleep on the couch. Not ready to go to bed, I wandered into the kitchen and grabbed a handful of walnuts.

What was I thinking?

Clearly I wasn’t. I gobbled them down and went back for another handful. After I finished round two, it dawned on me that I wasn’t even hungry. While my taste buds wanted a 3rd encore, I decided to floss and brush my teeth. That snapped me out of that food danger zone.

But when I tracked my food, it put me over my daily carb count and my caused me to dip into my weekly bonus points. Crap!

Why We Eat At Night
There are a few reasons we eat at night.

  1. We Don’t Eat Enough During The Day — When you try to lose weight, you immediately start thinking about restricting your calories. But our meals get progressively bigger throughout the day. So when evening rolls around you are ravenous because you restricted yourself too much.
  2. Emotional Reasons — After a long day, we use food as a way to relax, unwind, de-stress or entertain us. The problem is we carry on after dinner, during the time period when our bodies don’t need the extra fuel. Boredom is my emotional trigger and it was on display Saturday evening.
  3. Eating When We’re Sedentary — Eating while watching TV is a habit many of us learned through our weight gain years. We get into a pattern of eating when we don’t do anything and it’s hard to break. This is one I’ve worked hard on the last couple of years and have succeeded…until Saturday night.

Why didn’t I just go to bed?
I planned to go to bed early…well, early for me anyway. I just didn’t think. At least my food choice was sound, although going back for seconds wasn’t.  Trust me, it could have been worse.

Boredom is my enemy when it comes to food. If I’m bored, I eat, whether I’m hungry or not. Typically, evenings spent watching TV doom me.

Most evenings I’m writing, reading or researching on my tablet. Usually I do this with music on in the background.  These are the nights I’m engaged. My hands are busy, either typing or furiously flipping round my tablet.

But Saturday night I shut down. I was just too mentally exhausted to do anything. I needed mindless entertainment…something TV provides in spades. Normally when I watch TV it’s home improvement shows (yes, I love me some HGTV!).  But that engages me; wakes me up. I start taking notes and think about little projects to do around the house. But when nothing is on TV, I get bored and channel surf.  Sure enough, that’s what happened Saturday night.

What Were My Options?
There are ways to stop eating at night (or at least make better choices if you have to eat).  What were my options Saturday night?

  • Option 1: I would have been better off knitting. I love knitting, but it’s like a Brahms lullaby — it’s a little hypnotic and sometimes it makes me sleepy. It’s a great hobby that keeps my hands busy and takes my mind off of food. Trust me, when you knit, food is the last thing you want near that yarn.
  • Option 2: Rather than grab for the walnuts, I should have made myself a nice cuppa decaf tea. I wasn’t hungry, and tea is a lovely zero carb/point treat.
  • Option 3: Or I should’ve listened to my body and gone to bed. But of course, if I had, I wouldn’t be writing this post…oh sweet irony thy name is Dot.

2 thoughts on “Battling The Witching Hour Cravings

  1. It’s tough when cravings hit, but I love watching TV or knitting. Blogging, too! I’m an offender of not eating enough during the work day. Small breakfast, a little bit bigger lunch but still get home at 4 or 5 pretty hungry, then moderate dinner. At that point I have all these extra calories left over that I space out into snacks before bed. It really doesn’t make a lot of sense. Breakfast is pretty important, especially a good-sized one.

    • It’s a tough one because it’s about learning a new habit and unlearning an ingrained bad habit. I do a big breakfast every other day. Went its a small breakfast my lunch makes up for it. I try not to do large dinners. I don’t like feeling bloated in the evening. But I need to do a better job of eating dinner before 8:30 pm. Ugh!

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