Why do we overeat and snack at night?

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Greetings, joyful August!

It’s CHOOSEday, and thank you for tuning in for another post.

Today’s topic is this question: Why do you snack at night if you know it’s not beneficial? In fact, you know it’s a key factor in being overweight or fat, so why do you do it?

As I have gotten older, especially after the natural birth of my first child, I have had more and more respect and love for my body. I have learned a lot about health and nutrition over the last 10 years or so. My diet, life-style and attitude have changed and shifted much since I was a young adult.

I had struggled with excess weight and body fat most of my life, so why do I still eat late? Why do I still sometimes choose to eat junk food late in the evening? Why do I tend to overeat at suppertime? Why do I still eat when I am not full? Why do I seem to “mindlessly” seek and eat food when I am not hungry?

Well, most recently I have actually started seeing a registered dietician to address this ongoing activity. My goal is to be eating slowing, relaxed, and lightly at suppertime, then closing the door to my stomach so that digestion can be optimal for the rest of the night. I would love to have more energy, be more flexible, leaner and lighter. It would enhance the qualify of my life.

So, she asked me to describe my typical work day:

My alarm goes off at 5:15 AM with a nice harp alarm. Then my second alarm sounds with vibration and Skye Dyer singing “Make me a channel of your peace”. I get up, do bathroom routine, do kitchen routine, do yoga/exercise/prayer, prepare 8 meals between 6:30 and 8 AM. During this time, I am also getting my kids ready for school. I walk my kids to school and drop them off at 9, then I walk to work taking my first call at 9:30 AM…. it’s non stop until my first break which is 15 minutes exactly. It’s non stop again until lunch time which is exactly 30 minutes. Again, it’s non stop until my second break, my last fifteen minutes before hopping back onto the phones until I sign out usally after 6:00 PM.

So, when would I eat or drink? At lunch or on breaks. Or if you are willing to, you could eat at your desk (in England, they call it al desko)… Ideally, I would like to eat away from my desk and computer sitting down comfortably. The thing is, I also want to walk and move my body!

By the time I am done work, my eyeballs would hurt, my neck, hips and back aching, throat very dry… and so when I would get home (and still), I would eat… and eat… it’s comforting… and then I eat some more.

In my first session with my dietican, she suggested 2 main things:

1. eat a snack during my last fifteen minute break to tide me over until supper. She suggested almond butter and half a banana.

2. Before eating, ask myself “HALT” – am I
Hungry?
Angry?
Lonely?
Tired/Bored?

Well, during my subsequent visit, I reported eating an after snack during my last break, but it was not almond butter with half a banana. In my experience, packing almond butter and banana exposed to air quickly turned colour, so my choice of snacks was starchy crunchy snacks such as plantain chips or even for a couple of days, potato chips (OMG, Kim! You did what??!!). The overall change, though was positive. My energy and general happiness had improved… I think it had to do with some other personal development work I was doing, but nonetheless, I was feeling better than at my first session.

I was using the HALT method to ask myself why I was choosing to eat… most of the time, it was not because of hunger, not anger… and I did not think it was loneliness, but it depends how that is defined. Yes, most of the time was I was tired.

But, I was still eating a lot at night. The HALT method did not stop me from eating… it just helped me ask internal questions.

She really suggested again that I was not eating enough protein. In studying integrative or holistic views on nutrition, I ame to the conclusion that protein is overrated… but I am open to trying and noting the experience.

Today is actually day two of not snacking after supper is done. What’s different about these last two evenings is the company that is in the kitchen with me. Yesterday, my friend Daneille came over after supper, and tonight I washed the dishes with my son. Maybe, we’re on to something…

One of my tasks before meeting my with dietician next is to keep a visual food diary for two complete days. I am to snapshot everything I drink and eat for two days. I will report on this in next week”s.post Another task I am to do is make an exhaustive list of things I love to do, and then choose one of those activities in the evening. I will also report on it next week.

In the meantime, I am curious to know if you’ve ever experienced late night snacking. Have you ever snacked at night? Do you snack mindlessly? Do you eat in a way that you know is not serving you yet you continue to do it? Why do you think it is so? What nutrient do you really need?

I’ll wrap it up here.

Until next time, keep having fun co-creating health, weath and joy!

Kim

P.S. – It’s CHOOSEday! Choose a happy one 🙂

 

 

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