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How to Reduce Late Night Eating and Food Cravings

November 06, 2018

Can you relate to this? 

Your eating healthy, your fitness is on point and your mindset is strong.

But everyday you have a craving of something you WANT!

You give into that craving and start to binge out on your favourite cheat food. 

Feeling guilty, mad and telling yourself this is the last time girl... 

We've all been there... "feeling guilty after you've realized what you just ate" 

DON'T get frustrated for having cravings, it's completely natural.

Throw away that feeling of food guilt  because everyday we are all tempted with snacks, sugary treats, desserts and it can be extremely hard to say no!

Reasons Why We Crave and Binge Eat: 

Bio-Chemical: 

Cravings usually consist sweet and savoury (fatty) foods.

Sugar is one of the most addictive substances on the planet and can cause serious health issues down the road when high amounts are consumed for too long. 

When we eat sugar or fat a hormone called dopamine is released.

Dopamine is a happy hormone which lifts you up and makes you happy! Which is why you probably feel satisfied after eating your favourite junk foods filled with sugar and fat. 

Now here's where the cycle happens..

Having low levels of dopamine can lead to MORE binge eating and cravings due to the need to feel happy and satisfied again. 

To increase levels of dopamine naturally without sugar or binging out 

- do something you love to do

- create a healthy habit in replace of your binge eating 

This will lead you to a proud satisfied feeling leaving you not wanting to run to the pantry for a box of cookies or bag of chips. 

Psychological (Mindset) : 

It is actually scientifically proven that binge eating can be controlled by your mind and its emotions. Binge eating can be a way of dealing with negative emotions that turns into an over indulgence in food. 

You may find you binge eat and have food cravings when your stressed, anxious bored, depressed etc. Usually at a time when you are looking to fill that void - with food. 

If you are craving something sweet like chocolate you could be craving something sweeter in life (like love)
Or if have a craving for something salty or fatty you could have an urge for something exciting in life (like a trip or something to look forward to) 

Personally I find this very relatable. I'm quite guilty of craving food when I'm bored or anxious.  

Like attracts Like.

If you think positively - you won't feel the need to fill that void you may be missing with food. 

How to Reduce Cravings and Binge Eating: 

Eat Regular Meals and Avoid Skipping Meals 

The two easiest ways to avoid binge eating and food cravings is to eat regular meals and avoid skipping meals! Eating regular meals consists of minimum 3 meals a day (breakfast, lunch and dinner + snacks are always a good idea to keep blood sugar levels stable).  

Skipping a meal is pretty self explanatory. Missing those extra calories can: 

- puts you at risk for low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)

- leaves you craving more food

- causes late night snacking + over eating  

Eating regular meals throughout the day will help you to feel less hungry at night and keep your calories at a healthy maintenance! 

Remove Foods that Trigger You

SUGAR, CHIPS, COOKIES, CANDY, YOU NAME IT 

Actually, let's be real the easiest way to reduce binge eating and food cravings is to get the junk food AWAY from you! Remove the foods that are triggering you to eat before bed, snack out on when your bored watching tv by yourself... etc.  

The unhealthy food that turns your crank.. just don't buy it.  Realistically if it's not there, you can't eat it. 

The best thing you could do would be to stock your kitchen with healthy nutritious foods for when you are wanting something to eat and HEY listen up.. it is not the end of the world to have your favourite snacks on hand.

For what I like to call an EMERGENCY haha. I probably treat myself a few times a week to the not so healthy foods I don't eat on a regular basis. I don't sweat it and you shouldn't either!  

Create a New Nightly Habit 

I think we all find ourselves in this position every once in a while.. you sit down to watch TV and you end up starring into your fridge thinking something healthy is going to magically appear that you can eat. So you end up grabbing the unhealthy option.  

To prevent late night snacking steep yourself a hot cup of herbal tea and have a piece of fresh fruit like an apple and some crackers or a protein/granola bar. This is my go to before bed snack. I also like to have a hot bath with Epsom salts and essential oil and so some meditation or yoga.  

Watch some youtube videos, look for new music, read, go for a walk.. there are so many things you can do. It's all about trying new things and DOING YOU to get your mind occupied from snacking!

Balance Your Macro Nutrients  

Many of us find that we are eating right like smoothies, lean protein, salads and all.. but sometimes we still crave foods we are trying to avoid.
I have found by having a proper amount of macro nutrients at each meal, even a little bit of sugar (in this case carbs) can help reduce stop cravings and binge eating. 

Why?

The main macro nutrients are Protein, Fat and Carbohydrates.
If your body is deficient in certain nutrients, or if they are missing from your meals - your body will crave them! 

One important thing to take into consideration is that carbs are a form of sugar. 

For Example: white sugar has zero nutrients in it, when it's consumed you'll most likely crave nutrients like protein and something savoury (fat) afterwards to balance and replenish there stores. 

Another Example:

Beef has vitamins and minerals, a high amount of protein and fat but no carbs (sugar). When you eat a piece of steak for dinner do you find you crave sugar afterwards aka. dessert after dinner? 

This is due to the high protein and fat content and missing sugar in the steak.

Make sense right? Your body is smart! 

This picture is explaining the examples above.

The foods you eat on a regular basis should be what your body is craving.

When you fuel yourself with vitamins and minerals, protein, fat and carbs with each meal to supply your body with what it needs, you should no longer crave tempting foods or binge out.

TAKE AWAY MESSAGE:  

At the end of the day, we all crave tempting foods. It's completely natural!  

If you are still struggling with cravings and binge eating I would highly suggest to eat more natural foods, limit the amount of processed foods and enter a positive way of thinking like talked about in the physiological (mindset) reasons why we crave and binge eat.  

By: Miss Emma Troupe