Let’s talk about ONE BIG AREA that a lot of people struggle with when it comes to cleaning up their nutrition – CRAVING AND NIGHT-TIME SNACKING!
Have you heard of “ultra-processed foods”?
That’s the new buzzword for packaged snacks, pizza, and basically anything with a lot of added sugar, fat, salt, or other ingredients to make them tastier and more appealing.
These foods can actually trigger an addiction-like response in your brain, making you crave them.
AND … it goes without saying these foods aren’t at ALL helpful (and actually run counter) to any health or fitness goals you have. They stand in the way between you and your results. Here is the Formula for Cleaning up the night-time snacking habit.
Step #1: BE AWARE of your cravings, so you can 1) notice patterns and 2) feel more in control of them.
Step #2: BE PREPARED. The Scouts were onto something with this one.
If you know that you start craving salty/sweet/crunchy food every time you crash on the couch at night after a long day, BE PREPARED.
For example: If you know that every afternoon you start having visions of chocolate chip cookies dancing in your head, BE PREPARED.
If you always associate eating beer and peanuts with watching the sport on the weekends, BE PREPARED.
What “being prepared” looks like will depend on you and your situation.
But it can include these two simple tactics:
- Find a diversion. I quit snacking on junk food at night when I got tired. (yes, it happens to me too!)
Instead of just watching TV, I went back to reading books, something I’d fallen out of the habit of doing. Or what about dabbling in some other hobby?
- Have a healthier option on-hand: frozen fruit, carrot/celery sticks, non-fat/ low fat yogurt with fresh berries, our delicious Proform protein drink – Real Cocoa hits the spot every time! Whatever it is make sure it’s ready to go. https://educogym.com/product/proform-real-cocoa/
I wanted to share something that happened with a client recently – because I know you will probably relate. (We all can!)
My Client was SMASHING her goals – exercising, drinking more water, eating nutritious food, getting sun & fresh air, and she was feeling GREAT.
In fact, she even made a point to tell herself how proud she was of her actions! (LOVE THAT!)
But then every night when she finished cleaning up after dinner, she got a massive craving for those ultra-processed foods (even though she wasn’t hungry) …. and every night she gave in.
She’d been a night-time snacker for years and it got even worse in 2020. She REALLY wanted to cut back on it but felt at a total loss for what to do.
We did some brainstorming on solutions that would work for her life and family, and we came up with an idea that might work for you.
It’s something I’ve recommended to a LOT of clients.
She changed up her evening habits to help her break the snacking cycle … and she did it in a way that short-circuited the “night-time snacking” habit she wanted to get rid of.
For her, that meant tackling a home organisation project and then going to bed early – and staying away from the sofa and the TV (the trigger), which is where the snacking always happened.
This is a really great idea because it removed the automatic cue (TV + couch) to grab those ultra processed junk foods.
And it worked! The first couple of nights she thought about snacking, but then she got busy with her project.
Sometimes in order to break a habit loop, you have to (at least temporarily) remove the triggers that cause the habit to happen.
It’s a great tip straight out of the book Atomic Habits by James Clear.
Because the old saying is true: You CANNOT out-exercise or out-train a bad diet.
From my own experience (and that of my clients) it only takes a few days of making the switch for cravings to start going away. (REALLY.)
And also for you to start noticing changes in your energy, your sleep, and your results!
It’s all about being intentional about what you put into your body … and not letting the “automatic” habits take over and derail you from your goals! So what’s your plan of cleaning up your nutrition? We would love to hear from you.