It takes 8 or 9 days to break the cycle of late night snacking. However, once the habit is broken, the temptation for late night snacking diminishes by 75% and you lose weight by eating less calories.
One way to reduce temptation is to eat small meals at regular intervals through the day along with a satisfying dinner. Eating small meals through the day will help burn more fat and keep your appetite under control by leveling your blood sugar. Your metabolism will also get a boost.
Some experts advocate eliminating sugar and a diet without sugar sounds good on paper, but very few people can put this into practice. Sugar is a big part of most meals and sugar consumed in moderation is OK.
If you have a sweet tooth and crave sweets, a light dessert after dinner may actually help you resist craving sweets later in the evening. Below are a few suggestions.
(1) 1/2 cup light ice cream or sherbet
(2) Sugar free pudding or Jell-O (4 ounces)
(3) Low fat cottage cheese (1/2 cup) with diced pineapples mixed with 1 packet of Splenda
(4) Mix fruit bowl (1 cup)
(5) No sugar added (Splenda) ice cream bar
These treats range between 20 and 200 calories and will satisfy your sugar craving without consuming too many empty calories.
Now the Real Problem
It's 9:00 PM and you are watching TV. Out of the blue you have visions of strawberry cheesecake and leftover pizza calling you to the fridge. What do you do?
Wait 10 minutes – If you can get through the next 10 to 15 minutes, the temptation starts to go away. Remind yourself of the following:
o 2 minutes of pleasure is not worth 500 extra calories.
o One snack usually leads to another ……. not worth it
o You worked too hard just to blow it now from a temporary weakness
o You had a satisfying meal and you are not really hungry
o You are eating out of boredom, anger, frustration or unconscious suggestion to snacking from TV commercials
o You will feel 10 times better about yourself if you resist
o You'll feel terrible and out of control for 2 MINUTES of pleasure
If the self talk does not help, consider the following:
(1) Mints or Hard Candy – Keep a small bowl of sugar free mints. Even hard candy is low in calories. When that uncontrollable urge to snack hits you, pop a few mints in your mouth. This way you take in a few calories and keep your mouth fresh at the same time.
(2) Brush Teeth – When you get that first signal to impulsively snack, go to the bathroom and brush your teeth. Brushing sends a psychological signal that you no longer will be eating and you are preparing for bed. Remember, late night snacking is a bad habit, not a real hunger. Tricking your mind and body is what will get you through the next 8 or 9 days.
(3) Burn Sweet Smelling Candles – Sounds silly? Well, research suggests you can fool your hunger and curb your appetite by inhaling sweet smelling aroma of fruits such as bananas, cherries, strawberries, apple, or oranges. If you are not into candles, purchase a small nasal inhaler with fruit fragrance at the local health store.
(4) Drink Water – Drinking a cup or two of water when you are tempted to snack may give you temporary relief.
(5) Herbal Tea or Decaf Coffee – Why not treat your taste buds to a delicious, low calorie drink? There are many fruit flavor and herbal teas with exquisite taste. Use Splenda or some other sugar substitute. A few teaspoons of sugar to sweeten your tea is OK. Treating yourself to a regular time of great tasting tea or decaf coffee will keep the urge to snack at bay. Herbal tea contains no caffeine, so you won't stay awake at night. Some teas even help you sleep better.
Incorporate some of these simple tips into your lifestyle and watch the weight fall off. Most people don't realize that eliminating an extra 400 to 500 calories a night of excess snacking can add up to a pound of weight loss each week.