Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A Hard Habit To Break

When I decided to change my lifestyle and eating habits I knew I was in for a challenge. I knew that many of the habits I had ingrained in my head over the years would be tough to change. Over the past 40 days I have managed to change many of them and I'm proud of that. Counting calories, planning meals, avoiding fast foods are all positive changes I have installed in my life. However, there are two habits still lingering that I have to conquer.

First, exercising. I'm doing better with this having worked out twice this week already and plans to get two more in before Saturday's weigh in. I have to stay diligent on this and make exercise a habit.

The second has been more difficult for me change... late night eating. For as long as I can remember I've eaten in the late evening while watching TV. I remember when I was a teenager eating Cornflakes or Capt'n Crunch while watching the Honey Mooners at 11pm.

Since I started my weight loss journey I've have limited night eating to a cheese stick or pretzels here, or a biscotti there. But the thought of making a toasted bagel with two slices of American cheese and a big glass of OJ comes into my head as soon as my family goes to bed and I'm in the family room alone watching the tube.

Even on nights when I've had larger than normal dinners and feel very full.. I still have the thought of eating at around 10pm or so. I know I'm not hungry, I know I don't need the food for energy... I just want to eat something... anything.

I've been having a cup of tea with a teaspoon of honey each night which helps to satisfy but I still get the urges. I don't want to go to bed after I've recently ate with food laying in my stomach for 8 hours. I have this thing in my mind that if I do this I won't lose weight... even if the late night eating is within my daily calorie limit. I guess this is the right frame of mind but I hope that someday I won't think about this anymore. I won't have to fight the urge to eat at night and I can be like everyone else.



  1. Eating (like smoking) is closely tied to events and practices. Can you change your night time routine until the habit is broken? Maybe read or play video games or blog or surf the net instead of watch TV? Not forever, just until your mind stops associating sitting down and watching tv with eating.

  2. I've always read that as long as you remain in your calorie limit, it doesn't matter what time of day you eat. I have similar cravings late at night when watching a movie. Usually for popcorn. I invested in an air popper and 3 T of plain air popped popcorn for 130 calories isn't bad at all! Plus, that makes a fairly large size bowl of popcorn. If you are finding it hard to break the habit of eating at night, a snack won't harm you if it's in your calorie limit. The only reason people say to not eat at night is because you have a tendency to overeat, it doesn't have anything to do with having food in your stomach when you sleep. It's something to think about at least. :)

  3. Wow, those late night urges seem to plague us all. Maybe if you make a list of all the "legal" possibilities and have those items on hand it would help. It's all a question of finding something satisfying and that won't counter your day's hard work. I eat an entire bag of microwave popcorn (94% fat free) every night - kernel by kernel. It takes a while to finish the bag this way and it isn't really bad for you. There are 0 calorie seasonings (Kernel Seasons) that you can sprinkle on to add some excitement - caramel, kettle corn, chocolate marshmallow. It satisfies my need for a late night munch.

  4. fwiw, nighttime eating - especially after my family was in bed - was a huge problem with me. I'm doing pretty well in limiting anything after dinner, and sleep is amazing now that carbs and sugar aren't coursing through my veins while I try to fall asleep.

    Great job to you thus far - keep working at it!

    (ps - my first EA Sports Active workout tonight - thanks for the recommendation!)

  5. When I wanna eat at night.... I just go to bed. That way as a mom I get more sleep anyway.

  6. Feeding a sugar craving makes you crave more sugar. Also, try having a little protein. That generally holds me over the best.

    I've been noticing that if I drink a ton of water before eating something small, I feel really filled up and satisfied. The next time you're hungry, fill up your water bottle with ice water and chug away.

  7. What Tricia says is true... except if you eat those 130 calories now, then at breakfast you aren't really hungry. What do you do? skip it right? Then at lunch you are FAMISHED. So you eat a lot, except maybe you are trying to diet, so you deprive yourself. Then 3pm hits, and your body says FEEEDDD MMEEEEEEE! So, you binge!

    I know that's kind of simplified, but I think you get the idea.

    It's the signals that food at 11pm, or 2am sends to your body that's bad.

  8. It's fantastic that you've identified this as a habit - and that's what it is - purely a habit. Three comments:
    1. Perhaps you could try to replace eating with a new habit - do something else with your hands while watching TV (as silly as it sounds, knitting stopped me moving my hands from plate to mouth in the evenings!).
    2. If you truly feel satisfaction and comfort by eating in the evenings and don't want to stop your ritual, make sure you have nutritious and healthy food on hand (as others have suggested)...mind you, if it's merely habit and something that doesn't make you happy then you'll need to think about ways to stop.
    3. Often eating in the evening is our body's way of saying: 'I'm tired and need one of 2 things - food or sleep'. If you think about it, it's obvious - these are the two things that increase our energy levels. Perhaps you could try heading to bed for an early night when cravings take hold?

    In any case, you're doing brilliantly - I'm enjoying your regular blogs. Keep it up!

  9. I'm also a night-time eater. There is actually some study out there that says that watching TV will give you the munchies and I agree with that! Maybe you don't have to cut out eating all together, but rather eat something like apple slices or light pop-corn. It's not as good as a bowl of ice-cream, but it's better than nothing. I try to go to bed a little earlier too, before TRUE hunger sets in!! Good luck!!

  10. I disagree with Trisha's comment, you don't want to eat a lot just before you go to bed. Your body is in the process of slowing down your metabolism for the night so anything you eat isn't going to be completely burned as energy because your body doesn't need the energy. What's left gets converted to fat.

    Like you, I struggle with the late night eating. What I started doing was having a cup of green tea with honey and a Fiber One bar. They are pretty low calorie and the fiber fills you up pretty good. Plus it's sweet so it feels like a treat. Sometimes I'll have popcorn instead since it is reasonably low calorie. If you have to eat at night, stay away from protein because it takes the longest to use up.
    -FogDog Weight Loss

  11. I am the same way! Its a hard habit to break but like everyone was saying if you have to eat so something that's okay.

  12. Whatever is in your stomach when you go to sleep, turns to fat, regardless of what it is. Your digestive system shuts down when you sleep and that's why it happens. So you are right to worry about that.
    Can you lie down to watch tele to curb the urge? I find that helps, as you can't eat laying down.
    To change a habit, you need to change things associated with it.

    As for the exercise, Make it an appointment each day. Something you know you are GOING to do the next day, no matter what!
    I don't like exercise at all. At the moment i'm walking, but i need somewhere to walk to, not just around the block. That way, once i start, i can't just stop, coz i've got somewhere to be. IE: picking one of the kids up from school or going to church. And i make the appointment so i'm not doing anything else at the time i need to leave. It works nicely :o)

  13. I wanted to let you know that I've nominated you for a creative writing award. To claim your award go to FogDog Weight Loss and follow the rules in the post. Thanks for sharing your journey with the rest of us!