When I was overweight I was a night owl. In college, I loved staying up late. I would either do my work or chat with friends or get lost down an imdb wormhole. And if I would get hungry I would order some wings for a late night meal. After I lost weight the night started to feel eternal. My activities lost their fun without the promise of an indulgent midnight snack. So over the past 10 years I have become more of a morning person.
Night is still the biggest struggle for me when it comes to staying on a healthy path, so I have tried to develop some go-to nighttime habits to help me avoid destructive thoughts and behavior.
Tips to Avoid Nighttime Eating
Make a Cup of Tea
Sipping a hot tea (or coffee, if you can handle the caffeine) not only takes some time to drink, but it also feels soothing and filling, too.
To me, there’s nothing more relaxing than melting into a hot bath at the end of the day. Add a face mask and I’m in heaven. Consider adding a self-care ritual like a bath (or a shower, if that’s more your thing) with great-smelling/ultra-calming lavender body wash or bubble bath.
I love a good book, but my relationship with reading is like my addictive relationship with a lot of things: either I’m reading voraciously or not at all, for months. I’m reminded though, when I do pick up a real page-turner, that reading is something I should do more regularly because it fills me up and adds a richness to my life that I love.
Get into a TV Show
Finding a new TV series is such a treat. For a minute there, Daniel and I were really into watching true crime shows together. It started with the JonBenet Ramsey series in the fall, then we watched The Staircase and Paradise Lost. Every night, I’d look forward to watching an episode or three, knowing they were engaging enough that I didn’t need any other distractions (like my phone, my laptop, or snacks…). With thousands and thousands of shows on TV and online, I’m sure you can find something similar if you haven’t already.
No matter how old I get, I’ll always indulge my crafty side with some poorly planned/poorly executed art project. Art is just plain fun. Try watercolor, adult coloring books, learn calligraphy, or make one of these homemade bath and beauty products. http://www.thekitchn.com/10-homemade-bath-amp-beauty-luxuries-from-the-kitchen-238535
Pick a Go-To Nighttime Snack
There’s nothing wrong with eating at night—as long as you’re not overeating at night. Deciding on a particular snack to have and creating a last-bite-of-the-day ritual around it can help you signal to your brain that now the kitchen’s closed, the day is over.
While I don’t journal all the time—not nearly as much as I once did—I find the act of journaling to be so helpful. Not only can it be a useful tool for keeping track of what you eat, but if you journal what you’re feeling, it’s also pretty cathartic. Consider carving out 10 minutes every night to write about your day—vent about your stressors, share something you’re grateful for, and set your intention for tomorrow.
Your turn! What are your tips for avoiding nighttime eating?