You eat small portions of wholesome healthy, food all day only to ruin it by raiding the fridge when you get home. Dietician Lyndel Costain shows you how to break the habit in seven easy steps…
1. Plan ahead: If you like an evening snack or treat, plan what it’ll be and savour it guilt-free. Keep to around 630 kilojoules (eg: a small bag of chips, bowl of cereal, hot chocolate, exotic fruit salad or two treat-size chocolate bars).
2. Brush your teeth: Whether you have a snack or not, decide what the last thing you eat at night will be, then brush your teeth. Clear away all food and keep danger foods out of the house.
3. Distract yourself: If you’re having trouble with 1 or 2, or a craving any time, find an activity to distract you for 15 minutes. Cravings rise then naturally ebb away after 15 minutes or so.
Plan a list of things, for example, taking a brisk walk, calling a friend, tidying your bedroom or house, having a bath or painting your nails. The more often you avoid this learned habit (that feels like a craving), the weaker its hold becomes. If you fail, don’t give up or beat yourself up. Lapses are normal. Put it behind you and start the new day afresh.
4. Tackle emotional triggers: When you find yourself raiding the fridge and trying to self-medicate your emotions, ask yourself what you’re really feeling and what else could fill that gap. If you find this difficult or come up against real problems, talk to close friends, family members or a health professional who can support you.
5. Get some “me” time: Pamper yourself or do something you really enjoy, like walking, yoga, a pampering facial or a visit to the hairdresser. Also try to address snacking triggers, perhaps you eat when you’re worried about something you’re trying to put off? Prepare a plan of action to get it sorted.
6. Structure your time: If you eat when you feel lonely or have too much (or too little) time on your hands, plan and structure your time (and meals) more. Remember that it’s OK to feel sad or lonely or angry and you don’t always need to smother it with anything, including food.
7. Give yourself some TLC: Looking after yourself not only nourishes your body, but can help replace the comfort or reward you were getting from your night-time snacking. Which, in turn, helps nourish mind and soul and lets you break free.
DISCLAIMER: Before starting any diet, you should speak to your doctor. You must not rely on the information on this website/newsletter as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other professional healthcare provider.