This is a true story. Between the years of 1986 and 1996, I had a serious problem with nighttime snacking. Serious problem. It began the year before I got married, when every night when I came home from a date I’d sit down with my roommates and have ice cream or cookies or we’d even order a pizza. (At midnight.)
Once I got married, John joined me on my little venture. We’d go out to dinner and then stop by the grocery store to pick up a treat for our midnight snack. It wasn’t healthy foods we were picking up, but chips we’d smother with cheese, full-fat Breyer’s Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream with chocolate syrup, or a pound bag of M&M’s to share.
We’d sit on the couch and indulge ourselves while we watched television. Every single night. After the children started to come along we did the same thing, only by now I had a serious weight problem, and I had developed an affection for baking. Now not only did we eat store bought treats, but I was making cookies, cakes, and brownies just for us.
In 1997, when I began to lose my extra 150 pounds, I knew I needed to stop eating an additional 1000 calories after dinner. The hard part was that I had had that habit for a lot of years and it was hard to break.
If you are like me and have a hard time with the nighttime snacking, here are some things that I did to help me get through the evening without eating another dinner after dinner.
“Closed” the kitchen. After dinner was over, I’d clean the kitchen completely and turn out the lights. Something about seeing the counters sparkling and the lights out helped remind me I was done eating should I wander back in there in search of a treat.
Kept busy. I found that just watching television wasn’t enough of a distraction for me in the evening. During commercials I’d really want to get up and forage in the pantry. I combatted that desire by taking up some crafts. I began scrapbooking, I sewed, and I worked on my writing.
Went to bed. There were many nights where I felt the nighttime monster raging so hard that I simply went to bed. I couldn’t eat while I was asleep so I’d put on my PJ’s and tell John goodnight. He’s say, “It’s only 8:30 – you’re going to bed?” I’d nod and off I’d go.
Drank something hot. I found that the act of preparing a hot cup of tea, diet hot chocolate or even decaf coffee helped me avoid eating.
Had a back-up plan. If my strategies didn’t work, then I always had something healthy set aside to eat. Remember this was a long time ago, before the days of 100 calorie packs 🙂 so I would portion out some crackers during the day and I’d eat those. I always had carrots and fresh fruit on hand – just in case.
If you sometimes struggle with eating too much after dinner, I hope that some of these ideas will help you.
Have you ever dealt with this? How did you win? Diane