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Family Fitness, How to combat those late night cravings!

Posted by Bert on 12/27/2012 to Family Fitness

Going to war with those late night cravings!

Its 10pm. I'm just about ready to head to bed but I need something.

Something sweet? Yeah, something sweet with just a titch of salty.

The conversation in my head goes something like this:

Fit Self: No, don't do it; go to bed.
Fat Self: Okay but we ran for 40 minutes this afternoon! It wont matter just this once.
Fit Self: Yes, it will matter b/c you did this same kind of munching last night and the night before. It'll become a habit. Fat Self One week of late night snacking is NOT going to matter. Ill start tomorrow.
Fit Self: No, you've worked too hard for this. Go get a glass of water.

I think its safe to say that at some point in time we've all caved into the late night munchies. Every night before bed my husband has a bowl of cereal. Before I started the fitness challenge I had a bowl of cereal too before bed because I was hungry. Well, I thought I was hungry but it was more of a craving that was rationalized into hunger. One of the tips they gave us during the challenge was to not give into those late night cravings. But why?

A lot of various studies have been done about this late night snacking habit and the effect it has on weight loss and weight gain. The long and short of it is that eating at the wrong time of day, when your body is programmed to be sleeping, can lead to weight gain. A study done in 2009 by Northwestern University concluded that, the body's internal clock also regulates energy use, suggesting the timing of meals may matter in the balance between caloric intake and expenditure. Basically, if your body wants to be sleeping its not going to be using energy to burn up that bowl of cereal you just consumed.

Here's what I've started doing to beat away the late night cravings:

1. Decaf Coffee! For me its coffee but it may be tea or even diet soda for you. (Although I am cautioning you to really look into what ingredients go into a can of diet soda; if you're trying to be healthy you may want to reconsider this choice.) My current favorite is coconut flavored coffee it hits the sweet spot that I need.
2. Drink a glass of water. More often than not if you're craving a late night snack you might be dehydrated. My favorite way to drink water is to carbonate it. There's something refreshing about the bubbles that I just cant get from regular water.
3. Chew gum! I have found that a lot of my desire to snack at night is out of habit. By giving my mouth something to do (chewing gum AND blowing bubbles) I'm forgetting about wanting to actually chew food. You can also brush your teeth. A few of my friends do that because they really don't like brushing their teeth so it keeps them away from the snack cupboard.
4. Go to bed! My personal trainer used to tell me this. She was right and the point is more about staying away from the kitchen.

What do you think? Do you get the late night munchies?

Yours truly,