My Night Time Munchies
As I’m fixing the broken fridge door handle with gaffa tape I’m half wondering if it is perhaps my mouth that would better be taped sometimes……and indeed I’m questioning how the fridge door handle became broken in the first place?! Was it one of the days where I was nonchalantly swinging the door to and fro whilst nibbling “bits and bobs” direct from the fridge?! Or was it perhaps one of the days where I was fighting with the devil Hannah on one shoulder and the angel Hannah on the other, one arm firmly fixed on pulling that fridge open full force with the other exerting the same pressure pushing it back again telling myself “NO”….the yes / no tug of war effect. Or was it even a 10 o’clock night time munchies alert that had me staring longingly at the fridge hoping, just hoping that maybe there was some tasty morsel that I had previously missed (the last 10 times I had checked in the last 5 minutes) but on discovering yet again that the fridge was bare the door was slammed in dramatic fashion as I reluctantly head to bed empty handed.
After finishing the job and laughing at my musing over the possibilities for the broken handle I realise I may possibly have “issues”, but I also know from talking to many of my members that these little battles are something many of us face on a weekly or even daily basis……at least I can half reassure myself that my madness is shared by others too! But then how to we go about fixing it?! If only it was as simple as popping a bit of gaffa tape and the job is done – but unfortunately many of our behaviours towards food are long term habits that we have repeated time and again and become much too set in stone to just break overnight. Sometimes we might crack the code, but sometimes we may fall again – its just a case of keeping trying to work out your triggers and what drives you to self destruct and what helps you to stay on track!
First things first are working out WHAT are your trigger points? Where is your downfall (or downfalls) and what exactly are you doing to prevent it (if anything!). You have 2 choices where it comes to learning about your weak spots ……1) Bury your head in the sand, completely ignore any issues and just keep allowing them to continually repeat themselves over and over again or 2) actually sit down and try and understand exactly what your issues are, when they are likely to happen and if and when they do happen have a plan in place to stop them derailing your progress.
For me definitely night time munchies are an issue. I could do some serious damage in a very short space of time if left to my own devices so damage limitation is a must. My first tactic is: “if it ain’t in the house – then I can’t eat it!”…….and before you say it, NO, actually you don’t need to have it in the house “for the kids”, because realistically 1) you will probably end up eating it anyway so it really wasn’t “for the kids” and 2) if the food “for the kids” is junk food, then frankly they don’t really need it either do they?! Treats are okay, and yes they are allowed (sure wouldn’t life be boring without ANY treats?!) – however treats really should be just that……TREATS! Something that is there as a treat for good behaviour or as a reward for being active. The rule in our house is “ you have to burn it to earn it” and that goes for the kids too. If they want some sort of nutritionally deprived food substance in the form of sweets / treats etc. then they have to physically get off their butts and learn exactly what it takes to earn it. Earn the sweet treats by burning enough energy off to enjoy it. For me mentally the concept really helps. If I’m even contemplating dipping a few chocolate digestives into my afternoon cuppa I swiftly remind myself that if I want to do so then I will need to cover 1 mile for each biscuit I eat (suddenly I realise I can cope without them after all)
When you take away the temptation by removing the foods from your cupboards that lure you to the dark side it becomes much easier to break the night time munchies habit. Believe me you will thank yourself (in the morning) when there is nothing acceptable to nibble on at night time. “have a banana Hannah”……”don’t want a banana…”……..”have an apple Hannah”……..”don’t WANT A BLOODY APPLE!!”. (((Tut, sigh, stamp feet, slam fridge door and go to bed))) Wake up in the morning – WOOOOO HOOOOO!!! Feeling pretty darn amazing, feeling slimmer and SO pleased I was so strong willed to not give into food cravings last night (even though there wasn’t anything in the house anyway, but hey – it still counts as a score right?!)
So what happens if your night time munchies extends way beyond the treat foods all the way to regular household pantry items? (yes – sorry, slices of bread with butter on DO count towards your daily allowance!). Well, we need to start planning further to break the cycle of bad habits. Simple foods which we cannot simply eliminate completely from the house can be as much of an issue and much harder to avoid because we do have to keep SOME food in the house. For people with issues towards food and temptation any food can be fair game. It is definitely about all food in moderation – however it is the moderation that can be a struggle sometimes. The tactic here is to plan plan PLAN ahead in your mind about what you are going to do when that urge strikes and you simply HAVE to have something to eat RIGHT NOW!
Well Step 1 is – why the urgency?! Tell yourself yes you CAN have something but you have to instill the 20 minute rule…..and what is the “20 minute rule” I hear you ask?!……well the 20 minute rule is this: Wait 20 minutes! And that is it! After 20 minutes you have had time to reflect on whether you actually need whatever it is you are wanting or are you just giving into temptation. Usually after 20 minutes that immediate “I need it now” urge has dissipated slightly and you can either tell yourself to wait a further 20 minutes or decide actually you don’t really need it anyway and that is that! Quite often employing the 20 minute rule is enough just once on its own to reassess the situation and make you realise that you are probably (once again) being slightly ridiculous in your “I NEED it NOW” mindset. After all, you’ve waited 20 minutes and guess what – nothing has happened!! You haven’t wasted away or fallen into a heap on the ground from lack of food – and you probably won’t do either if you wait another 20 minutes or indeed go to bed without eating any rubbish and finishing the day on a good note!
Step 2 – remove yourself from the situation. When you feel that the thought of eating what you shouldn’t is completely consuming your thoughts then you need to distract yourself. If you have a friend who is also following a weight loss and fitness programme then message them for support (or if you are a Why Weight member then email me directly or post in the group!). A problem shared is a problem halved and sometimes even just saying it out loud or taking the time out to take yourself away from the food into a different room and start writing can completely make you reassess all of the so called “reasons” for the temptation in the first place. If it is daytime rather than night time then do some exercise. Work out the calories for whatever it is you are wanting and then burn them off in advance (chances are you won’t want to waste your hard work exercising on it afterwards)
Step 3 – find yourself a substitute! Finding something else instead which is going to limit damage but still offer you something can be a great idea if you can focus on ONLY allowing yourself what you have planned and not jumping off the deep end. It could be a small treat planned and written into your diary that you can look forward to during the day and help keep you on track for when you do finally get to sit down with your treat. Hot drinks are also great for curbing cravings they make you feel fuller and for sweet cravings there are some decent low calorie hot chocolates that are a good way of still hitting the sweet spot without breaking the calorie bank.
Step 4 – Drink some water, brush your teeth and go to bed! Thirst can sometimes make us feel “hungry” when actually it is thirst so tick that box off first. Drinking a glass of water can also help us to feel a little less hungry and have the desired effect of no longer feeling hungry! Brushing your teeth makes everything taste a little bit peculiar (and besides what is the point of dirtying them up again once they are clean) You may as well just GO TO BED!
BOOM – another day done 🙂
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