"It's your attitude, not your aptitude, that determines your altitude" ~Zig Ziglar
Q: I had an email from Nurit who was looking for suggestions for how to cope with hunger that comes after dinner, usually for something sweet.
A: The desire to snack after dinner can run deep. If like me, you are used to having a sweet treat every night before bed since you were a kid, the habit can be hard to break.
How to Cope with the Cravings to Snack/Eat at Night?
Everyone is so different there's no one perfect solution. You have to experiment to find what works best for you.
Through much trial and error I've discovered that I'm often satisfied with a tiny portion of something sweet such as:
- 1 - 2 spoonfuls of ice cream
- a small piece of dark chocolate
- a small cookie or graham cracker
Another helpful strategy is to have a big mug of herb tea. This is very successful for me during the cooler months.
However, if eating a little just causes the floodgates to open and you find yourself eating way too much, another approach might be best. There's nothing wrong with a little positive self restraint every now and then.
You might want to try brushing your teeth right after dinner. This sends a cue to both your mouth and brain that you’re done eating for the day.
Then find a satisfying alternative to eating such as taking a stroll around the block, playing a game, engaging in an activity that occupies your hands such as knitting or painting your nails or taking a bath.
Do you have any winning strategies for overcoming nighttime cravings?
Reader Ideas & Suggestions to Alleviate Nighttime Snacking
Reader Suggestion #1: Healthy Zero Point Frozen Yogurt
"Yogurt with fruit and splenda frozen makes a zero point frozen yogurt. So many flavors." ~ Lauren
Reader Suggestion #2: Distraction
"I find distraction works the best for me. But if all else fails, I'll eat a boiled egg with a big glass of water and tell myself to wait 20 minutes and that if I'm still hungry, I can have more . . . but I never am hungry after 20 minutes. I am also very proud of myself the next morning. That feeling is worth fighting for." ~ Susan
Reader Suggestion #3: Sleep, Cinnamon & Healthy Hot Beverages
"I most definitely have strategies for this!
- Go to bed. Sweet cravings at night usually mean you're tired. Your body is trying to re-fuel to keep going. So, really, try to listen to your body and go to bed. I know. Easier said than done. So...
- Cinnamon. If you can't go to bed, try a little cinnamon on your tongue and/or ... your suggestion...
- Hot tea or better yet...Chocolate Rooibos. I love the flavor of the Chocolate tea. It's a tolerable replacement for a sweet snack. Rooibos is naturally caffeine-free. Or you can get a low-caf tea. Check out the Chocolate Teas from Republic of Tea .
Doing the above things will eventually make the cravings go away. I do think one should avoid small portions of sugar! It just keeps the addiction going. I tend to want a little more every night. Even if it's cereal...it keeps it going." ~ Constance
Don't Miss: 10 Habits That Mess Up a Woman's Diet
Reader Suggestion #4: Delayed Gratification, Staying Busy, Real Hunger vs. Emotional Hunger
"Hi Martha, I allow myself to have a cookie or two after dinner with my tea. I make them myself so I know what's in them and how many points they are. I can go all day not craving anything sweet because I know I'm having my cookies. I'm a big proponent of delayed gratification.
One thing I do though while watching TV at night is to use dental picks on my teeth. I have psoriatic arthritis which has affected the joints in some fingers. Basically, the disease has destroyed the cartilage so I have a few floppy first finger joints, making it virtually impossible to floss my teeth.
The dental picks serve that purpose as well as keeping my hands occupied so I don't eat. I also buff my nails and use a facial machine too, again occupying my hands. I have in the past done crunches or leg raises during commercials as well.
One thing I learned since I joined WW is to how to recognize true hunger. I eat when I am hungry, i.e. when my stomach is growling. Hope some of these suggestions can help your readers. Regards," ~ Nancy
Reader Suggestion #5: Healthy Chocolate Beverage
"Hello Martha, I had a nighttime snacking problem for years, which kept me in a state of yo-yo dieting. So, I came up with a good solution which I have been on for years now.
I have a tall plastic smoothie glass and lid with a mixing spring in the bottom and every night, at about 8:00 PM when the evil snack thing starts, I fill this glass half full of skim milk, then the rest with cold water. In a separate cup I mix ½ cup of hot tap water, then add 2 tablespoons of pure cocoa, mix it well and then add in 3 tablespoons of stevia and add it the smoothie cup and shake it well.
This lasts me all night long. I sleep in a cool room because of my fibromyalgia. The chocolate taste keeps me away from all things bad for me like cookies, sweets, and candy bars that my husband eats. This has served me well for years. Maybe this will give someone an idea for themselves to try.
By the way, I am 69 years old now, still having to watch my weight because of fiber, PMR, COPD and a back with 18 titanium rods holding my spine together - so I cannot exercise at all and have wasting muscles. Plus I am on terrible steroid pills, what fun. So, I cannot afford to put on weight! Hope this helps! Thanks," ~Betty
5 More Tips to Curb the Cravings and Stop Eating at Night
This article has a lot of good advice including:
- Make Sure You Are Eating Enough During the Day. If you’ve been depriving your body of the nutrients and energy that it needs to succeed for hours on end, eventually it’s going to get frustrated and go searching for food!
- Figure Out What Is Really Going On. Ask yourself what you are really hungry for and figure out how to get what you really want instead of substituting with food.
- Add More Fun into Your Life. Food is one of life's great pleasures, but it shouldn't be your primary way of feeling good.
- Shake Up Your Routine. Often times we eat out of habit. If you are used to snacking in front of the television, consider reading a book or working on a puzzle instead. If tv is necessary, try pairing it with a new activity -- giving yourself a manicure, perhaps?
- Get Plenty of Sleep. Avoiding sleep deprivation can make a big difference in just about everything in your life – including your likelihood of eating mindlessly when you’re not even necessarily hungry!
I just wanted to let you know that I'm really happy to have ordered your Skinny Slow Cooker Recipes eCookbook. I've tried 3 recipes now, and have liked all of them! Also, your emails are both practical and inspirational!! Your ideas about weight loss make me feel like it's doable, instead of an insurmountable task. Thank you for sharing your gifts with us!" ~ Angel G.
I appreciate your encouraging emails so much!! Thank you for your inspiration and SmartPoints Recipes I have made several of them and my husband and I both loved them. I started WW a month ago and I'm down 9 pounds - seems to be working. Thanks again," ~ Pat G.
Hi Martha - I purchased your 28-Day Smart Start Challenge and I love it!! I don't know how to thank you. ~ Debra S.
If you liked this you might also like:
- A Simple Video Tip to Help Manage Cravings
- Letting go of Cravings with Grapefruit Essential Oil
- Tina Fey's Frozen Cool Whip "Banana Split"
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