The clock strikes midnight and you find yourself wandering to the fridge. We’ve all been there, but this late-night snacking could be weighing you down.
A study published in the journal Obesity found that the body’s internal clock increases cravings for sweet and salty foods at night. Researchers found that our internal clock, or circadian rhythm, causes us to feel most hungry at 8 pm and least hungry at 8 am.
Adding fuel to the fire is our tendency to watch TV or surf the web at night. Artificial lights from your TV, smartphone or computer signal your body to stay awake longer. The longer you are awake, the more likely you are to start craving a snack. Moreover, research has shown that lack of sleep can also cause you to crave these unhealthy foods during the day. Getting 7-8 hours of quality sleep a night will not only help you lose weight, but it can help you improve your overall quality of health.
How to Control It
It is important to listen to your body. These late-night cravings could possibly be a bad habit you can get yourself out of. If you associate watching TV with eating, then you are more likely to reach for a high-calorie food when you happen to sit on the couch to relax. When this happens, ask yourself: is your stomach is growling or signaling you to eat? Have you eaten in the last four hours? If your body isn’t telling you to eat and you have had a meal in the past four hours, you probably don’t need to snack.
However, if you hare genuinely hungry do not deprive yourself of food. Satisfy your late-night craving with a healthy option such as a piece of fruit or a snack high in protein, like peanut butter and apples.
It is also important to think about your eating habits during the day. Most people consume the majority of their daily calories in the second half of the day. When you are trying to lose weight you are better off eating the majority of your calories earlier in the day. Many people tend to skip breakfast as an attempt to lose weight, but starting your day with a hearty meal can help you avoid those late-night trips to the fridge. Doing this will help you reach your goals faster.
All Healthy Habits Medical Weight Loss Centers offer weight loss counseling, which can help you overcome your late-night snacking and get to your goal weight. Keeping a food journal and meeting with your counselor weekly are important tools in your journey to weight loss.