Tag Archives: overeating

Controlling Nighttime Eating


(Note: This article was submitted to me for publication on my blog, and while it does not precisely mirror my teaching, I think it is a worthwhile contribution. My inclusion of it here should not be taken as an endorsement of all that it suggests. – William Anderson, LMHC )

by Sandra Bankers

Many people often find themselves snacking at night, even if they are not feeling particularly hungry. Although we’ve mentioned in a previous TAM post that it doesn’t matter what time of the day you eat, eating late at night can still be problematic. More often than not, it can lead to you consuming more calories than you actually need.

Furthermore, Healthline specified that eating at night is connected with certain eating disorders. With that in mind, it’s easier to understand why it’s imperative to control your bedtime eating habits.

You need to remember is that there is often an underlying reason why you have an urge to eat even if you’re not hungry. Experience Life identified some common causes which include depriving yourself of food throughout the day; not having a set meal plan; or being used to eating at that time. The latter may also be stress-induced, or brought about by special instances such as family dinners.

In addition, lack of sleep and boredom may also trigger you to eat at odd times of the day, including late in the evening. The good news is that there’s a corresponding solution in line with the cause.

For most people, eating at night is something they’ve gotten used to over the years. Overeating is usually caused by developed habits so you will need to change your routine to get around this. Look for activities that you can do at this specific time instead of munching on food. For instance, you can read a book or watch a movie during the usual period where you eat to keep yourself distracted. Changing your behavior and mindset is at the heart of The Anderson Method and doing so will help you keep yourself from returning to your late-night eating habit, eventually helping you lose and/or maintain weight. Distracting yourself is also a good strategy if you find yourself snacking at night due to boredom or restlessness.

Likewise, if night-time eating is your way of bonding with your loved ones, you can simply look for other ways to have fun. For instance, you can spend the night bowling or playing miniature golf.

On the other hand, eating a lot because you deprived yourself of food during the day can easily be remedied by eating properly planned meals during the day. Fitness Magazine quotes Milton Strokes, the spokesperson of the American Dietetic Association, who clarified that “by shifting calories to the morning hours, you will ensure that your night-time cravings don’t have as much of a pull.” It’s a good idea to make a meal plan on what you will need throughout the day so you can be sure you are getting enough nutrients and sustenance.

Similarly, craving for food late at night because of lack of sleep can easily be remedied by getting at least 6 or 7 hours of sleep per day. According to Psychology Today, depriving yourself of sleep can trigger overeating, especially of fatty and high-calorie foods, so make sure you get sufficient sleep to avoid this from happening. It’s worth mentioning as well that there are also certain types of food and nutrients that can help you doze off. The better sleep guide on Leesa featured a list of elements which includes food rich in magnesium, potassium, and B vitamins. They have various effects on the body such as for relaxing muscles and nerves or inducing the release of the sleep hormone Melatonin. However, make sure to regulate the amount that you eat. Otherwise, you run the risk of gaining more weight.

Finally, if the reason for your eating at night is stress-related, one effective solution is to increase the amount of fiber and protein that you have at dinner. MedicineNet.com specified their benefits: the former helps you feel full, while the latter helps keep you from feeling hunger pangs even late at night.

Exercising is also a good option for you to combat stress. You can work out before heading home once you leave the office. This strategy can also help you tire yourself out so you can fall asleep more easily.

How to Lose Weight and Still Eat Everything You Like.

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Most people think you have to deny yourself your favorite foods and stick to a rigid diet to lose weight. On the contrary, the key to learning how to lose weight permanently is learning how to eat and enjoy everything you like in the right way, not making yourself go without. You even learn how to “splurge” on the weekend without gaining weight. This is not only possible, but is absolutely necessary if you want to lose weight permanently.

(The author is a psychotherapist who lost 140 lbs. when he developed his methods,  and he’s kept it off for over 30 years. Read about his method in his book at the right, or listen to his audiobook, free sample provided here.)

I was overweight and obese my entire life, well over 300 pounds at times and a miserable failure at diets and weight loss plans. I had given up more times than you can count. Fortunately, I kept looking for an answer and at the age of thirty-three, I finally learned how to lose weight for good and lost 140 pounds at a pretty fast clip. I’ve kept the weight off pretty easily for over thirty years now, and I eat everything I like. I don’t eat diet food and I don’t exercise like a health nut. I’m a Licensed Counselor now, I’ve helped thousands to succeed like I have, and I’ve written a popular and respected book about it, The Anderson Methodavailable in paperback, Kindle, and audiobook.

The truth is that there are no “bad” foods or “bad” calories. Managed healthfully, they are all good! I eat everything I like, and I’ve learned how to lose weight while going out to dinner, to parties, on vacation and how to have drinks and desserts and still lose weight pretty quickly. Here’s why and how it works:

If, over a month’s period of time, you’ve eaten fewer calories than you’ve burned in normal activities, regardless of what you’ve eaten and when you’ve eaten it, you’ll lose weight. You’ll lose weight even if you’ve eaten all your favorite foods, even if they are the things that the “diet experts” say you can’t eat.

If you’ve been listening to diet nonsense on TV, in the magazines and at lunch, you may be skeptical of this, but this is science. It’s easy to verify at any university or college. Your body doesn’t operate on a 24 hour schedule. A five foot four inch woman needs an average of approximately 1400 to 1800 calories per day, depending on the individual, and will not gain weight if she doesn’t exceed that. However, if she has habits where she averages that most of the time, and exceeds it only occasionally, which is very easy, she’ll get overweight and constantly gain weight! If you’re a normal American, this has probably been happening to you.

Instead of thinking of it as a 1800 calorie per day daily budget, think 12,600 calories per week. If you keep your weekdays at 1200, you’d have to eat more than 3800 calories per day on the weekends to gain weight! Keeping your weekdays austere gives you the ability to fit in anything without going “over budget”. A piece of cake is about 350 calories. A glass of wine is about 100. A normal serving of lasagna is about 500. If you think you can’t fit those things in on a day with a budget of 1800, we need to talk about that.

However, getting these new habits in place isn’t a matter of “will power” or “just making up your mind”. There is a scientific method in how to lose weight and keep it off, but it is not so much the science of nutrition as it is the science of psychology and behavioral medicine. Will power and self discipline were never within my grasp before I discovered the methods I teach my clients, the methods of Behavioral Medicine I call Therapeutic Psychogenics.

Reprogramming habits is the result of using these therapeutic techniques, methods of behavioral therapy. Once the habits are in place, we get a different result. We become and stay the weight we want to be. You’ve seen other people do it, those people who seem to eat just like you or worse and stay slim. You can do it too! Now, we eat only our favorite foods. We waste no calories on mediocre food. Our “diet” can include every kind of meat, potatoes, pasta, sauce, wine, drinks and even desserts that you can think of, as long as they are good enough for the calories they “cost”. We deny ourselves nothing.

There is a proven way to “reprogram” your habits so the calories come out right and it becomes automatic and habitual, even easy to maintain for many. Learning how to lose weight permanently is not impossible. It’s just work, and not hard work at that.

You don’t have to live a miserable life of diet food and torturous exercise to solve your weight problem. In fact, permanent weight loss is the result of learning a more pleasurable way of living that includes some of your most cherished foods and activities, a way that becomes habitual and normal for you. You can even become one of those infuriating people who seem to eat all the wrong things and “have no problem”. Read my book and you’ll truly find out how to lose weight.