Have you ever been told not to eat late at night because that’s how you gain weight? And it wasn’t just about eating extra food: it was about eating specifically late at night? Oh yes, truly that is when the voracious calorie monsters come out at night to breed. There they stand, arm in arm, to replicate a hundred fold as you lie there in innocent sleep, only to awake to an extra, totally-uncalled-for belly fold or striation of cellulite!
Nah. That’s not true. (But gosh, I’d start installing security cameras and setting up booby traps if it were.)
Calories are calories, and 3500 of ‘em is one pound of fat. While exercise is vital to live a healthy life, you must get in control of your diet. For the most part, that means eschewing high-calorie foods… and eating fewer of them on a regular basis.
So let me show you why eating at night is so… sinister… so deadly–in the form of melodrama.
You wake. It’s 12:37 A.M. and you are in a sleepy stupor, perhaps a stumbling one; and even though you have lived in your house for years, you’d be doomed to navigate through it with your eyes closed or in the pitch black, because you’d hit every wall and stub all your toes (in my experience…).
(Or you walk through your house like Frankenstein with stretched-longer-than-usual arms to get your bearings.)
You slowly navigate to the one place in the house that is your haven: the kitchen. You’ve arrived in the dark chambers of the culinary palace, careful not to make a peep on the wooden floor or frigid tile to wake someone who may know that you’re snacking at night.
Now it’s time! Light of light emerges from the vertical rift between both sides of the refrigerator door: It’s the pearly gates of food within, and you are eager, so eager to know what’s inside (even though you do, because you stock it).
Regardless whether the treats are novel or drab, fresh or stale, you devour all in sight and cloy yourself into oblivion. You feel great!
Haha, no… You feel miserable and trapped. You might feel like it’s a whirlpool of appetite that will drown you; and you left the floaties in the car, didn’t ya?
But be of hope! We have some tips to help you control your appetite as you wield the shield against the power of late-night snacking–except against Pop-Tarts. I… I have no defense against those.
Late Night Hacks
Brush your teeth after dinner
Yeah, yeah. Hygiene. We’re serious, though. This tactic is easy to implement but not always supremely effective (depending on the person’s inclination toward hygiene). It usually works for those who don’t like to eat after brushing your teeth before going to bed. Eating after brushing is almost like drinking orange juice with the faint taste of toothpaste in your mouth. Gross.
Brushing your teeth, [hopefully] part of the phase when getting ready for bed, is that penultimate act of sleep that tells you and your voracious, greedy appetite that you have a date with your pillow, and the refrigerator needs to get a life.
“I want a snack, but I’d have to brush my teeth again… I don’t wanna do that. I’ll just go to bed.” BOOM. Victory.
Not everyone likes the sentence above. It may be a menace to you—but if you’re looking to refrain from snacking, it may be the best thing you can do. Not only does alcohol have a sly ability to sneak in calories here and there without you knowing it, it also surrenders you of any ounce of self-discipline you had before you took that sip or chug… or keg-stand.
A glass of wine or a swift cold one may sound wonderful after dinner (or before), but it’s not going to be your friend when you realize the next morning that you unnecessarily ate two handfuls of Cheez-Its when you really weren’t hungry. (But they were good and you know it.)
“Now that I can think soberly, I realize I’m not really hungry: I just like the cheesy dust that adorns my fingertips after a late-night date with Cheez-Its.”
Drink more water
If you can, drink water only. Even though it is translucent, tastes like nothing (except maybe a few minerals to the water connoisseurs), and has zero calories, it still fills your stomach. Now you may be like me and find it nearly impossible to drink and eat at the same time. That cup of water may be sitting there, staring at you while you eat your food one piece at a time: but once the meal is over, only then it will get drunk. It is worthy.
But if you’re not like me, try giving the water/healthy beverage of choice some attention before or while you eat. Much like eating a salad to fill your stomach before you gorge on meat or heavier foods, water will sate you enough to give you discipline as you eat. It will mean that you will eat less potato salad when you know you’re not hungry—as it takes roughly twenty minutes for your stomach to alert you that you are actually full.
“Ohh, so I wasn’t hungry enough to eat three fistfuls of food—I was just compensating for thirst? I should work on that daily water quota!”
Be active in the day
I know, it’s difficult to live an active lifestyle when we’re so busy all the time; and if you add in a full work schedule or a quiver of children, you hardly have time to take intermittent sips of your wine (Just kidding… kind of.). When you exercise, especially to the point of sweat, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. I’m sure you heard of what these babies can do for you, but I’ll tell ya.
Endorphins are by and large pain relievers, like that good feeling you get when you go on a run. But, once you finish the run, when your legs turn into Jell-o, you need someone to carry you, and you forgot how to function. You’re sore. The natural chemicals were exuded in you to relieve pain so that you can continue exercising and pushing your body past its comfortable limits. Once the endorphins run out, though: Let the hurt come in. (It’s the same thing that happens when you laugh so hard that your stomach hurts: the endorphins ran out.)
Exercising in the day will rob you of your excess energy you get from your food, and that’s good! You won’t be restless when dusk comes, and the energy needed for the arduous walk to the fridge to get another handful o’ chips well be much harder to muster, considering your body already used it.
“If I were active earlier in the day; then the leer of that cake on the counter that *SOMEONE* bought won’t mesmerize me anymore because I’ll be too tired to get up.” Muahaha.
These are a few quick tips to help you control your appetite and defend against the midnight siege upon your appetite! What are some other life hacks you’ve used that have been successful?