If you struggle with late-night snacking, this article will show you how to stop eating in the middle of the night.
You probably know that eating in the middle of the night causes weight gain.
What you may not know is that this poor habit increases the risk of diabetes and heart disease.
A study by the University of Pennsylvania found that night eating can lead to increased weight, increased cholesterol, and lower fat metabolism.
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The researchers asked nine healthy adults to eat three meals and two snacks between 8 am and 7 pm for eight weeks.
They were then told to eat the same between noon and 11 pm for another eight weeks.
All participants were asked to sleep between 11 pm and 9 am.
When the participants ate later at night, their weight, insulin, glucose, and cholesterol increased.
Eating during the day made their bodies produce more leptin, a hormone that made them feel fuller for longer.
Eating late at night can also cause sleep problems, acid reflux, and make you hungrier the next day.
Here are some tips you can use to stop late night eating.
How to Stop Eating in the Middle of The Night
1. Figure Out Why You’re Eating in the Middle of the Night
Night eating syndrome has complex causes.
There is still a lot of research to be done in the field but some of the recurring causes are anxiety, depression, insomnia.
They may interfere with your rest and trigger compulsive eating.
Find other ways to deal with these problems instead of using food.
A simple activity like walking can boost your mood and ease your depression.
2. Eat Enough During the Day
Most people don’t realize that a low-calorie diet can cause late-night eating.
If this is the cause of your night eating, find a routine that ensures you eat enough during the day.
Ensure that you eat enough protein and veggies. And get enough sleep.
Studies have shown that irregular sleep can increase your appetite and chances of binge eating in the middle of the night.
3. Plan Your Meals Beforehand
Getting a meal plan can help you eat enough during the day.
Your meal plan can be based on a diet. For instance, the Mediterranean diet which involves fruit, veggies and fatty fish.
It can also be a plant-based diet which concentrates on leafy greens, legumes, and fruits.
A meal plan reduces the anxiety of choosing what to eat and reduces the chances of eating unhealthy foods.
Studies have shown meal plans also have a positive impact on binge eating because they reduce the impulsiveness of eating.
4. Get Support
It is important to get support from a professional or family members.
Studies show that seeking professional support reduced the risk of night eating.
Getting a support network can allow you to figure out what makes you eat in the middle of the night and can help you quit the habit.
You may also want to keep a food diary. It will help you identify what triggers your night eating.
5. Reduce the Anxiety and Stress in Your Life
As I mentioned above, stress is one of the leading causes of night eating.
Chronic stress can sometimes increase your appetite and make you crave food in the middle of the night.
Reducing anxiety in your day to day life can help you eat properly during the day and avoid waking up at night to eat.
Studies have shown that relaxation techniques such as meditation and walking are helpful in the treatment of night eating syndrome.
6. Eat High-Fiber Foods During the Day
You have to eat lots of fiber if you want to stay full between dinner and bedtime.
As you may know, fiber helps reduce hunger and curbs cravings.
Foods like leafy green vegetables, complex carbs, legumes, and fruits will help you stay full.
The worst mistake you can make is eating processed foods for dinner. They cause blood sugar fluctuations, which increase hunger after a few hours.
7. Add Protein to Every Meal
Eating protein at every meal helps curb hunger.
Studies have shown that having a higher protein intake at every meal keeps you satisfied.
This reduces the chances of late night eating.
Another study found that eating many high protein foods cut cravings by 60% and the desire to eat at night by 50%.
High protein foods you can add your meal include eggs, nuts, chicken, oats, cheese, milk, lean beef, fatty fish, legumes etc.
8. Remove Junk Food
One of the ways to ensure you don’t get cravings is to remove temptation from your sight.
You will be less likely to binge on the unhealthy snacks if they aren’t in your house.
When you have the occasional ice cream, eat a cone when you’re out. Don’t buy a tub of ice cream to store in your freezer.
Keep healthy snacks in your house like fruits, natural yogurt, and nuts.
9. Stay Active at Night
If you’re keen, you will notice that you usually binge eat when you are bored.
Find a hobby or physical activity that can keep you busy at night and reduce chances of binge eating.
Watching TV doesn’t count as a fun activity. It can actually increase chances of eating in the middle of the night.
Engage in activities like reading, writing, helping kids do homework, knitting, and so on.
10. Stop Using Electronics Before Bed
If you remove elements that can disrupt your sleep you are less likely to wake up at night to eat.
The blue light emitted from computers, TVs and mobile phones disrupts the production of the sleep hormone melatonin.
As I mentioned earlier, disruption of sleep hormones can affect your appetite and stress levels.
Make sure you get a good night’s sleep by avoiding light-emitting devices just before bed.
11. Talk to Your Doctor
After identifying the causes of night eating, you can visit a doctor to get advice on how to stop eating in the middle of the night.
The symptoms of night eating are:
- Binge eating right before bed or continually eating during the night
- Feeling guilty, anxious or upset while eating
- Difficulty falling or staying asleep
- Uncontrollable desire to eat during the night
- Eating over half your daily calories after dinner
- Little or no appetite in the morning
- Feeling nauseous in the morning
- Excessive weight gain
- Feeling out of control over the ability to stop
The truth is it will be much easier for you to lose belly fat once you stop eating in the middle of the night.
However, you may need a customized fat loss plan if you want to have a flat stomach in the shortest time humanly possible.
You will even discover the 5 veggies that can help flatten your stomach today.
Do you know other ways to stop eating in the middle of the night?