By Dr. Abby Bleistein, Healthful Life MD
One of the most common challenges my patients face in their weight loss journey is nighttime eating. Most of my patients are hungrier, note more cravings and eat more calories at night. There are a number of reasons this patter is so common:
- Fatigue: This is a huge driver to eat because the brain recognizes fatigue and looks for a quick fix, which usually includes fast energy—calories and carbohydrates.
- Mental energy: Willpower is the mental energy it takes to make positive choices. Mental energy is strongest first thing in the morning, but like a battery, the multitude of decisions made throughout the day drain power. By the night willpower is weakened which often results in making choices not aligned with long-term goals.
- Dehydration: The human brain has difficulty differentiating between hunger and thirst, so lack of daytime hydration can lead to over-indulging at night.
- Habit: Over-eating at night can be pure habit. People often unwind from the day watching television, surfing the internet or checking social media. While they unwind, they reward themselves with little snack or treat. This pattern becomes a habit and usually ends up with the person mindlessly consuming a lot of extra calories.
What can be done to counteract nighttime eating struggles?
- Get adequate sleep. People who sleep less than 6 hours nightly have a 50% greater risk of obesity. Focus on getting 8 hours of sleep each night.
- When you are tired at night, go to bed. Do not eat to stay awake longer. Accept it is time to sleep when you are tired.
- Recharge your willpower battery through meditation practice. Use meditation in the evening to reset your mental energy and improve your choices.
- Hydrate throughout the day with lots of water.
- Practice mindful eating habits. You will find that you eat less and feel more satisfied.
Take your first step towards getting healthy from the inside out today! Visit Healthful Life MD online to learn more about our comprehensive weight loss solutions and schedule a free consultation with our in-house physician, Dr. Abby Bleistein. Or call 720-336-5681 and we can answer questions and help get your complimentary appointment on the calendar.