Yeah! I made it! I ate a clean breakfast Squeezed in a morning workout Had a clean lunch/watched portion size! Didn't eat cookies with the kids after school That's it, I'm done, Yeah me!!! OH SH** !! You mean there are still 7ish hours left of the day to get through???? What the...... And now I have to make dinner, do dishes, help with homework, do laundry... AND I'M STARVING!!! Oh forget it... I'm havin some chips.....
Oh yeah! I've been there. By the time late afternoon rolls around your willpower is gone and the hardest part of the day is ahead of you. (so not fair!)
Consequently, it is very easy to eat junk food. or just too much food from the time you get home until you go to bed.
I'm very sorry, because I truly understand how hard it is, but the reality is... No matter how good you were during the day, no matter how much exercise you did (no you can't eat extra because you worked out!!) if you do not keep your eating in check during the evening and nighttime hours you will not lose weight. PERIOD.
Here are some tips on how to stay strong during these hours...
EARLY EVENING (before dinner) You've just gotten home after a long day and your famished. But you need to prepare dinner.
It is so easy at this time of the day to snack on chips, pretzels, or anything you can get your hands on. You feel so hungry you don't care about your "diet" anymore. Plus you figure you were good today and you exercised, so a little snacking can't hurt. Not true...
Here's how to make it through without consuming a ton of calories...
1. Eat throughout the day, every two to three hours.
This will help so that you are not feeling totally famished around four or five. If you have eaten a healthy snack at around three, that consisted of protein and some healthy complex carbs, you shouldn't feel as though you are going to pass out in the late afternoon. A good option is a plain Greek yogurt with cheerios or 1/2 cup of oatmeal.
2. Prepare a salad/ or sliced veggies for yourself the night before or in the morning before you go to work.
If you have something already prepared and you come home starving, you can eat a bunch of veggies to hold you over until your healthy dinner is ready. And you won't be "forced" to eat those tortillas and salsa!
3. Make sure you don't have your favorite go tosnack (chips, etc) in the house. If it's not there, you can't eat it. I know this is hard to do when you have kids, but try to choose something to have for them that isn't your total favorite pig out food!
4. Text or facebook a friend.
It's a busy time of day, but checking in and laughing with a friend for a minute can take your mind off of wanting to snack. It can also make you feel less stressed. Texting/facebook is so perfect because you can chat for a quick second and not disrupt anyones busy schedule.
AFTER DINNER Here is how to avoid the after dinner dessert or alcoholic drink.... 1.If you can take 20 or 30 minutes for your self, after dinner is the perfect time for a walk. Go with your spouse, call a friend or just go by yourself. Even if you just have a little time to spare. It will help you take your mind off of food and give you some time to reflect on the day. When you get back you will feel like you did something good for yourself and you will feel less inclined to eat.
2. Have a cup of tea.
If you feel like having something else after you have had dinner, while your watching TV with the kids or finishing up some work around the house, make yourself a nice cup of decaf green or herbal tea. It will give you something to occupy your hands and mouth with and doesn't have many calories ( don't add tons of sugar or honey) and it can help you feel full if your dinner didn't satisfy you. This is actually one of my favorite things to do throughout the day when I know I've eaten enough but I still feel hungry!
LATE NIGHT (before bed) When the kids are finally asleep, (or at least hanging by themselves...) and your on the computer, instead of munching on a late night snack of chips do one of these instead...
1. Change your routine Sometimes we get into a habit of doing a certain activity and eating something while we are doing it. Like watching tv and eating ice cream or going on facebook and having some cookies. If you think about it, you aren't even hungry at those times, EATING becomes a major part of how you destress from the day. A real connection is made in your brain between the activity, or even the specific chair you sit in and the snack you have. (Smokers do this as well) So, break the connection by changing up your routine. Sit in a totally different part of the house or room to relax, or avoid the activity all together. For example, instead of going on facebook and eating, read a healthy living magazine or a fun book on the couch or in your bedroom.
Before bed is the perfect time to write in a journal. It's hard to write and eat at the same time (although it's possible I know!! ) If you aren't the journaling type, try filling out a food/activity journal for the day. Or make a plan for what you will eat for the next day. When you have a plan in place, it makes clean eating a whole lot easier.
3.Go to bed earlier!
If you find that when you stay up late you end up eating a lot of junk food (you shouldn't be eating after 7 anyway) go to bed earlier! readmy blog entry about how sleeping more will help you lose weight! You should be going to bed around 10-10:30 to optimize your hormonal balance. So make a plan to go to bed a little earlier everyday, facebook will be there in the morning I promise! And you will save a ton of calories!! Maybe you can coax your significant other into coming to bed early with you, and can even burn some extra calories before bed!! Woohoo!
I hope these tips help you create your own routine to eat clean when your self control is at it's lowest point of the day! Let me know if you do other things at night to avoid overeating! I'ld love to hear your ideas! I'm always looking for new ones for myself too!!
Have a great night!