Mid-night hunger, late night eating or binge eating are a norm with you? Do you often sneak in a mid-night snack, long after you’ve had a sumptuous, big platter of dinner? While you are still digesting your dinner, you are sitting with a king size bowl of chips, this is an unhealthy eating pattern. Well, sure you are not alone many people suffer from this disturbing problem, also called sumo wrestler diet which could lead to various disorders and lifestyle diseases like obesity, thyroid, diabetes, sleeplessness and depression!
Why people put on tremendous weight is primarily because of a huge meal eaten late at night and then sleeping right after, a sure-shot way to pack in the pounds! The body stores the extra calories as fat and is unable to process or burn it.
How does this exactly happen, the cause or concern for this kind of routine is very common! After a big meal, many people crave or indulge in more junk food, from sugar cravings, to chips or sweets or other unhealthy foods. In order to fix it, you have to understand why these changes happen in your body that make you desire food late at night.
Nocturnal munching is the culprit for stubborn weight issues, besides sabotages one’s self-esteem. Boredom, restlessness, sadness or grief, frustration, anger, insomnia, loneliness, lack of outdoor time, nutritional imbalance, self-denial in terms of keeping yourself away from food or less food through the day you’ll break down at night.
One of the most important causes is an imbalance of the hormones which drive your appetite so you have to be able to balance them to avoid the binge. Four hormones that are vital, all these hormones have to be kept in balance.
1: Insulin – An important hormone that the body produces and processes the sugar in your food, hence when the insulin spikes followed by a crash after eating foods as sugar, flour and such other junk, it increases hunger. And this means it can trigger post a large meal of good food.
2: Leptin – This hormone says to your brain that you are full and don’t need more food, it acts as a brake on your food swings. And if you take in a lot of sugar, processed foods, or flour, the leptin stops working.
3. Gherkin – This is a hunger hormone produced in the stomach normalizes your appetite, it gives your body the message that you are hungry hence eat.
4. Peptide YY – This hormone produced in the intestines, signals that you are full and don’t need any other food to stuff your body.
5. Cortisol – This hormone is needed to be considered, as it is the stress hormone. When we’re stressed, the cortisol levels flare up, so we get hungrier, followed by blood sugar and insulin levels shooting up. This stage is actually the pre-diabetes or insulin resistance cycle.
End or Overcome Nighttime Eating
Steps to balance your hormones, stop the cravings, and end the nighttime binges:
A) Eat breakfast, start the day with a good, protein filled breakfast. You can include eggs, and helps balance your blood sugar. Or you can fill your stomach with a whole food protein shake, chop in some hemp seeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, almond butter, coconut butter, cranberries, blueberries, little unsweetened almond or hemp milk in the blender. You are good to go with your blood sugar in place all day long.
B) Steer clear of sugary, liquid calories like sodas, juices, lattes, sports drinks, or iced teas, they only spike your insulin and blood sugar causing further cravings.
C) Eat regularly, breakfast, lunch, and dinner with a small snack in between. Your body is a hormonal clock, and you have to eat in rhythm to keep it in balance.
E) Stress makes you overeat and put on weight, hence learn to relax. Learn to find your pause button and de-stress. Breath, meditate, listen to music, indulge in hobby, yoga, read and exercise or walk in the park to reduce stress. All this reset the hormones, balance brain chemistry eventually stop the cravings.
F) Sleep must be your priority, also if you are sleep deprived you will invariably be hungry for carbs and sugar. Hence, if you want to shed pounds, sleep it off.
G) It is a fact that we unknowingly often crave the thing we’re allergic or sensitive to, yes gluten and dairy is what we are talking about.
H) If food ads make you hungry steer clear of them. I. If you are really hungry before hitting the bed, don’t gorge on empty calories rather make yourself a healthy bowl of soup. H. You could try supplements to curb hunger, as the natural molecules balance your blood sugar and your insulin that help ban the cravings. Omega-3 fats, especially fish oil can really help. Vitamin D also helps regulate hormones and balance insulin. Amino acids can also help balance your hormones, stop your cravings.
Expert Indira Thounaojam says, ‘Midnight snacking is on an alarming rise thanks to stressful life, exhaustion, easy access to junk, lack of time and relationships troubles. Also sometimes your body sends you food cravings when it is really thirsty, you could try hot water with lemon, ginger, a little real maple syrup and a dash of cayenne pepper as it is cleansing, detoxing and stimulating to kill the munch. If you brush your teeth and floss immediately after dinner or before you go to bed. You will not wake up to grab a bite. You could try burning aromatic candles or incense which could curb your appetite sans chocolate and vanilla aromas or even keep lavender pack under your pillow and sniff. Read up an interesting book or clean up the house when you get night cravings to keep the urge at bay! Get outside every single morning or evening for thirty minutes to an hour could totally change your life. Don’t stack your fridge with junk food at all, only healthy food that way you don’t over indulge.’