Are you curious about how to stop overeating at night? It’s finally time to wind down for bed after dinner, but instead of feeling ready to sleep, you’re craving more food.
Don’t worry, you aren’t alone! Late-night snacking habits are extremely common and can lead to a vicious cycle. Snacking when you aren’t hungry, especially at night, can really slow down your weight loss results.
In order to break the habit of overeating at night, you need to replace it with a new one. Finding other ways to de-stress before bed can help you stay on track with your health goals.
Keep reading to learn why you may be eating more at night and seven ways to prevent overeating so you feel your best and experience greater weight loss.
Why Am I Overeating At Night?
Overeating means eating past a feeling of comfortable fullness (typically a 6-7 on the hunger scale).
There are a variety of reasons why you’re overeating at night. It’s essential to identify why this is occurring so you can effectively resolve the issue.
The most common reasons why you may be overeating at night include:
- You aren’t eating enough during the day, or your dinner was too small
- You grew up snacking throughout the night
- You didn’t eat foods that satisfied you
- You’re feeling bored or emotional
7 Ways to Stop Overeating at Night
Now, I am going to get into seven ways you can prevent overeating at night to avoid unwanted weight gain.
#1 Eat enough throughout the day
Ensuring you’re eating enough throughout the day is one of the best ways to prevent overeating.
When you don’t eat enough calories during the day (intentionally or not), your body becomes starved and ravenous, leading to increased hunger signals.
To avoid this, make sure you aren’t skipping meals and have food options on hand that you can grab if you get busy.
Remember, if you consistently feel hungry after eating, underlying factors could be going on.
#2 Ask yourself what you’re craving
It is crucial to not only eat enough but also to eat foods that feel satisfying to you. Your satisfaction factor relies on whether you’re eating foods that sound good to you at that moment.
If your body is craving something salty and you eat something sweet, it’s likely your body will still feel hungry after in search of what you were initially craving. This is why restrictive diets don’t work long-term – eventually, your body calls out for what it really wants and feels more out of control with that food.
Before you make dinner at night, ask yourself what you’re craving. Even if you have to stray from your original meal plan, that’s okay! Honor your cravings in that moment so you nip that craving in the bud.
#3 Balance your meals with protein and fiber
Another way to prevent overeating at night is to ensure you’re eating balanced meals. A balanced meal combines protein, whole-grain carbs, healthy fats, and fresh produce.
Two nutrients in particular to prioritize are protein and fiber. Not eating enough of these two throughout the day can leave you feeling hungry and unsatisfied.
You can find dietary fiber in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Additionally, quality protein sources include fish, meat, eggs, low-fat dairy, and soy.
#4 Keep quick and convenient options on hand
Being busy and constantly on the go can make eating enough throughout the day hard. Simply having quick and convenient options on hand that you can grab when you’re busy is extremely helpful.
A few of my favorites are protein bars, fresh fruit, cut-up vegetables and hummus, nuts, plain Greek yogurt, and cottage cheese.
#5 Clean out the junk food
If you have your favorite junk food in your pantry, you’re more likely to reach for it. While these foods are okay in moderation, keeping them available 24/7 will make it harder to break your bad habits.
Until you’re able to cultivate a better sense of self-control, it may be better to stop buying junk food and save it for special occasions. Don’t make things harder than they have to be!
#6 Keep hydrated
Sometimes, thirst has a sneaky way of being disguised as hunger. If you aren’t drinking enough water throughout the day, you may feel more hungry when nighttime rolls around.
Focus on staying hydrated with both fluids and electrolytes to quench your thirst and prevent dehydration. There is not one set fluid guideline, but most health organizations recommend at least 9 cups of water per day for women and 13 cups of water per day for men.
You can also get in some of this fluid from foods high in water content, such as watermelon, cucumbers, and celery.
If you’re active, you’ll probably need even more than this, so it’s important to stay on top of it.
#7 Distract yourself and stay out of the kitchen
If you’re someone who eats out of boredom, distracting yourself can be an effective way to prevent overeating. A good rule of thumb is to stay out of the kitchen!
It is easy to grab for snacks and treats if you’re looking at food and thinking about it. Instead, clean up right after dinner and hang out in other areas of the house for the night.
5 Non-Food Ways To De-stress at Night
The best way to break a bad habit is to replace it with a better one.
Here are 5 of the top things you can do instead of eating at night. Keep in mind these are just a few ideas to get you started, but ultimately, what works best is very unique to you!
#1 Get some movement in
Instead of reaching for late-night snacks, try getting in movement instead.
Even a simple walk around the block or a 10-minute stretching video can help take your mind off food and prepare for bed.
#2 Drink your favorite tea
Grab a cup of your favorite tea after dinner if you’re still craving food. Drinking tea gives your hands and taste buds something to focus on.
A few of my favorite before-bed teas include vanilla chamomile, ginger, and lavender. Breathing in the smell of the tea is also very relaxing and can help lessen any feelings of stress you’re having.
#3 Read a book
Reading a book is an excellent way to destress for the night. You can snuggle up on the couch or even run a hot bath and read there.
#4 Call a friend and catch up
Call a family member or friend to talk and catch up. Sometimes, unwinding in the presence of someone else can feel supportive, fun, and peaceful.
The key here is not to send just a text message but to have a real conversation!
#5 Calm yourself
Partaking in any non-food activity that calms your mind and brings you peace can help you destress.
Examples include meditation, listening to calming music, or just sleeping if you’re tired.
Overeating at night can lead to excess calories, making it hard to stay on track with your health and weight loss goals.
The best way to prevent overeating is to ensure you’re eating enough throughout the day and are enjoying foods that feel satisfying to you. Further, it’s important to incorporate other non-food-related habits to help you destress at night.
If you’re struggling with unhealthy eating habits at night and it’s hindering your weight loss progress, I can help you get back in control of your habits.
My sustainable weight loss program is designed to nourish your body and mind during the day and address stress and triggers for overeating.
To see if it’s a good fit for you, sign up for a free introductory call here!