How to Cut Out Night-Time Snacking after Bariatric Surgery
Night-time snacking is a common habit with bariatric patients for many reasons, and rarely ever has anything to do with physical hunger. The impulse to eat late at night is usually an emotional response; people who struggle with their weight often eat to interrupt feelings of stress, guilt, anger, sadness, etc.
Emotional eating is often used as a distraction to divert attention away from what’s bothering you, and in turn, can become a mindless habit Here are some helpful tips to cut out or decrease nighttime snacking during your weight loss journey.
Keep a Food Diary
If you are someone who snacks at night due to emotional eating, try keeping a food diary. Log your mood each time you eat to identify if you’re eating out of physical hunger, or if it’s emotional. Look for any patterns: what are you eating? Were you in a bad mood? What kinds of food are you eating?
Set Yourself Up for Success
Many people gravitate to their comfort foods in emotional times. Unfortunately, these aren’t always healthy options, as high-fat and high-sugar foods can affect the same part of your brain that manages stress.
In other words, if you’re prone to late-night snacking or binge eating, don’t keep hard to resist food in your home. Instead, have some healthier alternatives on hand when you do feel a salty or sweet craving coming on. Fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts, and cheese are good alternatives in moderation, of course.
Know When You’re Physically Hungry
It’s important to listen to your body during your weight loss journey in order to distinguish what your physical symptoms of hunger are. Everyone is different, but here are a few examples of what you could feel when you’re physically hungry:
- Emptiness in the stomach
- Rumbling or growling in the stomach
- Light-headedness, or headache
- Lack of concentration
It’s recommended to have 3 meals per day and one snack. However, it’s important to have portion-controlled, nutritious meals to keep you full and nourished in between. Following a schedule and eating 3 nutritious meals a day can help you stay in control of your diet and avoid impulsive late-night snacking.