Sunday, December 27, 2009

Early to bed

I suppose this should go in the "what I did right" post from last week. One big problem that I know many people have is late night eating. I go to bed really early and that helps enormously. It causes other problems, such as not having time to do things and not spending time with my husband, but I get so tired and grumpy in the evenings that sometimes it's better for everyone if I'm asleep. It seems to me we are born with a certain proclivity for being a morning person or a night owl and there is little that can be done to change that.

At any rate on the rare occasion that I am up later than normal, such as last night, and end up being awake 5 or so hours after eating dinner of course I'm starving.

I wouldn't tell the whole world to follow my lead and go to bed early. But it would help to space out meals during the evening just as you do during the day so you don't go long stretches between meals. So if you do stay up really late as a habit, then plan an evening snack for a certain time for before you get out of control where-is-that goddam-ice-cream-scoop-hungry - something reasonable and high in protein such as yogurt or a hard boiled egg. You just need enough food to get you to finish your tasks and fall asleep, it doesn't need to be a whole meal - I would say something like 100-150 calories. And of course it helps to differentiate between stress eating and actual hunger.

For me planned meal and snack times combined with planned calorie amounts really helped me stay on track (eg breakfast, 8:30am, 6 points). I know it sounds really regimented but it eliminated the irritating guess-work and doubt and let me focus on picking the kinds of foods I wanted to eat instead. So instead of feeling regimented it felt kind of freeing. I was free from doubt-filled conversations in my head...I rarely had that "well if I eat this, will I be hungry later? Is this too big a lunch? Should I eat a snack now?" discussion in my head.  It was more, "Well for 2 more points (100 cals) I can have a slice of cheese or a banana or a piece of bread."  If I were a nighttime person, I would have added that evening snack in as one of my planned eating times and tried to structure night time eating as opposed to purely fighting it.

Despite the above post (which I wrote this morning) Today of course, I completely messed up - getting over hungry, not planning well and eating way too much pizza at lunch time. But now I can handle the over-run and control myself for the rest of the day. Partly because my stomach is so used to eating a certain amount of food that I'm still full hours later, and partly because I've been doing this a long time now so I can be slightly more flexible about what I eat when than I was during my 'losing' period. I'm more confident in my ability to sort it out by the end of the day.

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