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FreshStart Check-In, And 11 Ways To Stem 'Nocturnal Foraging'

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Dear FreshStarters — How goes it? And what are your goals for the coming week? Please report in the comments below! And in case you missed them, check out the check-ins from last week, which include a death-defying 5 a.m. wake-up time for Barbara's runs. In particular, Coach Beth shared ten great ideas for fighting that urge to eat at night --- and just today, I see that The New York Times adds its heft to that worthy goal. The "Really?" column reports here:

At the end of the study, the scientists found that the late sleepers had higher body mass indexes, typically downed more calories at dinner, and ate fewer fruits and vegetables. The late sleepers also slept fewer hours, a habit that is generally linked to weight gain. But even after adjusting for these and other variables, the scientists discovered that eating after 8 p.m. was associated with a higher body mass index, suggesting that late-evening calories are, for some reason, more hazardous to your weight.
Recent studies suggest that eating at night may in fact lead to more weight gain, though it’s not clear why.

Personally, I could tell them why. When I eat at night, my fatigue extends to my willpower, and I easily down hundreds upon hundreds of calories. Here are Beth's great tips, and she's looking for more:

1. Do not buy anything in the grocery store that tempts you into the "nocturnal foraging" trap (as one of my clients so nicely labeled it).
2. Repeat the mantra "Eat after eight and gain weight," which is a quote from Dr. Pamela Peeke.
3. Chew peppermint gum instead of eating at night.
4. Drink an 8 ounce glass of water with lemon instead of snacking.
5. Journal about your feelings during the times you want to reach for the night time snack.

6. Or you could call a friend or take a walk around the block or house.
7. Examine your night time routine--is there a way to alter it so that it is more conducive to an early bedtime?
8. Ask, 'Why do I want to snack right now?' and answer your question out loud or discuss it with family or friends as you are experiencing the urge to eat.
9. Snack on an apple with peanut butter. The apple and protein will help keep you feel full. Or pick another healthy alternative for a snack that is nutritious and also delicious.
10. Select a finite amount for a snack--a handful of almonds.
11 Whenever you get the urge to eat at night, bite into a lemon or brush your teeth.

Do an experiment this week and try a number of these options and see what works best for you. You could keep a little log or diary on it. Have fun with it! These are all suggestions that have come from other clients. I am very curious to see what strategy will work for you.

And she notes: These are 10 brainstorming ideas and we are looking for more strategies. There are so many different ways around this problem. It is best to find what resonates with you. Try different tactics until you find one that works. Also, having a variety of tactics is useful. What works Monday night might not work Wednesday night. Thus, filling your wellness "tool box" with different "tools" is wise! Sometimes you need a hammer and some times you need a wrench--depending on the job.

My personal check-in: This is surely influenced by monthly cyclical changes, but when I ventured onto the scale this morning for my weekly weigh-in, I was back to my starting weight from four weeks ago. Hmmm. I'm not upset — very. I'm feeling light-years better than I did when we started, more energetic and less achey, and I swear my stomach is flatter. But I'm wondering if Coach Beth might want to talk a bit about "set-point" next? Anybody else on the same page?

This program aired on May 17, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.

Carey Goldberg Twitter Editor, CommonHealth
Carey Goldberg is the editor of WBUR's CommonHealth section.


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