Evening and Night-Time Snacking

There are multiple reasons why you could be finding it difficult to not snack in the evening. First be curious about which one (or ones 😃) are true for you.

#1 You have an insulin imbalance

If you are regularly eating refined sugar and refined carbohydrates such as flour, your body likely has an insulin imbalance.

In order to deal with the excess glucose (sugar and refined carbohydrates break down to glucose very quickly) in your blood, your body needs to produce more higher than natural insulin levels to move the glucose from your blood to your cells to be used as energy and to also store the excess as fat.

Whilst your body is in fat storing mode it cannot be simultaneously in fat accessing/breaking down mode. So if your body is still storing fat when your cells need more energy from glucose it cannot access your own fat reserves for that purpose and instead will send hunger signals to your brain so that you eat again and it can get the energy it needs that way. This is a vicious cycle.

The solution is to help your body become fat adapted. That is that you cut out or reduce the amount of sugars and refined carbohydrates that you eat and retrain your body how to access your own fat reserves when it needs energy, instead of your body sending hunger signals to your brain.

Doing this can feel difficult, you will feel hungry for a period, but once your body is working efficiently you will feel less hungry generally and will have lots more energy.

#2 Your primal brain has become accustomed to getting dopamine from snacks in the evening

Our primal brain (the part that we share with other animals) has the role of motivating us to seek pleasure, avoid pain and expend minimal energy. It loves snacks and thinks they’re incredibly important to our survival.

Why? Because most treat snack food is processed and concentrated. When we eat an apple, we get a little dopamine (the neurotransmitter) hit that feels good but not overly good. When we eat our go to favourite treat snack, whether that be crisps, cheese, chocolate, biscuits we get a pretty big dopamine hit because of the high concentration of sugar, salt or fat. Our primal brain thinks that the bigger the dopamine hit we get from eating a certain food, the more important that food is for our survival. And on top of that, the more dopamine our brain gets, the more it wants, and thinks it needs, just like taking a drug.

And then when we repeat this cycle where our brain demands a treat and reward it over and over it becomes habitual, and just like driving a car to a regular destination and we get there without really thinking about it, we find ourselves eating our go to snacks in the evening without really thinking about it.

The good news is that we can re-teach our brain to not demand and seek out these treats. And we do this by making decisions ahead of time with our human executive thinking brain. So be very precise about exactly what you will do tomorrow night and for the rest of the week today. You must plan at least 24 hours in advance.

So, whether you decide to only snack on certain nights, or to have a healthy snack, or to not snack at all (snacking is something that we do to feel better, it’s totally unnecessary) decide in advance and stick to it.

Now just like a toddler in the supermarket demanding sweets, your brain is going to complain at first. It’s going to be very demanding and convince you that the snack is a very good idea. But just like a toddler in the supermarket, if you give in, it’s going to whine and complain just as much, or even more next time. So just like you would a toddler, lovingly ignore or talk to your primal brain, explain why you know best and that it will be okay.

The more you do this work, the quieter your complaining brain will get. Just like a toddler learning that sweets on trips to the supermarket aren’t going to happen so he/she stops asking, your brain will stop suggesting or demanding evening snacks.

#3 You are avoiding negative feelings and emotions

Maybe you want to eat because you are lonely, bored or stressed.

The work that you need to do here is, learning how to feel your feelings. A feeling is a vibration in your body. It’s not something you need to avoid once you learn how to process it. Most of us have never been taught how to feel and process our feelings. We don’t acknowledge them or think about negative emotion in that way. We just do something to try and feel better. But once we know how to acknowledge them and feel them, we can process them so that they dissipate.

You get to choose between the discomfort of processing a negative emotion in the moment vs. the discomfort of gaining, or not loosing weight, after the fact.

Whichever of these (and it may be more than one) that you identify with, approach the changes you want to make with love for yourself.

No self-despair or frustration allowed.

Be curious. Be compassionate. Be patient. Start slow and love yourself through to balancing your insulin, changing your habits or feeling your feelings.

If you would like to know how you can work with me to get help and support with this work, let's talk. Choose a day/time that works for you on my calendar. https://sparklediscovery.as.me 



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