Most diets fail because of night time binge eating – Simple steps that will help you lose weight
Getting to a healthy weight and staying there is always a struggle for most of us. Here are some tips that can help stay at a weight that is healthy for you. If you have struggled with nighttime binge eating, then you are not alone. Experts estimate the numbers of nighttime binge eaters in the millions.
You have been good all day. You ate a good breakfast of oatmeal or fruit followed by a healthy lunch of lean chicken, vegetables and brown rice. You had a decent snack at 4 o’clock and are very proud of how you made it through the day…but then after an hour or so after dinner your brain starts sending a signal to get up and get that chocolate ice cream or the bag of homemade cookies. Night time binge eating is a serious affair. Researchers are now finding out that the number one reason of gaining weight is what you snack after dinner.
Losing weight and maintaining it is simple, yet we make it so complicated
First find out your ideal weight according to your height and weight. For example if you are 5 feet 9 inches, your ideal weight according to the Weight Watcher’s Height and Weight Chart is between is 135 to 169 lbs. Next is to calculate your Body Mass Index. If you weigh let’s say 148 pounds, then your BMI is 22.
Experts consider a BMI below 20 to be underweight and a BMI of 20 to 25 healthy. Anything above 25 to 30 is considered overweight and above 30 means obese.
If you are above your weight range then losing weight could decrease your risk for many serious health issues like blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease.
The best way to maintain the proper weight and BMI is to sit down with a nutritionist and find out exactly how many calories you can consume. This is done by taking into account your daily activities such as walking, yoga, running, sitting, tennis etc. Let’s say that after looking at the above facts, you are recommended to eat between 2000 to 2200 calories to maintain your current weight or 1800 to 2000 calories to get rid of the five to ten pounds of excess weight.
Exercise is linked to Weight Management and overall Health. Calories are units of energy. It takes 3,500 calories to burn off one pound of excess weight. That’s 500 calories a day to lose one pound a week. You simply cut your calories by 250 a day and walk 30-45 minutes a day at a brisk pace. The walking burns about 250 calories. By doing these two simple things you’ll lose a pound a week! That’s five pounds a month and sixty lbs. a year! If you only have thirty pounds to lose then in six months you’ll reach your goal!
Understanding these simple facts gives us an insight on the mechanics of reaching and maintaining our ideal weight.
Example of an 1800 calorie Food Plan:
400 Calories Breakfast
200 Calories Snack
400 Calories Lunch
200 Calories Snack
400 Calories Dinner
200 Calories Snack
Armed with these facts, the next step is to get a chart of different food items and their calorie content. Your nutritionist should be able to provide this or you can get one at a local bookstore.
A good start is to learn how to read labels on different food items.
Any kind of craving and binge activity can be prevented if a balanced diet is followed:
- Eat a variety of foods
- Choose a diet moderate in salt, sodium sugars and low in fat, saturated fat and cholesterol
- If you drink alcoholic beverages, do so in moderation
- Choose a diet with plenty of grain products, vegetables and fruits
Stick to Your Program
- Write down everything you eat in a day
- Read Food Labels
- Eat 5 or 6 small meals a day
- Fill up on fruit and vegetables
- Make a schedule for Exercise
- Drink at least 8 cups of water a day
- Review eating habits. If you have a setback don’t beat yourself up – just start fresh the next day
- Always have a healthy snack handy for in between meals such as fruit at work or in your car
The next step is to understand the Calorie content of different foods
1 serving =80 calories, 15 carbohydrate, 3 protein, 0-1 fat Try to choose high fiber foods (whole wheat bread and pasta, brown rice etc.
Example of 80 calories
Cereal (cooked or dry) ½ cup
Cooked or canned beans, peas or lentils 1/3 cup
Rice (cooked) 1/3 cup
Sweet Corn (Cooked) ½ cup
Corn on the Cob (6 inch piece)
Potato small, (3 Oz) 1 cup
Yam or Sweet Potato ½ cup
Bagel or English muffin ½ or 1 oz.
Bread (slice or roll) 1 oz.
Graham crackers 3 squares
Hamburger or hot dog bun ½ or 1 0z
Pancake (6” across) 1
Popcorn 3 cups
Tortilla (6” across) 1
Biscuit (2 ½) 1
French Fries (2 3 ½ long) 10
Potato chip 10
Muffin (small plain 2”- 3”) ½
Here is where most diets and weight loss plans fails. Let’s look at this scenario. (Source Prevention)
1 Tootsie Pop or 2 Hershey kisses = 60 calories
Requires 15 minute walk to burn.
2 vanilla cream Oreo cookies or 3 pieces of Dove Dark Chocolate Promise = 120 calories
Requires 30 minute walk to burn.
1 small order of Burger King onion rings or 1 slice of Pizza Hut veggie Lover Thin ‘N’ Crisp Pizza =180 calories
Requires 45 minute walk to burn
1 Glazed Krispy Kreme Cruller or 1 pack of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups = 240 calories
Requires 60 minutes of walk to burn
Armed with the facts above, here are simple steps you can take to overcome the urge of night time binge attack.
- Eat a balanced meal at lunch and dinner time. This can be accomplished by following this simple nutritionist recommended technique – Make sure that your plate is ½ full with vegetables ,¼ full with meat or beans (garbanzo, kidney, lentils, black eyed pea etc.) and ¼ full with starch(pasta, rice, potatoes etc.)
- Eat in a relaxed atmosphere. Make sure the TV is off and no reading or chatting on the phone.
- Have a good snack available for after dinner. An hour or so later you can have a snack of 6 to 8 pieces of fresh pineapple. Any other fruit should be eaten one to three hours after a meal. Check out the article on Food Combination for proper digestion suggestions.
- Most of the Binge eating happens when watching TV. If this happens, then pause the TV and take a walk around the block weather permitting. You can also do some stretching or Tai Chi while watching TV. This takes your mind away from food and gets your breathing going.
- Write down the calorie counts of the different foods you were eating. Let’s take from the example above – 2 vanilla Cream Oreo Cookies. If you really want to eat these, then be prepared to take a 30 minute walk. This simple mental exercise practiced daily will keep your habit in check.
- Close your eyes and visualize your ideal weight and the health benefits that you will gain by not indulging. Imagine your clothes fitting you perfectly and people congratulating you on how good you look.
- Learn relaxation and breathing techniques to calm your body. Here is a simple technique you can use: With your eyes open or close, say this in your mind while breathing “Sensitive to the whole body I breathe in… Sensitive to the whole body I breathe out” This is a powerful technique that will relax your whole body, make you aware of your goals, get rid of any tension you may be holding and take your mind away from negative thoughts. You can breathe from one minute to five minutes as needed.
In closing remember a healthy diet includes a variety of foods. Daily activity and an exercise program go a long way. Keep a journal for a few weeks of what you eat. This is a great way of getting to know how many calories you’re consuming. Read food labels. We only get one chance to live this life. Don’t let food control you. Eat to live don’t live to eat! Food is meant to give us energy to do our daily things that we need to do on this journey on Planet Earth. May your journey be a successful and happy one!