Disconnecting Food and Fitness

By Katie, 3:22 pm

**Thank you so much for your wonderful comments and suggestions regarding emotional eating. Not surprisingly, all of you are incredibly smart and insightful and inspiring! You have no idea how much joy and encouragement I get from reading your comments!**

On to the topic at hand…

I once read an interview with a recreational runner. When asked why she runs, she answered, “Because I love cake.”

She was making an innocent joke, of course. But her comment highlights the troubling connection so many of us make between how much we move and what we eat.

Honestly, in my quest for a healthy, balanced lifestyle, the associations I made between eating and exercise have been some of the hardest to shake.

Perhaps that’s because food and fitness exercises form Get Fit Fast are deeply intertwined in many ways. Making our bodies healthy requires attention to both diet and exercise. And how we eat has a profound effect on the quality of our workouts; food literally fuels them. Even so, I’ve made quite an effort to disassociate one from the other.

By disassociating, I mean that I try to no longer think things like:

“I can eat an extra cookie because I went running today.”

“I shouldn’t have seconds because today was a yoga day, which doesn’t burn as many calories.”

“Alright, I’ll have a piece of cake, but to make up for it I’ll stay at the gym for an extra half hour tomorrow.”

(Source)

Why do I think it’s so important to avoid this type of thinking? Because such thoughts indicate that my ultimate goal of HEALTH is being crowded out by obsessions with WEIGHT. While maintaining a comfortable weight is certainly a part of being healthy, it is only one aspect of it, and probably not the most important one. Deep down, I believe that healthy eating is important because of the vitamins and nutrients it provides our bodies, and exercise is vital for strengthening our internal muscles and organs. The value of both goes far, far beyond the number on the scale.

When I first started openly battling my disordered eating thoughts and behaviors, the connections I made between what I ate and how much I exercised were especially frustrating for Dave. While writing this post, I asked him why it bothered him so much to hear me say things like, “I really shouldn’t, I didn’t exercise today.”

His answer sums it all up quite perfectly. He said:

“You shouldn’t have to earn your food.”

Have you ever accepted or turned down a slice of cake based solely on whether or not you exercised that day? For you personally, are such connections no big deal? Or do you try to avoid this kind of thinking? I’m really excited to hear your thoughts on this, because I realize it might be different for people who don’t have the history of eating issues that I do.

A Plan of Action

By Katie, 10:17 pm

Hiya, everyone! Hope you had a nice Tuesday! Let’s jump right in, shall we?

Breakfast

Tuesdays are my long run days, and this morning an 8-miler was on the agenda. I’m still in the process of learning about proper nutrition for athletes (never really thought of myself as an athlete before!), but I knew that I needed some quality carbs to fuel my run.

A classic: peanut butter and banana on whole wheat. Lightly grilled, to make it a tad more interesting. And because pretty much any sandwich tastes better grilled, don’t you agree? :-)

More sliced banana on the side…bring on the potassium!

Dare I say, the perfect running fuel?

Mid-Morning Snack

My run was great! My legs felt a little heavy the last mile or so, but other than that it was smooth sailing. I ran from my house to Johns Hopkins University and back, which was a fun loop. :-)

It actually went by very quickly because I was totally absorbed in my thoughts. I want to be completely honest here: for the past few days I’ve been struggling with some emotional eating. I spent most of my run contemplating what exactly is going on in my life that is triggering this, and creating a concrete plan for dealing with it.

My plan is all about distraction. In my experience, when I get the urge to eat emotionally I am not at all in my rational mind, so no amount of logic is going to convince me not to eat. My rational mind knows that food is not the answer, and yet I go for it anyway. So for me, preventing emotional eating requires action; I need to throw my full attention into doing something else – essentially distracting my mind from the urge to eat – for 15-20 minutes, until the urge has passed.

During my run I made a mental list of actions I can take when I want to eat emotionally. I’ve promised myself that I will try doing at least two before turning to food. Here’s a sampling of the actions on my list:

  • Read an engaging novel or magazine
  • Call someone who is aware of my struggles and ask for support
  • Take a relaxing bath
  • Pray
  • Breathe deeply for five minutes
  • Go for a short walk
  • Watch funny videos on YouTube
  • Turn on some upbeat music

Any suggestions for actions I could add?

I came back from my run feeling rejuvenated both physically and mentally. Not only did I get a great workout, but now I feel like I have a PLAN for getting back on board with my regular, balanced style of eating.

Sorry for that little interlude…back to the food!

My post-run snack was rather exciting! Look what came in the mail for me yesterday.

Glo Bars from Angela’s Glo Bakery! :-D Have you tried these yet???

I’ve been dying to try these 100% organic, vegan bars, and her March Madness sampler pack was too good to pass up. I decided to try the Classic Glo Bar first; I always like to try the “original” before moving on to the variations.

The stats.

I was a tad worried that I actually wouldn’t like this bar because of the crisp rice cereal; I was afraid the texture would be too much like a Rice Krispie treat, which I generally don’t like. But that wasn’t the case at all! The texture was a great combination of chewy and crispy, and it was pleasantly sweet without being overly so. I absolutely cannot wait to try the other flavors!

Lunch

Lunch was Greek-inspired.

First up: a lovely whole grain wrap containing a smattering of hummus, artichoke hearts, red onion, cucumber, feta cheese, minced garlic, and a variety of ground herbs: oregano, thyme, and basil.

No surprise here: a side of cherry tomatoes.

And to stick with the Greek theme, some Chobani plain Greek yogurt, topped with red grapes for sweetness.

All together now. :-)

Snacks

This snack was so phenomenal, I suggest you eat it right now. Or tomorrow. Just SOON! ;-)

Kristen from Change of Pace asked her readers for some egg suggestions, and one commenter suggested making an egg salad using Laughing Cow cheese. I immediately thought, “I am so doing that!”

So this is just a hard-boiled egg chopped up and mixed with a Laughing Cow cheese wedge (the Swiss flavor). Enjoyed atop some Kashi Original 7 Grain crackers. Simple but oh-so-good!

I also munched on this little guy.

And packed up a mixture of dried Turkish apricots and roasted almonds to get me through my class tonight.

Dinner

I actually made my dinner this afternoon, knowing I wouldn’t want to do any cooking when I got home at 9:15 p.m. Good thing I did, because I walked in the door ready to gnaw my arm off!

I followed this Cooking Light recipe for Couscous with Chickpeas, Tomatoes, and Edamame. Have I mentioned before that I love Cooking Light? Because I do!

This had a little bit more of a kick to it than I was expecting! In a good way!

I also quickly steamed some snow peas and sprinkled them with a little sea salt.

I hate when I get as hungry as I was tonight because it makes it difficult not to devour my food. Somehow I managed to eat this slowly and mindfully.

About 10 minutes ago I completed my eating for the day with a lovely sweet treat.

Right before I left for class I melted some dark chocolate, then rolled these strawberries in it. Popped them in the fridge so the chocolate would form a nice, hard coating by the time I got home. :-)

I had a plate of plain strawberries as well. I know I’ve said this a million times already, but I cannot wait for local berries!!!

That’s all, folks! I’m going to hit “Publish,” then catch up on my Google Reader before turning it in for the night. Tomorrow I’m spending some quality time with my mother-in-law…I can’t wait! (That is not sarcastic, by the way. My mother-in-law totally rocks!) 8-)

Do you ever get some of your best ideas or do some of your best thinking while exercising?

AND

What local produce are you most looking forward to?

Pecan Coconut Fish

By Katie, 11:07 am

Per my food budget rules, I’ve been making a legitimate effort to use up the edibles I already have in my house before buying more. An unexpected but pleasant consequence of this endeavor is that it makes me more creative in the kitchen!

The original idea for this dish was inspired by Cara’s Crispy Coconut Tofu Nuggets (that woman is a genius, I tell ya!). I knew I wanted to use tilapia (yes, I still have more tilapia filets in my freezer!), the leftover pecans from this recipe, and the leftover coconut from this recipe. By combining the three, Pecan Coconut Fish was born. :-)

The first thing Dave said when he took a bite was, “Wow, the flavors in this go really well together!” I took that to mean it was a success. ;-)

To make Pecan Coconut Fish, I assembled this little work station.

I dipped each fish filet in egg substitute, then rolled it in a mixture of panko breadcrumbs, shredded coconut, chopped pecans, lime zest, sea salt, and pepper. I then placed each filet on a baking sheet, sprinkling more of the coconut/pecan mixture on top.

The filets baked at 375º for 15 minutes (they were pretty thin). When I pulled them out of the oven I squeezed some fresh lime juice on top. Delicious!

Pecan Coconut Fish
Serves 2

Ingredients
2 mild white fish filets, 4-6 oz. each (I used tilapia, but cod, haddock, and mahi mahi would all work well)
1/4 cup egg substitute (or 2 egg whites, or 1 egg, beaten)
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/4 pecans, chopped
1 lime – zest and juice
salt and pepper

1. Preheat oven to 375º.

2. Pour egg substitute into a shallow dish. Combine panko, coconut, pecans, lime zest, salt and pepper in a shallow dish or plate.

3. Dip each fish filet in the egg mixture, then gently roll it in the coconut/pecan mixture, covering the filet as much as possible.

4. Place the fish on a baking sheet/dish coated with nonstick spray. Sprinkle more of the coconut/pecan mixture on top.

5. Bake for 15-20 minutes (depending on the thickness of the filet), until firm and opaque in the center.

6. Remove from oven, sprinkle with fresh lime juice, and serve!

What’s your favorite way to use shredded coconut? I still have more I need to use up!!!

Favorite Moves: Basic Plank, Walking Plank, Plank Twists

By Katie, 8:35 pm

This installment of my Favorite Moves is actually occurring on another blog. I am beyond honored to have my guest post published on NHerShoes! Bobbi is an awesome blogger and a total fitness inspiration! I’ve personally benefited from so many of her workouts (her Living Room Boot Camps are great!).  :-D

My guest post is all about those lovely abdominal burners known as PLANKS. I feature the basic plank, the walking plank, and plank twists. There’s even a personalized video demonstration! I’d love if you hopped over to NHerShoes and checked it out!

Katie’s Guest Post on NHerShoes

Thanks, everyone! :-)

Chobani Giveaway Winner!

By Katie, 7:34 pm

Thanks to everyone who entered my Chobani giveaway! It was a great success, and I hope to be able to offer more freebies in the future. Because who doesn’t love getting free stuff, am I right??? :-D

And the winner is…(I just did a drumroll on my laptop to help build up the suspense! Ha!)

Kait from Kitchen Kait’s Healthy Plate!

Congratulations, Kait! I’ll be emailing you and you’ll receive your 12-container CHO-case in no time! :-D

Dressing on the Side, Please

By Katie, 8:38 am

“Dressing on the side, please.”

“Hold the mayo.”

“Can I get a sweet potato instead of a white potato?”

“Do you have ANY vegetarian options???”

Any of these phrases sound familiar? ;-)

Yes, I’d like to take a moment and discuss the notion of making special requests at restaurants.

(Source)

The topic has been popping up around the blog world lately. Heather recently posted about her restaurant rules, and the Fitnessista regularly shares the substitutions she makes when dining out.

Honestly, I’m not really sure of my opinion on this matter. I can kind of see both sides:

On the one hand, if you’re paying to eat at an establishment, shouldn’t you be able to eat a meal the way you want it? If you don’t like a particular ingredient, or are choosing not to eat something (be it for health reasons, ethical reasons, whatever), shouldn’t the restaurant be accommodating?

On the other hand, you did go to their restaurant. While I’ve never worked in food service, I can imagine that in some places the cooks get pretty frustrated with picky eaters. Or maybe they just spit in the food… 8-O

I don’t eat out very much, so I have limited experience with this. I usually do make simple requests – dressings and sauces on the side, slight tweaks in side dishes – but I’m usually too shy to ask for major alterations to a dish (is that silly???). I can only recall one time when my request couldn’t be accommodated; the waitstaff was very apologetic about the whole thing, and it was no big deal.

But then I think, what if I had serious allergies? Or a major medical condition? True, it was no big deal for me, but I’m sure that it is a major deal for others!

I think my conclusion is this: Simple substitutions or changes are no big deal. If you want a MAJOR change, it never hurts to ask. But if for some reason the restaurant cannot accommodate, don’t be too hard on them.

But like I said, this opinion isn’t set in stone…I can still be swayed. ;-) I’d really love to hear what you think on this issue!

Do you make special requests when dining out? Why or why not? What kinds of requests do you make? How do you find the waitstaff/cooks usually react? Accommodating? Annoyed? Are you worried they spit in your food??? :lol:

FitBloggin’ Recap!

By Katie, 7:22 am

I had such a wonderful time at FitBloggin! I feel so lucky that it was held right here in my hometown! :-D

Friday Night

I went to the hotel on Friday night to register and attend the POM Wonderful Reception. I admit that I was a little nervous about it because I went into it not knowing anyone…not in real life, anyway. ;-) But I immediately recognized several bloggers and had a great time chatting with them in person! It’s funny how blogging can make you feel connected to people you’ve never actually met. :-)

Naturally, they were serving POM-tinis.

(I apologize for the less-than-stellar photos…turns out I need a lesson in taking pictures in the dark!)

I had one or two of each of the hors d’oeuvres. This was some kind of curried mango chicken.

Mushrooms with scallions.

Tuna. (That’s the best description I’ve got! Ha!)

Saturday

Breakfast

Saturday morning I arrived just in time for a lovely breakfast provided by Quaker. Oatmeal of course!

I topped my oatmeal with dried cranberries, pecans, and sliced banana. Delicious! Except that it was missing that pinch of salt that I love. I know that sounds odd, but adding just a touch of salt really does bring out the flavor of the oats!

The first session I attended was called “Blogs, Accessibility, and SEO: Dispelling the Myths.” It was very informative, but very heavy on the tech-y stuff. Which I think is really important for most people! I’m just fortunate enough to have a husband who is both extremely tech-savvy and extremely helpful, so I leave most of the tech stuff to him. Most of my notes from the session said, “ask Dave about this” and “ask Dave about that.”

Afterward I grabbed an apple and a cup of coffee…more for the warmth than for the caffeine. It was FREEZING in that place!

The second session I attended was called “Getting Noticed: How to Pitch to Traditional Media.” It basically focused on what to do/not to do if you want newspapers, magazines, or television networks to cover a specific topic relevant to your blog.

Lunch

Lunch was fun! I was able to sit with some fellow bloggers from the Baltimore/DC area…always great to get to know the locals! :-)

Salad with beets, marinated veggies, a small grilled veggie sandwich, and some mushroom soup. I ate it all but the soup, which wasn’t very good. :-? Such a shame because you know I love my mushrooms!

And fresh fruit for dessert!

In the afternoon I attended two more sessions: “Beyond the Blog: Getting Published” (featuring the lovely Caitlin!) and “Making Money From Your Blog: Should You? Could You? How?” The bottom line in both of the sessions was this: If you want to take your blog to the “next level,” so to speak, you need to focus on building a significant reader base. And how do you do that? Lots of ways, but the most important is the most basic: keep churning out quality posts that people actually want to read! :-)

Snacks

In between the sessions I snagged some snacks from Twin Cakes Bakery, a company that offers organic, vegan, gluten-free, raw baked goods. They also have a line called Pure2Raw offering crackers and flatbreads that have not been cooked over 115 degrees. I sampled several.

The flatbreads were pretty strong! They’re the kind of thing that I think I’d like more the second time eating them, once I knew what to expect. The Vanilla Kreme Macaroon, however, was UNBELIEVABLE. I think I could have eaten about twenty of them!

Dave picked me up when the conference was over and we decided to get some frozen yogurt. It just seemed right, what with the gorgeous weather and all! I got plain tart with strawberries and granola.

We enjoyed our frozen yogurt while sitting on a bench in Fells Point, soaking up the remaining sunlight and catching up on our days. It was lovely. 8-)

Overall, a wonderful experience! I learned a lot and met some amazing people…what more could I ask for? :-D

Have you ever tried a raw dessert? Did you like it? I was so impressed with how utterly delicious mine was!

AND

What was the highlight of your weekend?

Guest Post: Balance and the Bike

By Katie, 10:55 am

Hi, everyone! I’m away this weekend attending the FitBloggin’ Conference, hopefully learning lots of information that will help make Health for the Whole Self the best blog that it can be! While I’m gone, please enjoy this awesome guest post from a friend of mine whose dedication to fitness is absolutely inspirational! :-D

Hello and welcome to my guest post!  My name is Jory and I am filling in for Katie today.  I don’t currently have a blog of my own, and when Katie asked me to create a guest post, I was thrilled!  She is a great inspiration, and maybe one day, I will have a blog too!

Outside of my “real life” I am a 27-year-old competitive cyclist and runner, but I mostly consider myself a cyclist.  I race for a team based out of Maryland, and compete from March (first race of my season is the 27th!) through September.

Although I am not a professional cyclist (like my husband) I put a great deal of time and energy into preparing for races.  I spend anywhere between 7 and 20 hours each week (anywhere from 20 to 70 miles per day) riding my bike.  You are probably now thinking that I am crazy.  Spending up to 4.5 hours on a bicycle is not most people’s idea of a great day, but for me it is.  The difficult part of my training is trying to balance EVERYTHING ELSE with the BIKE.

My wonderful husband and I - without the bikes. A rare sight!

I start my official training on the bike in January, splitting time between running and time indoors on the trainer (which is a fancy little gadget you can use to turn your road bike into an indoor bike), and if I’m lucky and it’s not too cold, outside.  I am a huge fan of turning the clocks forward in March, because I can get time outside on my bike after work.

From March until the time changes, I race home after work, change my clothes, hop on my bike, and don’t get home until sometimes 7:30pm.  Then I need to shower, make dinner, make lunch for work the next day, and go to bed.  This is my life, but it’s FUN and REWARDING, believe it or not!  The feeling that comes from doing well in a race, or even just finishing a tough race you never thought you’d get through is indescribable.

My Fuji Team Pro - highly recommended!

There is a Facebook group called, “I can’t, I have a race that day,” which pretty much sums up my April through September.  This is the answer I give my family and friends when they ask me to do something during my race season.  Sometimes it’s incredibly frustrating when you know your entire family is sitting around eating birthday cake while you’re suffering through a race, but it’s SO worth it when you finish that race and know your training paid off.  I try to at least stop by family events, or get together with friends at night on weekends, and I’ve been pretty successful.

My best friend and I make it a point to do lunch or dinner each weekend, depending on my schedule.  My family is pretty understanding about the whole racing thing too – two of my cousins raced, which is how I got into this to begin with.  I also have friends who race and train where I live, which makes everything more fun!  We meet up for rides, watch races together, and spend quality time at the local coffee shop.  I guess misery loves company?  Haha, just kidding!

Action Shot!

I am far from miserable doing the amount of training and racing that I do.  If I didn’t love cycling, there is no way I would devote so much of my life to it.  I really can’t imagine life without my bike!  It’s a relief to switch to running for a few months, just to get a little bit of a break, but I ALWAYS find myself missing my bike.

Cycling has done a lot of things for me.  It’s allowed me to push myself mentally and physically harder than I ever thought possible, travel to new and fun areas, meet tons of new people, and feel really, really good about myself.  Training can be tough, and you’ll always have bad days on the bike, but having that one super fabulous ride makes up for it all.  That is why I ride my bike!

Do you have commitments that sometimes leave you wondering why there aren’t more hours in the day?  How do you juggle social and personal commitments to fit into your schedule?

Becoming a Positive Person

By Katie, 5:12 pm

“You can complain because roses have thorns. Or you can rejoice that thorns have roses.” – Ziggy

(Source)

I was very much a carefree, happy-go-lucky kind of kid. All smiles, all the time. :-D

When I hit adolescence, however, and my eating issues crept up, my cheery optimism began to fade. I still appeared very positive on the outside (like many disordered eaters, I hid my struggles well), but inside I was becoming quite the Negative Nancy.

Fortunately, dealing with my food and weight issues has enabled my positive attitude to return. The whole process has taught me that even though some people might be born with more pessimistic tendencies, it is possible to change your way of thinking – to become a more positive person.

Here are some of my thoughts on how to begin seeing the glass half-full:

1. Recognize the importance of attitude.

Wasn’t it annoying when your parents used to scold you for having a bad attitude? :roll: Well, as usual, they were right. While we can’t always control our situations, we can control how we react. Attitude really does make a huge difference.

I went to the same event two years in a row; the first time I went into it expecting to have a horrible time, and guess what? I had a horrible time. The second year I went into it with a more positive attitude, and – not surprisingly – I really enjoyed myself! Same event, same circumstances, different attitude.

2. Become aware of negative thoughts…

…and actively replace them with positive ones. Ok, that may seem pretty commonsensical, but the truth is that most of the time we’re not even aware of our thoughts. They just run through our heads. The very act of observing and recognizing your own thoughts gives you the power to change them.

3. Recall times in your life when bad circumstances turned out to be blessings in disguise.

I’m a total sap who believes that everything happens for a reason. But when you’re knee deep in a difficult situation, it’s not exactly easy to remember that. One way to help yourself remain positive is to remember struggles in your past that actually led to positive outcomes.

4. Surround yourself with positive people.

They say misery loves company. Well, happiness does too! I think it’s hard to continue wallowing in complaints and cynicism in the presence of someone who’s always looking on the bright side.

5. Focus on what you have, rather than on what you lack.

You are incredibly blessed. How do I know that? Well, since you’re reading this right now, you obviously have a computer, or at least you have access to one. I know that sometimes it’s annoying when people say, “Well, just be thankful you have food, and a warm bed, and clothes on your back,” but I think that truly positive people do appreciate the basic blessings that we usually take for granted.

Are you a positive person? Does it come naturally to you, or do you have to work on cultivating a positive attitude?

Side note: I won’t be posting much this weekend because I’ll be at FitBloggin’!!! But I’ve got a special guest post coming your way tomorrow, so be sure to check it out! :-)

Nixing Nighttime Snacking

By Katie, 7:01 pm

Dinner is over. The dishes are done. You make yourself a small snack to enjoy while watching some nighttime TV. And then you make yourself another. And another. And another. The next thing you know, you’ve snacked your way through the entire Monday Night Lineup! 8-O

If you struggle to control your nighttime snacking habits, know that you are not alone. Just this weekend I was chatting with a bunch of women who all agreed that this is one of the biggest healthy eating hurdles they face. How many of us have said at one time or another, “I eat so healthy throughout the day, but then it all just falls apart at night!”???

Here is where the idea that we need to get to the core of the issue by peeling back the layers comes into play. The only way to put an end to needless nighttime snacking is to ask yourself that all-important question: WHY? Why do I keep going into the kitchen for more goodies? Why can’t I keep my hand out of the bag of chips?

(Source)

I think there are 6 common answers to the question of WHY, each leading to different strategies for getting the issue under control.

Before I go into these common answers, one caveat: I am specifically talking about eating at night when you are not hungry. If you are feeling physical hunger, I don’t care if it’s 7:00 pm or 11:00 pm: EAT! Nighttime snacking is not bad in and of itself; what I’m discussing here is snacking for reasons other than physical hunger.

Why Am I Snacking So Much at Night?

1. I’m bored.

Many of us go through our days overly busy and overly stimulated. There’s just so much that requires our attention! Sometimes, when we finally get to wind down in the evening, it’s like we don’t know how to handle the calm. We feel like we still need to be doing something. And so we reach for food.

Conquer it: Focus your attention elsewhere! Grab an engaging novel or turn on a television show that truly keeps your attention. My mom has had some success with knitting while she watches television at night, just to keep her hands busy. Basically, just find something to do besides eat!

2. I’m distracting myself.

During the day it’s easy to push down some of the difficult stuff in life; we’re too busy to focus on it. But at night, when life is a little more peaceful, our worries and anxieties have space to creep up. Instead of dealing with them outright, we distract ourselves with snacks.

Conquer it: I don’t think the way to deal with this is by saying “just don’t worry.” That’s just not realistic. Instead, I think the key is to acknowledge the worries and anxieties, and recognize that distracting yourself with food won’t solve anything. In the past, I’ve tried writing in my journal for a mere 10 minutes after dinner. It helped me get some of my worries out onto the page, instead of burying them with cookies.

(Source)

3. It’s a habit.

You’ve always snacked while watching television (or doing whatever it is that you do in the evenings). It just feels natural to reach for a snack…or two…or three.

Conquer it: The best way to get rid of an undesirable habit is to replace it with a better one. I know some people do a “close down the kitchen” ritual after dinner: they do the dishes, clean up, turn off the lights, and make a mental note that the kitchen is closed for the rest of the evening. Other people create a habit of brushing their teeth as soon as they’re finished eating for the night. You’re less likely to reach for more food when your breath is already minty-fresh.

4. I’m not eating enough during the day.

I’ve definitely fallen into this trap. Sometimes, when we don’t take in enough food throughout the day, our bodies try to compensate by compelling us to eat more at night. Like I said before, if we’re hungry we should EAT. But the problem is when we keep eating, even after our hunger is satisfied.

Conquer it: Take a close look at your diet: bulking up your food intake during the day could help keep nighttime snacking at bay. (I’m a poet and I didn’t know it! ;-) )

5. I’m denying the cravings I get during the day.

Again, I can totally relate to this one. It’s 2:00 p.m. and for some reason my brain/body tells me, plain as day, “Eat Chocolate. Now.” I don’t listen…but I keep thinking about chocolate. And then I think about it some more. And some more. And then at night I end up overloading on chocolate until I’ve given myself a stomachache. :-(

Conquer it: Although you don’t necessarily need to indulge in your every whim, when you get a really strong craving, it’s often wiser to just “give in” to it right away with a reasonable portion that you savor every bite of. Denying the craving completely means that it just might pop back up again…most likely at night.

6. I’m eating mindlessly.

I think a lot of us just keep snacking because we’re not really paying attention to our food or the process of eating. We’re paying attention to the television or the computer or whatever else is in front of us. (I wrote more about the idea of eating without distractions here.) But when we do that, we don’t really feel like we’ve eaten; we didn’t get to enjoy our snack. So, not surprisingly, we want another one.

Conquer it: Forget multi-tasking. When you eat, give your food your full attention. Even if you’re in the middle of a television show. Dave will attest to the fact that I try to wait to eat until a commercial break, and then I mute the television (or better yet, get up from the couch and go sit at the table) and enjoy my evening snack mindfully.

Do you struggle with nighttime snacking? Do you think you’ll try any of these strategies? Do you have any other tips to share?

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