Do you end up eating more - or differently - than you wanted to after the sun goes down?
This is verrrrry common for a number of reasons. Today, I want to focus on the biggest reason: willpower.
You may have heard me talk about this before. In fact, you may notice that I talk about many of the same concepts often if you've been hanging out with me for a while. The truth is, these things aren't always the sexiest and don't always work as clickbait, but they are real, important, and necessary to address for any and all health transformations to occur.
YOU ARE NOT LACKING WILLPOWER! Seriously, you're not. For argument's sake, let's say we all each start the day with the same 20 willpower 'points'. Every decision you make uses up a point. Skipping the doughnut in the break room, biting your tongue when your boss pissed you off, deciding whether or not to honk the horn when the jerk cut you off on your drive home...point, point, point. We make so many decisions throughout the day (more than we even consciously register), that by the end of a long day, we're all depleted of willpower!
Have you ever noticed that it becomes harder throughout the day to say no to your favorite sweet treat? Have you had those days where you put off your workout 'til nighttime only to skip it in the end and tell yourself you'll do it tomorrow instead? Willpower depleted!
So when it comes to planning for your success, part of your plan needs to include what to do when you're not actually able to stick to your original commitment to yourself. Rather than hope it'll be different tomorrow, "trying" again, or resisting this fact, let's learn how to work WITH the way our brain works.
I want to share 2 important steps in doing just that with you today. There is no video attached in today’s blog because I made a mistake and didn't end up saving my latest video workshop. Oops. But that's ok! I'm still going to give you all of the information today. ;-) If you do prefer to watch or listen instead of reading this, head over to my facebook page and look for last Wednesday's live video recording.
Think ahead to the time when you normally start feeling out of control with your food choices. This is around 8 or 9 PM for most people, but can occur at other times as well. What are you usually feeling at that time?
Needing a break?
Wanting to 'unwind?
Next, ask yourself how you're hoping the food will make you feel in that moment. Are you hoping it will give you a needed break? Help you relax? Numb a certain emotion?
***Important to remember: The only thing food can actually solve for you is physical hunger. Any other feeling or emotion can only be temporarily distracted by food - not solved!
Lastly, ask yourself what you can plan ahead of time to do instead of reaching for the food that will help you feel the way you're looking to feel. It's important that you plan for this ahead of time, because in the moment, you won't want to have any obstacles in the way. They will only act as a deterrent.
Examples: Call a friend (put it on your calendar), read a book (have it out on the nightstand), watch a show on the DVR without a snack or with a healthy option you choose in advance, go for a walk, listen to a podcast, journal, meditate, have relations with your partner.... ;-) Anything (other than overeating) that will help you get to that end goal of relaxation, unwinding, calming down, or getting the break you deserve.
Delayed gratification. We all have a toddler brain and an adult brain. (These are actual parts of our brains, but obviously not the technical terms.) Our toddler brain wants what it wants, when it wants....just like a real toddler! But our adult brain actually has reasoning capability. Our adult brain can make plans and decisions that serve our greatest good, not just what feels best right now.
When we have the urge to overeat / stress eat / binge eat, it's our toddler brain requesting it. And guess what? It's probably pretty used to getting what it wants by now, right?
No worries! Here's how we start to discipline our toddler brain: we delay our gratification. Next time your brain asks you for a gallon of ice cream at 8:00, give it ice cream at 8:05 or 8:10 instead. You will likely still eat the same thing. You'll likely still overeat. AND THAT'S OK because you've starting doing really important work in rewiring your brain!
That toddler brain will stop thinking it's always going to get what it wants, when it wants it. Eventually it will stop being so bratty. And at some point, you'll be able to delay gratification for long enough that you may end up choosing NOT to eat the ice cream at all. BIG WIN!
These 2 tools are considered steps 1 & 2 in breaking up with nighttime overeating because they are so effective and foundational! Try these tonight - or whenever your toddler brain throws its next tantrum.
P.S. Every week I share more content than I could possibly put into a blog on social media. Be sure to follow me on Facebook and / or Instagram for more tips and free resources.