You’re stuck at home at 2 AM on a Friday night. You’re starving, and everything inside of you is fighting the impulse to make a late-night dash to the neighborhood fast-food establishment.
Sometimes, your willpower works, but other times those little voices inside your head drive you to the greasiest spot in town.
We’ve all been there.
Face it: late night cravings are a real problem.
We’ve all heard how rough it is on the body to consume anything past a reasonable hour.
But hearing a message and taking action on it are two entirely separate things.
Fortunately, the first step towards solving any issue is identifying it. And chances are, you clicked on this post because you’re tired of giving in to your nightly health-wrecking demons.
We here at Fit Body Boot Camp believe in attacking any problem with at least three solutions.
Today’s your lucky day, because we’re providing not just three, but five ways to end those hunger pangs and sleep on a more satisfied stomach.
Eat Throughout The Day
Many people love to binge-and-splurge. They’ll eat heavy for two or three meals a day, then compensate by starving themselves in between those eating periods.
This spikes your metabolism throughout the day in an unhealthy way. If you eat a large dinner, you’ll experience a short boost in energy—that is, until your body tells you it needs more food right before bed.
We are always in motion, so we require consistent streams of energy.
We’re running around at work, taking the kids to soccer practice, lifting loads of laundry, cleaning up messes around the house…
It only makes sense to constantly fuel our bodies throughout the day with smaller, healthier portions.
By eating more controlled amounts of food, your body will naturally crave less, making it easy to stay on track with your weight loss goals.
PLUS, this style of eating will keep your metabolism running at a high, steady pace throughout the day, which means your body is going to burn fat much faster.
Drink Plenty of Water
This step seems simple enough. Yet, you’d be surprised at the difference between how much water you drink currently and how much water your body needs.
Instead, we fill ourselves with more addictive beverages such as coffee, soda, and juice. But water is vital—it facilitates the body’s internal processes and keeps us hydrated.
Another secret advantage of water is that it takes up room in our stomach.
At night, your stomach is crying out to be filled with something, but there’s no reason why that something has to be more food.
Try drinking water to create the feeling of fullness that stops you from eating too much. There’s nothing healthier you could possibly choose for your stomach!
Proteins are important for building muscle strength, but they also leave you feeling full.
Naturally, targeting your protein intake for the latter half of the day can help curb any late-night hunger attacks.
The good news about proteins is that you can find them easily in healthy foods.
Instead of eating that slice of pie, try chowing down a couple rolls of organic lunch meat, which have a very strong protein-to-calorie ratio.
Keep your fridge stocked with eggs—they’re flexible, high-protein foods that can serve as both snacks and main dishes.
One subtle way of improving your protein levels is to mix flax seed into whatever you’re eating. This adds protein to your diet without sacrificing the taste of some of your favorite foods.
It is important to remember that proteins are only one dietary component in food. Be sure to weigh all the nutritional elements of food (carbs, sugar, sodium, etc.) before deciding whether to eat something.
You might not have expected this tip to appear on this list, but it is every bit as important as the rest.
Common sense tells us that the longer we stay up, the more time we give our body to desire foods we shouldn’t eat. So, we need to counter this by sleeping before our stomachs reel us in to temptation.
There are plenty of ways to accelerate the sleep cycle.
One great method is to drink tea before bed, which can help to ease your way into a more relaxed state.
In addition, try limiting movement as much as possible in the hours prior to sleeping.
Yes, exercising or moving dynamically before bed can increase your fatigue, but it also revs up your body’s hunger to replace the energy lost working out.
Another great method: limit your interaction with technology before bed.
When we pick up our phones or turn on the television, we oftentimes find it difficult to stop. Our minds naturally fiend for entertainment in some form.
So instead of quelling this desire, try replacing it with something more mentally stimulating, like reading a book.
Your eyes will get a rest from glaring at the light of a screen, and your mind will eventually exhaust itself from whatever book you lose yourself in, bringing on a quicker sleep.
Use Calories as a Measuring Stick
Good ole’ calories. They’re the darling of the media: cut calories and you will be skinny instantly! But any trained professional knows that the nutritional equation is much more complex.
Still, calories are a great indicator of how much you’re eating.
Through the course of a busy day, we often don’t take stock of what we put into our bodies. This means we don’t have a clear idea of our own health, and don’t even know how to start improving it.
Say your daily caloric intake goal is 2,000 calories. If you know that you’ve eaten 2,400 calories at the end of the day, you are less-inclined to keep eating because you know you’ve already failed your goal for the day.
Calorie counting apps are great for this purpose. They allow you to input all the food you eat and maintain your progress towards your nutritional goals.
If you’re competitive, make staying under your caloric goal a game, and see how many days in a row you can remain under your mark.
Of course, calorie counting isn’t right for everybody. If counting your calories exactly is too stressful, try just keeping a ballpark number in mind throughout the day.
The key to defeating nightly battles with hunger isn’t in forcing yourself to resist your cravings; it’s about taking the power away from the cravings before they even show up.
Be proactive, sensible, and diligent, and even the most inviting of food aromas won’t be able to tempt you away from your goals.