Understanding a problem is the first step to solving it. When it comes to weight loss or weight maintenance, one of my most difficult issues has always been night hunger, however controlling my appetite throughout the day has never been a problem. As a matter of fact, I barely notice that I'm hungry during the day. Evenings, on the other hand, are a different story. For years, I tried to figure out how to get a handle on night hunger and it was not until I finally realized what the problem was that I was able to correct it.
The most significant issue I faced was conditioning. My mind was programmed to want to eat at night. Daytime is usually active and busy, leaving little time for thoughts of food, whereas evenings are when most of us slow down. Although we still have things to do to prepare for the following day, we are typically operating at a much slower and more relaxed pace. There are other factors that also contribute to night hunger, for instance, for those who work outside of the home it may be that food is simply more accessible at night. Or for book readers and movie / television watchers, this may also be a silent signal for snack time.
Bottom line, most of the time it's the conditioning of the mind from years of repeated habits that stands in between people and weight loss, and has very little to do with actual hunger. So, how do we "re-condition" the mind?
There are several ways to create new patterns and break old ones. Here are a few proven methods I used to gain control of the night hunger, that you may want to try:
The same way that you developed the problem, you can get rid of it. Repeat a new behavior. It was by repeated behaviors (snacking during TV shows or while reading a book, etc.) that you have conditioned the mind to automatically seek out food during certain times. This is also true of smokers who want a cigarette with a cup of coffee or alcoholic beverage, and various other conditioned responses.
Now that we are aware of of where night hunger usually starts, the first method is to avoid doing whatever action is triggering the hunger response. Just as we would tell a smoker who wants to quit smoking to stay away from the things and activities that trigger their cravings, such as drinking coffee or alcohol, the same is true of food cravings. Yes this is a bit drastic, I agree, but it works. Sometimes drastic measures are required in order to get the desired result.
An example would be watching watching television with a more physical activity such as going for a walk or reorganizing the garage. When you are finished, take a nice, long shower and hit the sheets. It will not be long until your body gets used to your new eating habits (or not eating habits rather) and you can return to the book or television shows you enjoy, less the night hunger. If you opt for organizing various parts of your house as the alternative, you'll get an extra added benefit. Not only will the extra activity add to the calories burning process, but your house will be completely organized within a week or two, eliminating some under stress. This can help prevent stress eating.
Of course, I use reading and watching television as example of triggers only. Your triggers may be entirely different and you can apply these methods accordingly.
Another effective method to curbing night hunger is to eat a banana after dinner and drink a significant amount of cold water (approx. 16 ounces or more). This will keep the hunger to a minimum; although it is usually the mind, not the body that causes these cravings so refer back to the first method if this does not work for you. Very rarely do I crave a snack at night because I am actually hungry; most of the time it is a conditioned response to specific action, ie, reading a book or watching television.
Repetition of this new behavior will eventually override the old behavior and soon you will find that you have nearly eliminated your night hunger problem.
If you want to speed up the process, there is the hypnotherapy method which I've discussed extensively in previous articles. Hypnotherapy is one of the fastest and most effective methods used to change behavior patterns. I personally use hypnotherapy often and find it a very powerful tool to get over mental blocks and undesirable condition. To learn more about weight loss hypnotherapy and what it can do for you, click here or visit My Weight Loss World at the website address listed below.
Much of what we do or do not do is a result of our mental condition and this includes eating right and exercising. When we recognize that there is a problem in one or more of these areas, then it is our responsibility to ourselves to find a solution. Will it take effort? Of course it will. But it takes a larger effort to end illness and fatigue. Find what works best for you and put it into action. There will be good days and not so good days. Just shake the not so good days off and keep moving forward towards your goal goal and you'll make it. You have absolute power to condition and re-condition yourself. Do not be an employee of your mind and body – be the boss.