Do you find yourself overeating in the evening? Sitting down after tea and then being unable to stop with the munchies? There may be several reasons why this is happening and a few little tips to try and help.

  1. The most common issue is that people simply aren’t eating enough calories in the day. They are fasting for hours on end or trying to hold off on calories throughout the day to save them for later, skipping meals because they are too busy or attempting to lose weight. However by not eating enough volume, your body is clever and it knows you haven’t given it enough fuel and will happily make your brain think of nothing but food once you sit down in the evenings, making it very hard to resist temptation. Instead, try to eat regularly. At first, this should be every 3-4 hours (generally 3 main meals and 2 snacks) Focus on how you are feeling but if you are someone who has restricted heavily or dieted for many years, your body will not yet be in tune with your hunger and fullness cues so try to make a regular eating routine, you can work on the hunger cues later.
  2. Restricting food groups or certain foods. This is a sure fire way to overeat on these one you get your hands on them. Forbidding certain foods such as chocolate will inevitably lead to you overeating it. Try to allow yourself unconditional permission to eat any foods that you want. Personally, I eat chocolate every single day. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this and once you allow yourself to eat it, you take it off the pedestal and can enjoy it in moderation (with practice). No foods are good or bad, they have no moral value, they simply contain more or less nutrients, try to focus on how these foods make you feel.
  3. You are using food as an emotional crutch, to feed unmet needs. This is actually totally fine and normal human behaviour but it can become an issue when it is the only tool you have in your toolbox. Bored? You eat. Unhappy? You eat. Stressed? You eat. Happy? You eat. This can easily lead to overeating and you become reliant on food which in many cases won’t meet the needs you actually crave at that time. Start trying to check in with yourself, mindfulness, journaling, mediation are all great tools for this. Make a list of things that make you feel better when you feel a certain way, for example, ‘When I feel stressed I will go for a walk’ and try to choose this more times than not. Again, it takes practice but keep at it, it gets easier.
  4. You are eating mindlessly. Ever have those meals or snacks where you eat and before you know it, it’s gone? When you don’t eat mindfully it is easy for this to happen and this can leave you feeling unsatisfied. Instead, try to eat most of your meals mindfully, without the distraction of a phone, tv or tablet. Discussion around a table is fine, but take pauses when you eat and chew your food slowly and carefully. Putting your fork down between mouthfuls can help with this. If this feels hard for you, start with one meal a day (the easiest one) and work on building this habit before adding another meal or snack.

Hopefully some of these tips will help you to start trying to work on your relationship with food. Finding peace with food and enjoying all foods in moderation is a big part of your health and fitness journey.