I'm sick of being just a little bit chubby.
January 19, 2006 5:10 PM   Subscribe

How do I stop eating before I go to bed?

I am about 15 pounds overweight. I think, from analysing my eating habits, that the reason I can't lose it is because I always get VERY hungry between midnight and 1 AM and end up eating something, normally some bread with peanut butter and milk.

Is there anything that I can be eating or doing during the day that will prevent such a massive hunger attack? I'm talking so hungry that I can't really fall asleep here. I eat dinner around 5.30 PM.

Also, I know that maybe I could just go to sleep earlier, but really I stay up for productivity reasons and I don't want to change that part of my life unless I have to.

If it's just discipline I need, then ok. But is there anything I can do that can make it a little easier on myself?
posted by visual mechanic to Food & Drink (22 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I suggest eating snacky vegetable things such as carrots or apples all day long, as much as you like. This offer does not include chips.
posted by Protocols of the Elders of Awesome at 5:15 PM on January 19, 2006

You could try drinking massive quantities of water instead.
posted by thirteenkiller at 5:26 PM on January 19, 2006

5:30 for dinner sounds early to me. Are you similarly "VERY hungry" right before dinner time? If not, maybe you could delay dinner..?
posted by juv3nal at 5:27 PM on January 19, 2006

All 3 previous suggestions are good. Combining them might just do the trick, with the emphasis on drinking lots of water.
posted by charmston at 5:33 PM on January 19, 2006

Wow, I agree that 5.30 is early for dinner - of course you're hungry seven hours (of work?) later! Perhaps you could try the six small meals instead of three large idea?
posted by jamesonandwater at 5:47 PM on January 19, 2006

Well, I mean, drinking a reasonable quantity of water might be better than drinking a truly massive quantity.
posted by thirteenkiller at 5:49 PM on January 19, 2006

OK, I think these are great suggestions. Bad luck, I'm actually allergic to carrots and apples. Any other ideas for safe snacks?
posted by visual mechanic at 5:57 PM on January 19, 2006

A slice of bread and 2 Tbsp peanut butter is about 300 Kcal, which you aren't burning any of in your sleep. You only need enough blood sugar to stave off a headache and enough bulk in your stomach to feel sated. Eat a low-fat fruit yogurt (I like blueberry) instead for about 130 Kcal, which should lose you about a pound a month. (Or plain low-fat yogurt for 90 Kcal and about two pounds a month.)
posted by nicwolff at 6:02 PM on January 19, 2006

Kiwi makes for a good low-maintenance fruit snack. Easiest way to eat it is slice it in half and eat the innards with a spoon.

For a veggie snack (that will require a little cooking), something simple like steaming soybeans (edamame), sprinkling some good coarse salt on them and then eating them out of the pods with your hands. Really good for you, and I like popping the pods open and gobbling up the beans. If you can't find them fresh, most supermarkets carry them frozen, and they're pretty good.

I'm also a huge fan of pistachios, but those may be high in fat.
posted by middleclasstool at 6:04 PM on January 19, 2006

you should generally eat every 3-4 hours, so i echo above statements that midnight-1:00 is a really long time since your last meal and no wonder you're hungry! i would suggest planning on an evening snack around 9:00 (if you keep dinner at 5:30) and working that snack into your calorie/portion/points allotment of the day. if you're still hungry around midnight, you probably won't be ravenous, so maybe a cup of herbal tea or some water will tide you over till morning.

if your meals aren't too big, you should be able to eat a real snack of healthy food that's filling and satisfying and that you enjoy (not just rabbit food or some other "diet" food you'll resent).

bread and peanut butter and milk sounds like a pretty good snack to me, especially if it's high-fiber bread and skim milk. the fat in peanut butter is good for you and having fat with meals helps you stay full longer. but if you think the calories from peanut butter are doing you in, try toast with a little bit of butter or jam instead?

you probably know this, but you'll stay full longer if your meals include protein, fat, and plenty of fiber.
posted by nevers at 6:07 PM on January 19, 2006

Can you go to bed earlier? I snack when I get tired at night.
posted by fshgrl at 6:12 PM on January 19, 2006

When I have that up-too-late hunger I usually eat half a banana or a handful of peanuts. If you really like your routine, just change it up to make it healthier. Use all-natural peanut butter, measure out only 1 tbsp of it and have it on some whole wheat toast instead of white bread (for all I know, you may be doing this already) and wash it down with a small glass (4-6 oz.) of skim milk. If that doesn't do it for you, you might want to try mixed nuts dusted with soy powder, vanilla and a little cinnamon, or something like some whole wheat crackers with a bit of cheese.
posted by jessamyn at 7:15 PM on January 19, 2006

Oh, yeah, you're hungry because you haven't eaten for hours. Consider smaller, more frequent meals, as previously suggested, but stay away from sugars and simple carbs - such as you'll get in fruits - right before bed. Instead, eat a dinner or snack with a slow burn. Protein and complex carbohydrates work beautifully for me.
posted by moira at 8:32 PM on January 19, 2006

Great question.
posted by Rash at 9:40 PM on January 19, 2006

I've lost nearly 25 pounds since July, by making two changes. I go to the gym 3 times a week, and I don't eat after 10:30pm. It helps a LOT to have a specific time after which I just don't eat.

Willpower is important, although it gets somewhat easier after the first few days. I eat whatever I want before then. I tend to eat dinner between 7:30 and 8:30, so I'm usually not hungry again before the cutoff. If I get hungry after that, I either have water or tea (no milk or sugar).
posted by Caviar at 10:08 PM on January 19, 2006

this program and book is fantastic. its helped me lose about 35 pounds in the last 4 months. minimal exercise... i just stopped eating so much.

once you have a handle on how many calories you are eating extra per day, you can figure out what to cut out. in my case i just stopped snacking at work (200cal/day) and stopped eating so much bread (i was eating about 1.5 loaves a week, with butter - probably 800cal/day (!)) i kept eating whatever i wanted for lunch, and cut back on breakfast and dinner. i was hungry at first but as my body adjusted to it i was no longer hungry except at mealtime.
posted by joeblough at 12:36 AM on January 20, 2006

i probably should have linked here.
posted by joeblough at 12:40 AM on January 20, 2006

Healthy Snacks AskMe
posted by Sharcho at 5:08 AM on January 20, 2006

Watch out for those peanuts! Each kernel (not whole nut) contains 4.3 calories! That adds up fast.

I suggest sauteing frozen vegetables in butter-flavored pan. They come in (relatively) "exotic" blends now. When you cook them, season with real spices and add a sliced Roma tomato.

Now you have a largish hot snack that weighs in at a mere 50-60 calories!
posted by sourwookie at 7:09 AM on January 20, 2006

not butter-flavored pan--Pam!
posted by sourwookie at 7:11 AM on January 20, 2006

I'm using Calorie King on my Treo and that's working as a "track what I eat" app. Since being on it, I'm actually running a defecit for the budget and what I will do is have some popcorn with some seltzer in the evening (not right before bed). 3 cups of oil-popped popcorn (which is a HUGE snack) is rougly 200 KCal and more filling than peanut butter and milk. You can cut that further by cutting the oil somewhat or using air-popped popcorn (about 100 KCal/3cups).
posted by plinth at 7:43 AM on January 20, 2006

or as previous threads have covered, you can make the popcorn in a paper bag in your microwave. no oil. then i hit it with butter-flavored pam and some salt and... pretty dang good.
posted by joeblough at 9:08 AM on January 20, 2006

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