Check out this post on our new blog at: https://www.enarahealth.com/2019/02/22/food-for-thought-strategies-for-managing-overeating-at-night/
Probably one of the more common struggles we hear when we meet with patients is overeating at night. Many patients report that they are happy with their choices during the day, but struggle with overeating at night, whether it’s opting for a heavier dinner than intended or excessive post-dinner snacking. If this is, you’re not alone! For many patients, this can be a frustrating pattern that feels like a roadblock to weight loss. But it’s not just a problem for weight loss: there are numerous studies that demonstrate the detrimental health effects of eating too late at night.
So we’ve compiled some strategies for navigating the PM munchies to keep you moving toward those health goals:
Make sure you are eating nutritionally balanced meals during the day, and try not to go more than 4-5 hours without eating. If you feel that you are overdoing it at night as a result of undereating during the day (think running from meeting to meeting and realizing it’s 5 PM and you haven’t eaten), work with your dietitian to develop a more fixed and nutrient-dense meal schedule during the day. Set alarms on your phone or block your work calendar to ensure you’re able to honor that schedule.
Are you eating because you’re hungry later at night? If the answer is yes, work with your dietitian to get the most mileage out of your meals, both in terms of meal timing and satiety. Medications are also a great option if you’re finding that persistent hunger is getting in your way.
Are you eating when you’re not hungry? If the answer is yes, it’s important to identify your trigger. When we eat because we aren’t hungry, we are usually looking to check some other box that ultimately food won’t check.
Consider medication. If you feel that you’ve tried every trick in the book to battle your nighttime eating habit, consider meeting with your medical provider to learn more about medication options.
This is by no means an exhaustive list. Have an open and honest dialogue with your medical provider and dietitian to identify potential causes of nighttime overeating, so we can collaborate to identify the best path forward for you.