Thursday, March 19, 2015

Evening Snacking, Exercise and Losing Weight

Ok, wow, so much has happened since my post on Monday. I think I'll take them on as topics.

Evening Snacking

My nemesis of late. Though I haven't had an episode of bingy evening snacking since my last post on Monday. Tuesday evening was hard, I white knuckled it through without snacking but I was frustrated about it, "Why is this so hard? I just want it to be easy darnit!" The next morning I felt good about staying in control but also recognized I was making things harder with my negative thoughts. Instead of lamenting the challenge I could have been distracting myself or simply reminding myself, gently, that it is hard because I've been engaging in unhelpful habits lately and just like a smoker who relapsed, it's going to take a little while for my brain to understand that I don't snack all evening anymore.

I hadn't mentioned this here but a couple weeks ago I scheduled a session with a CBT for weight loss and maintenance therapist. Yep, someone who does the same thing I do. It was around the time that I'd decided to get back to my groove and thought support would be helpful. We all need a good coach in our corner from time to time. In any case, I had that session on Wednesday and we focused mostly on evening snacking. We came up with some good ideas.

1. Plan a snack. When I start craving random food I can remind myself that I have a planned snack at, say, 10pm, and to just wait for that. I do that pretty easily during the day so why not in the evening? It also recognizes that spontaneous decisions are really hard, especially in the evening when my mental energy is low and I'm probably suffering from decision fatigue (if you haven't read up on decision fatigue, do because the concept is pivotal in weight loss and maintenance). 2. Plan some pleasurable, relaxing things and be sure to consciously label them as pleasurable, remind myself while I'm engaging in the activity (bath, hot tea, a favorite magazine with a blanket on the couch) "this is helping." 3. Let go of the "Why is this still a problem?" complaint. Obesity is generally a chronic issue that will need lifelong management. There will always be "flare-ups" of the problem, and it's no wonder I experienced what I did in light of the major transition in my life. Along the same lines, recognize that while the evening snacking became a problem again, I didn't really go way backwards, it was more like not moving forward, treading water. Maybe a little back, I mean I did gain more than a few pounds but it wasn't some kind of major, disastrous setback and, most importantly, I'm working on it. Finally, give myself a big atta-girl! for following through on my intention when I do. This isn't easy and when I'm successful I need to recognize that.

We also talked about making a list of the advantages of engaging in goal-oriented eating behaviors and some response cards to counter my sabotaging thoughts (such as, "why is it so hard" or "why haven't I mastered this?" or even my old favorite, "whatever, I don't care."). I haven't done that yet, not sure if I will, but writing here does sort of get at the same thing. Last night I had company over until late so I was distracted and had very little urge to snack. Tonight is a classic evening snacking night and so far, so good. Not feeling tempted at all.


I am still going strong! I skipped Monday but I've gone every day since then and plan to go tomorrow to hit my target of 4x a week. Yep, that's me, doing what I set out to do. My workout is getting easier, I'm getting stronger. I'm still doing lighter weights/fewer reps on some things and still only doing 20 minutes on the upright bike instead of my normal 25 - but I'm getting stronger every week and can really feel my body firming back up. I think the break was a good thing, I'm really enjoying my gym time again. My back was sore there for a few days but seems to be getting better.

Tuesday I ran 3 miles, lifted weights. Wednesday I rode the bike for 20 minutes, lifted weights. Today I ran 3 miles (ugh, it was hot outside) and lifted weights...awesome, right?! Especially since that half-marathon is now only 2 weeks away, it's a good thing I'm pulling it together.


I went to my WW meeting on Wednesday. Last week I ate every.single.Point allotted to me. But that's nothing new, I almost always eat all my Points. I ate my dailies, all 49 weeklies and all of the 55 activity points I'd earned. And you know what?? I lost 3.8 pounds last week. Huh?! So I'm 148.8 right now (1.8 more pounds and WW will be free for me again). I was expecting to lose and was still surprised it was over 3 pounds. Though the week prior I'd lost .8 so if you average them out it's 2.2 pounds per week, which isn't insane. Whatever, I'm happy to be putting in the work and getting results. The other thing is my body fat % is going down, it was 32% this morning (it had gone up to 33%), that's almost 1.5 pounds of fat. I'd be happy to get back into the high 20's for body fat - 28%, 29%...but I can't control that. All I can control are my eating and exercise choices.


  1. Great post. I really like how you are approaching the evening snacking issue. Great 'food' (ha) for thought.

    I've been trying to cut back on diet soda, so I randomly picked 2:30pm as my time to get my afternoon soda and it's been interesting the mind games I've played prior to that time trying to "justify" having it sooner. And while it's not calories, so it wouldn't be the end of the world if I had one with lunch, it's been kind of a little experiment into negotiating with myself about wants/needs both short/long term.

    Great job on the week of full points and the weightloss!!

  2. Hi, Michelle - I think those CBT exercises sound great, and helpful. And while I do think anyone who is previously overweight/obese will need lifelong management of their (our) weight, I'm not sure I agree that it should be such a daily struggle. I look at hunger and cravings less as behavioral or habitual issues (though they definitely are to an extent), and more as feedback signals my body is giving me about what I've eaten. I try to be really aware of what I've eaten when I get cravings or extreme hunger that doesn't match my food intake level. For me, for example, eating sugar and higher-carb foods causes cravings. I've read you say you won't give up "entire food groups" and I'm not suggesting you should, I'm just wondering if tweaking away from sugar/carbs some, and more towards protein/fat some, might help the hunger and cravings. It did for me.
    All best to you.

  3. YAY...

    thanks for this insightful knowledge, and sharing your cbt experience =-) I utilize response cards based on the advice from the Beck diet solution book, they are helpful.. when in fact they are used LOL
    I love your inspring success =-) it keeps me hopeful and going...

    im REALLY working on managing the habits that create havoc for me in this journey, and when im really paying attention to my hunger and satiety, some-times I greive food because im not able to eat as much as I can when I don't pay attention. LOL.. Typically half way thru my meal i have to stop because im done, as in full.. I REALLY need to grasp making less,and knowing if its not enough I can go back for more of something or make a new something, as opposed to struggling with stopping and/or having to throw foods away etc..

  4. some people think that therapists can and should be able to solve their own problems or that they just don't have any problems because they're a therapist and therefore know how to work thru things. not true. the old adage is that the mechanic, while taking care of and fixing everyone else's car, let's his car fall into disrepair. sometimes, you just need someone else to take the wheel. and also, because it IS your job, you're really not going to see what's right in front of your face sometimes. so good for you for seeking help! i do the whole scheduled snack thing. i take 2 low calorie snacks with me, plus my lunch, to work. i work 2-10 pm, so i eat one snack between 3 and 4, lunch around 6 and then the second snack between 8 and 9. then i eat my dinner when i get home around 10:30. it works really good for me to know that i'll be eating at a specific time when it comes to fending off "hunger." but it's so awesome that you're getting back on the wagon AND enjoying it! it's always better when you enjoy what you're doing.

  5. I also have a problem with snacking at night. I always get very frustrated at myself for eating so late. There are so many articles out there that advise against that. Maybe I'll try your advice out. After all, it isn't totally breaking my habit of evening eating.


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