Saturday, April 28, 2018

Nix the Nighttime Snacks: BMI = 28.1

Starving all day is not a good weight-loss plan. Starving all day and then bingeing at night is a terrible weight-loss plan. I used to try to starve myself all day but, really, I just wound up snacking all day. With my diet almost devoid of nutrient-dense fruits and veggies, by the time evening rolled around I desperately sought out comfort foods to fill the void. When people ask me about my weight loss, looking for some advice, they usually tell me their weakest time is in the evening. Some go so far as to brag about hardly eating anything all day long.

Yes, I remember how hard it was to kick my late-night binge eating. It was almost as hard as breaking my snacking addiction. The key for me was to stop trying to starve myself, even though I failed miserably at that. I had to start eating substantial, balanced meals. That starts with breakfast.

As soon as I mention breakfast, though, most people put on the brakes and start telling me that breakfast is a terrible idea. They are most able to avoid food in the morning, they tell me, and so they just don’t want to add those extra calories. Breakfast, however, is an opportunity to get a tonne of essential nutrition in your belly. I have a whole grain cooked cereal that gives me great energy for the start of my work shift. I dice an apple on top of it, have another serving of fruit on the side, and drink 3 ounces of orange juice. For protein, I have some mixed beans and smoked mackerel. The mackerel is also good for the omega fats, and to that end I have a couple walnuts and mix some soy beverage in with my 1% milk. The 1% milk offers even more protein, but also calcium and it is fortified with vitamin D. All totalled, my breakfast runs around 800 calories. It really is a breakfast, because by the time I start eating, I’ve gone about 14 hours without food.

Knowing that I’ve had plenty of fruit for the day, all my servings of dairy, all my required omega fats, and 2 servings of whole grain – I seek out mostly veggies and whole grains for my lunch. I still have some lean protein in my lunch, but it’s the veggies and whole grains that I need to get in me. It’s a lot of food.

By the time I eat dinner, I only need a few more servings of veggies and whole grains. It’s a lot of food to eat but the calories are low because I barely have any sugar in my diet. Eating this much food during the day makes late-night snacking easy to avoid. I’ve stopped trying to stop eating because now, each day, my goal is to get all my servings of the right foods as recommended by the Canada food guide.

If I starved myself all day, then I would likely end up bingeing at night again. Malnourished and hungry, it is unlikely that fruit, 1% milk, whole grain hot cereal, smoked mackerel and walnuts would seem very enticing. More likely I would want the calorie density of the two-pack of double-cheese burgers sold at the corner store across the street. It’s much easier to choose healthy food at breakfast, and that makes it easier for me to fill out a balanced diet at lunch and dinner.

Occasionally I still get a craving in the evening. These days, however, I’m happy to have a couple olives because I just can’t handle a meal-sized snack. If you have trouble controlling your appetite in the evening, then I’m willing to bet that you skip breakfast.

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