Picture this: You come home after a long day’s work… You’ve already eaten a balanced breakfast, a healthy snack and a satisfying lunch. You even said no to the muffins a client brought in as a thank-you to the office. Now, when you think you are safe at home, something weird happens.

You prepare a delicious healthy dinner, sit down and eat it, and then – have dessert and even help yourself to a midnight snack. You thought all your hard work during the day would stave off the evening cravings, but it didn’t. What gives?

Should you eat at night?

Rest assured that there isn’t a metabolic reason not to past a point on the clock. If you work a non-traditional shift at work, then eating at night is certainly something you should do. Eating at night isn’t inherently bad. It’s poor planning and under-eating that will wreck havoc on your all your hard work during the day.

Of course, skipping meals is the number one cause of overeating at night. Studies show that skipping breakfast can lead to an 24% increase in binging later in the day. Planning to eat three balanced meals a day plus healthy snacks can help you eat less at night. Also, be conscious of mindless eating whenever you are in front of the television, reading, or just relaxing once you get home.

Sleep is an good way to avoid late night eating

Sleeping is a great deterrent to late night eating. However, if you’re eating less than two hours before bed you may be impairing your ability to get a good night’s sleep. Sleep helps your body recharge and ready itself for the tasks of the day ahead. Also, the hormones leptin and ghrelin are regulated through sleep. Both have a key function in weight control. Too much ghrelin can cause increased appetite and fat production and too little leptin can cause a lack of energy. Sleep is the cure to regulate each of these hormones and help you maintain your weight over time.

How to avoid over eating late night

It is possible for you to stop over eating late night. The easiest way is to distract yourself with some non-food related activities.

Here are some simple ways you can reduce your food intake in the evening:

  • Take your dog for a walk
  • Gab with a friend on the phone
  • Read a book just for fun
  • Indulge in a bubble bath
  • Pick up around your home
  • Treat your body to an extra long stretching session
  • Allow yourself a low-calorie snack in the evening
  • Plan your meals before your day begins and do your best to stick to the plan
  • Enjoy a cold glass of water with lemon or a cup of warm tea

Late night eating does not have to derail your hard work. Take measure of how often you indulge to capacity during the week and try some of the tips listed to get control of your diet.