I am a notorious late night snacker. I can do really great and stick to my plan all day but then late at night i’m starving (or at least I think I am.)
Here is some basic knowledge and some approaches that may work for you. As my friend Rob likes to say YMMV “Your mileage may vary”…
First of all; you may not be eating enough throughout the day.
You’re eating clean. Light breakfast or smoothie or maybe nothing, salad and clean protein for lunch then more protein and veggies at dinner. Super clean and low in carbs and fats! But hey, you’re actually only eating like 1,200 calories… That’s really not enough, especially if you exercise regularly.
Let’s look at a healthy level of caloric intake for a 35 year old Female who weighs around 185 lbs and is 5’ 8” who works out 1-3 times per week. She should be eating 2,400 to 2,100 calories per day. You can use a calorie intake calculator online to get a quick look at where you should be personally. I recommend getting a decent body scan as well like an InBody scan or professional skinfold measurement by a doctor or fitness professional.
The reason for this is that if you are not eating enough calories to maintain your lifestyle you will wind up feeling hungry all the time. Which will most likely result in binge eating and/or snacking when it’s available.
Food Quality Matters
While a calorie is a unit of measure for the energy found in food. Not all calories are the same IMHO. A calorie of sugar is not made up of the same stuff as a calorie of vegetables or steak. So if you are consuming what I could call “junk” calories they will not go as far as more nutritionally dense calories. So don’t just add more calories to your daily diet, add more high quality foods as well.
Max Lugavere & Late Night Snacking
Health and science journalist, New York Times bestselling author and podcaster Max Lugavere (https://www.instagram.com/maxlugavere/) cited a recent study “which involved 16 overweight men AND women (!), skipping breakfast and eating a late night snack after dinner (~9pm), compared to eating breakfast an hour after waking and an early dinner (between 5 and 6pm) and fasting afterwards, led to higher levels of grehlin (hunger hormone), lower levels of leptin (metabolic regulator), higher subjective hunger, and a lower metabolic rate the next day.”
What we conclusions we can draw from the study is that we have a natural day/night rhythm and when we put food into our system “after hours” we can short circuit that and the resulting hunger the next morning and early afternoon can be significant enough to make us break our plans.
Fix your environment
Something else i’ve discovered about myself is that I am an opportunistic snacker. If it’s there and I can find it, I may just eat it. I have good discipline in many aspects of my life except for snacking in general. One way I combat this is by simply NOT having things to snack on in my environment. I mean, I do my own shopping so why do I even get the snacks in the first place. There’s lots of reasons I can cook up for having the snacks but they are not really true… So, don’t buy them, or throw it out. That way when the snack demon hits you, you can go looking, but they won’t be there.