I hear this often: “I’m on point all day, and then the evening comes… I start eating junk food and I don’t stop until bed time.” – Is it a problem with willpower and is there a way to combat it?
Willpower is Finite
Firstly, it’s important to understand that you are not alone.
This is a very common behaviour because researches now believe that willpower is finite. You have a specific and limited amount. Think of it as a glass. You start your day- all is good, you’re refreshed, your mind is clear and you’re ready to take on the world. Your glass is full.
You prepare a lovely, healthy breakfast and head into the office. Somebody cuts you off in traffic – you use willpower not swear, so the kids don’t hear you and learn profanity from Mom. The highway is backed up and you start to worry you’re going to miss your 8 am meeting. As a result, your glass is starting to drain. Again, you drum up the will to remain calm and not lose your cool. In addition, by the time you get to your desk, the light is blinking a message and your key team member is home with a sick kid. You scramble to come up with plan B – it’s on your shoulders to fix this issue. Your watch says 1pm and you haven’t even started the report that’s due tomorrow. It’s lunch time and that glass is almost empty.
So now dinner is done, kitchen cleaned up, kids to bed… Willpower and your batteries are drained.
You deserve those cookies, chips, ice cream right? You really want that treat. But at the same time you really don’t want the increased waist line that goes along with it.
Tips to Combat Night Cravings
How do you beat this and get the healthier, leaner version of yourself? We’ve already established that willpower is finite. So don’t count on it to keep you from the cupboard. Instead have a strategy:
- Find a healthier version of your favourite treat.
- Swap store bought cookies/chocolate bars for homemade Protein Bars (or even a store brands if it’ll keep you from eating a box of cookies). Reach out to me if you want my recipe for protein bars. My clients even pay me to make them.
- Swap bagged chips for homemade chips (takes 5 mins). Brush a little bit of olive oil on a tortilla wrap, add salt or any other spice you like. Cut into triangles and bake at 350 degrees for 6-8 minutes. Or bake Kale – super easy and really tasty.
- Swap high sugar ice-cream for protein ice-cream. Blend: lots of ice, a scoop of protein, 1 Tbsp cocoa, 1 Tbsp peanut butter. Really Yummy. I learned this trick when I cut calories to compete in Ms.Figure.
- Be aware. If it’s in your house, you, someone you love or someone you barely tolerate will eat it. So stop buying this trash at the grocery store.
- Change your habits. Stop plopping down in front of the TV craving your habit-forming reward. Go for a walk, a jog on the treadmill, a sauna or mediate. Distract yourself from the crap that’s calling your name.
- Have less of what you want. Treat yourself, just take less than you actually want to have. Over time this small effort will lead to big change. This is my favourite strategy and use it myself often to help me control my wine intake.
Be patient and kind to yourself, it takes a lot of practice to perfect a new skill.
You got this, and if you need some support, go ahead and email me. Let’s figure this out together.