evening eating – results of a month’s monitoring

From November 27, 2013 to December 27, 2013, I kept track of my evening eating (see the tab ‘evening eating’, above).  Evening eating has been a problem for me for years.  After a good supper, I frequently begin a frenzy of trips to the refrigerator, to see what might be good to eat.

As a result of keeping track earlier this month (https://alexandra128.wordpress.com/2013/11/25/), I know that I can help my evening eating by:

  1. keeping track of my eating for the day
  2. planning to eat a snack from a food group where I did not eat enough (example: milk)
  3. keeping occupied during the evening with a diversionary activity (example: knitting, drawing, reading)

This approach seemed to work for me during the month.  I did not have any evenings where I lost control, although I did eat more than my planned snack on a couple of evenings.  Also, I knitted most evenings and finished a multi-coloured cowl I can wear on my winter walks outside.

the cowl I knit during the evenings in December
the cowl I knit during the evenings in December

I am going to continue to record my evening eating strategies in MyFitnessPal‘  (http://www.myfitnesspal.com/).  I’ll be sure and show you the results of my next ‘diversionary activity’ project!!!!

Best always, Alexandra 

Alexandra reading, not eating
Alexandra reading, not eating
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evening eating – my results

Two days ago I set a very short-term goal:

Goal #5: In two days (on November 25) I would like to be able to say that I have been more mindful about my evening eating, deciding beforehand what snack I will eat and finding other ways to occupy myself.

This is the notebook page where I kept a record of how I approached this goal:

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You will notice the stickers I’ve added to the page.  Perhaps this is childish, but I respond very well to rewards, even something as simple as a sticker.  Stickers are generally inexpensive and they decorate my otherwise boring spiral notebook.

This may seem a lot of work for two evenings of being in control of my after-supper eating.  But I hope to learn from this and continue to work on this bad habit of excessive eating during the evening hours.

From now on, I am going to plan my snack, based on the food groups I have remaining at the end of the day.  Usually these are fruit, vegetable and milk food groups.  By choosing to eat from one or two of these groups, I put myself in control and I round out the nutrients I need.

I am also going to keep a book and my knitting nearby so when I feel the urge to eat, I will divert my attention with another enjoyable activity.

Alexandra reading, not eating
Alexandra reading, not eating

In my wanderings around the Internet, I found an excellent discussion about eating mindfully in the evening hours at http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/nutrition_articles.asp?id=407

Stay tuned.  Tomorrow I will be choosing a new short-term goal.

Best always, Alexandra

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evening eating – making a plan

My short-term goal for the next couple of days is to approach evening eating ‘mindfully’.

One of my biggest problems is eating in the evening.  I have breakfast and lunch under control.  I take a healthy approach to dinner.  Then 8 PM hits, and I lose control!

Why?????

  1. In the evening I am tired and less likely to be in control
  2. I usually watch TV in the evening and that includes commercials
  3. I usually don’t approach the evening with any kind of plan

I track my eating on most days.  Recently I found an ‘app’ called MyFitnessPal‘  (http://www.myfitnesspal.com/) that helps me to keep a record of what I have eaten.  It also tracks nutrients so I will know at the end of the day if I haven’t had enough calcium or fibre.  I have tried a number of apps to track calories, but this is the best I’ve found.  Gradually it builds a dictionary of your usual foods, so entering the food gets quicker with time.  The app also allows you to track exercise and the water you drink.

The downside of this app is the lack of a way to track food-groups consumed.  For that, I have a quick free app called ‘ CheckOff Diet Tracker’ (New Angle Technologies LLC).  It lets me set my goals for each food group as well as for exercise and water.  Then I can quickly check off the foods I have eaten and know what I have remaining for the day.

Ways I can be mindful about my evening eating:

  1. plan a snack; pick a food group remaining after the day – usually this is a milk choice but sometimes it is a fruit or vegetable
  2. eat my snack at the table instead of in front of the TV
  3. pay attention to the texture, smell and taste of the food
  4. keep an activity close at hand to keep occupied (for me, this is knitting, watercolours or reading)
  5. keep a notebook nearby to record eating impulses – describe the circumstances and my responses
  6. go to bed at a regular time instead of sitting mindlessly

My approach to any goal is my ‘plan’.  On my ‘plan’, I can write down ideas and track my progress.  I can also use the ‘plan’ as a reminder to steer me through a difficult stretch.

Recording how I am feeling can help me understand what triggers my evening eating.  Usually I am not hungry.

Below is the page of my planning book.  A spiral notebook with plain pages works for me, although I am bad at drawing straight lines!

You can copy and use the page too, if you want to plan your evening eating.  In a couple of days, I’ll show you my completed page and how I did.

A simple ‘Hunger index’ is 1 to 3, where 1 is not hungry (just ate), 3 is ravenous (stomach growling), and 2 is somewhere between.

plan for evening eating

Do you have problems controlling your evening eating?  What are your solutions?

Best always, Alexandra

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