If there's anything I've learned from working with clients, its that there's three particularly tricky times of day for people trying to make healthy choices.
The 3 pm slump.
The after work snack.
AND ALL NIGHT LONG.
Today I wanted to talk about two effective strategies for managing your after work snacking. Ya know. When you walk in the house and head straight to the cabinets and chow down on a box of Tate's Cookies.
Sure. You can try not keeping junk in the house...but I also know too well that many of you have kiddos, S.O.s or whatever reason that having something of the less-healthy-variety is going to be in stock. Keeping those "trigger foods" in opaque containers, on high shelves or the back of the fridge/freezer is a good way to keep them out of eyesight, but it doesn't help if you have already solidfied the unhealthy habit of binge-ing after work.
Let's talk strategy.
My first question is, "Are you truly hungry when I get home from work?" Meaning, if you were to walk in the door and I was to offer you a big ole' healthy plate of grilled chicken breast (perfectly seasoned, not the nasty dry stuff, duh) and broccoli - would that sate your craving? Are you hungry because you barely at at work all day? When you get home are you truly famished?
If the answer is, "HECK YUH, I'M ACTUALLY HUNGRY," then we gotta build some snacks into your day, dude. You need to eat lunch. Like, ya gotta make that ish happen. Pack leftovers from dinner, order a salad with extra protein at lunch or go for an ole' fashioned sandwich with extra lettuce, tomato, onions for veggie-power.
But if you find that despite eating lunch you still return home from work starved, then a snack at the end of the day at work is a great solution. Why am I telling you to pack a snack instead of just eating one when ya get home?
Its to break the habit circle! Right now your 'habit loop' looks like this:
Starving when home from work ---> overeat ---> stall your fat loss goals
If you pre-pack a balanced 200 calorie snack for work and eat it an hour or two before you arrive home, you won't be starving and you won't start the nasty habit loop. I guarantee if you try and snack on 200 calories of balanced eats when you get home from work you're going to end up knee deep in wayyy too much food.
Some great, convenient 200 calorie snack ideas include:
An ostrim protein stick paired with an apple (or small fruit)
An Orgain Grass Fed Protein Shake
Baby carrots dipped in whole fat Siggi's yogurt (its so good, I swear!)
An Organic Valley Cheese Stick with a small piece of fruit
A serving of Enlightened Broad Beans (THESE ARE SO GOOD YOU HAVE TO TRY THEM) on Greek yogurt or with a serving of veggies/fruit
Half an avocado sprinkled with pink himalayan sea salt and pepper
1/2 cup of cottage cheese and a 1/2 cup pineapple
Ya feel me? A little snack before you get home in the comfort of your office where you don't have access to a kitchen supply of food to binge on is what I recommend!! Then get your booty home and eat a balanced, healthy dinner and say 'boi bai' to binge-ing.
Okay. Now how about those of you who know you're not TRULY hungry when you walk inside after work. You're using food because you're stressed, you're tired, you're lonely, you hate your boss, whatevs.
Your habit loop looks a little somethin'somethin' like this:
Emotional ---> Rush to the kitchen and eat all the foods!!!! ---> Temporarily feel better
Too bad all the foods also leads to stomach aches, guilt, bloating and unhealthy fat deposition (when done on the reg).
I'm about to give you a super simple and powerful tip.
Are you ready?
When you get home, give yourself fifteen minutes before you're allowed to enter the kitchen/cabinets/wherever the food is. During these fifteen minutes, try (IF POSSIBLE) to do something relaxing. Maybe sit with your kid(s) and play or ask them how their day was, listen to a podcast, put some music on and organize mail or laundry, lay on your bed and just zen out, meditate, color in an adult coloring book, do yoga, go for a walk.
Just set a timer for fifteen minutes. Let your body release the tension you built up at work. Let your mind reset. Give yourself a BREAK. Albeit so short... I bet it will help a lot of you take the time you need to emotionally recharge and not need food to get you through the day.
This won't help everyone, but I bet it will be powerful for some of you. Give it a try. Let me know your experience.
Looking for extra love and support to beat the emotional eating blues? Join my facebook group and hang out with meeee!!!
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