Controlling Late-Night Cravings
Research at St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital Center in New York City and the University of California, Berkeley reveals that people are less likely to make more complex decisions such as choosing healthy foods when they are tired, and are more likely to choose junk food as a reward for working hard.
To avoid this from happening especially at night, Kelly McGonigal, Ph.D., a health psychologist at Stanford University and author of The Willpower Instinct suggests that one should make many good choices earlier, because one’s self control usually deteriorates as the day goes on. This means packing healthy meals and snacks to avoid using the vending machine, and preparing nutritious snacks to come home to at the end of the day.
Psychologist Heidi Grant Halvorson, Ph.D. and author of Succeed also recommends making specific plans on how to deal with temptations, like deciding to eat fruit instead of junk food, to reach one’s dietary goals. McGonigal says that brain imaging studies show that taking a few deep breaths before biting on food helps turn off the ‘reward’ center when faced with temptation.
Instead of turning to sugary foods for an instant boost of energy, psychologist Roy Baumeister, Ph.D., and co-author of Willpower recommends taking a protein snack for long lasting energy.
Finally, McGonigal asserts that one must create some rules to keep, so that when confronted with temptation, the brain does not have to undergo any conflict. This includes rules like eating only fruits and vegetables after 5 pm, consuming take-out foods only on Fridays or not buying candy no matter what.
Emery, L. 5 Cures for Your Late-Night Cravings. MSN.
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