We’ve all been there. The 4pm slump that hits you, making you feel tired, irritable, and insatiably hungry for cookies, sweets, and anything you can get your hands on. Most of the time you’re eating these yummy treats without even realizing it and before you know it you’ve packed 5 mini cupcakes into your mouth and added 650 (I’m being forgiving when I use that number) calories to your rear end. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but now, not so much, right?
The next time you find yourself in a battle with yummy gooeyness think about this first:
“Why Am I Doing This?”
Ask yourself, “Am I rewarding myself for something? Perhaps you got reamed out by your boss, or your credit card bill was astronomical this month, or you had a fight with your husband before leaving for work this morning. If so, find another way to reward yourself when you leave for the day. Make sure that it’s something special (and not food related) that you will get ONLY if you avoid giving into your temptation.
Are You Eating Out Of Boredom?
If so, make an attitude change. Take a break if you can and get outside for some fresh air. If you can’t though, maybe try calling a friend and telling her how bored you are. Talking it out can really help you resist the urge to give into your weakness. Recognizing that you’re bored and not really hungry will give you the push you need to fight that little sucker off.
Are You Really Hungry?
That’s fair, it’s 4pm after all. It’s been 3-4 hours since lunch and will most likely be at least another 3 until dinner, so eat something, but make it healthy. Combining a carb and a protein will help make it more filling and will satisfy you longer, so try something like a cup of grapes and a low-fat string cheese, or an apple and some yogurt, or a 190 calorie chocolate peanut Kashi Bar (yum! Those are my favorite!). Just make sure that it’s a snack and you’re not doubling up. Keep it at 200 calories or less and you’ll be good to go.
If this happens to you often then you need to plan ahead. The day will spontaneously throw a million things your way, which can be very stressful. It’s during stressful times that we often eat the wrong foods and eat impulsively. So, come up with a plan to tackle the stress and prepare for the inevitable curve ball. Recognize that you eat when you’re stressing and make sure to keep healthy snacks that you enjoy on hand. Don’t wait until your hungry or stressed to make these decisions, because most likely it will be the wrong choice.
It’s Like The Peloponnesian War
If you do find yourself eating the cupcakes don’t beat yourself up about it. Dr. Wayne Dyer once said that guilt is like the Peloponnesian War – it’s in the past, so stop dwelling on it. I love that! What’s done is done, so feeling guilty or upset at yourself for what you ate is pointless. The only purpose that serves is to make you feel bad, but does it change anything? No! The only thing you can do is resolve to plan ahead for next time and ask yourself, “why am I doing this? Am I really hungry? Am I bored?”.
UPDATE ON MY NIGHTTIME SNACKING 40 DAY CHALLENGE: My challenge to myself was to limit my night-time snacking to 100 calories or less for 40 days. I’ve tried to kick this habit for a long time with bouts of success, but nothing really long-lasting. I’m happy to say that I’m on day 10 and going strong. I will admit though that I am human and slipped up last night. Not terribly, but still it was an urge I couldn’t resist. See, my husband, Roman asked me to make him a sinful snack – a peanut butter, Nutella, banana, and honey sandwich. I know, the best thing you’ve ever heard, right! I had already had dinner and my 100 calorie Skinny Cow ice cream bar and I wasn’t even really that hungry, but my taste buds were tingling just at the sound of those words coming out of his mouth. So, I confess, I had a 1/4 of the banana with some peanut butter, I licked the Nutella yumminess off the knife, and then had a 3-4 bites of his sandwich.
I felt guilty for a bit, but then decided to forgive myself before I went to sleep, per my advice that I gave all of you yesterday on getting back on the horse. After all, I’m committed to this goal and indulging once in a while is ok. It doesn’t mean that I’m not going to continue to work on it, it just means that I’m human and need to indulge once in a while.