This is always a difficult time of year! We wake in the dark and go home in the dark. It feels like there are less opportunities, or a lack of desire to go for a walk in the evening time. I always hear about more snacking from patients, during the day, but especially in the evening.

Today I met a woman, who says that “potato chips are my kryptonite”. She was at an event where they kept filling the bowl on her table with chips. Throughout the evening however, she kept talking to herself. She asked herself “do you want to put all that weight back on?” and “are these chips worth the guilt that I will have later if I eat them?”

Ultimately she didn’t have one chip. Later she felt physically and emotionally better that she had been able to talk herself out of having these treats.

This goes for all of us; we are faced with snacks on a daily basis, and somehow we have to stay focused on what we want to accomplish for ourselves, both short term and long term. If we can continue on an ongoing basis to talk to ourselves, and remain aware and mindful of why we want to lose weight and how we are going to feel, it will become easier to resist snacking. Temporary gratification is exactly what it says; temporary. It’s a setback. Also, the snacks will be there tomorrow and the next day and the next.

If we learn and keep practicing saying “no”, it will become easier. Self-talk is very effective; just as this client did with the chips in front of her.

Movement is always an effective tool also; if you are lucky enough to have exercise equipment, then a 10 min walk on the treadmill or elliptical or stationary bike will immediately deflect you away from the food. If walking in the dark doesn’t bother you, then go for a walk; get away from the house or apartment and the temptation of food.

Be aware of your danger times. “Be prepared” as the scout motto says. If T.V. and snacking is your Achilles heel, then have some cut up vegetables to chomp on, prepared, ready in the fridge; rather than chips or crackers and cheese, or other unnecessary snacks.

Surely we can all survive from supper to the next morning without food! Actually, we need to learn to stop a poorly developed habit that was not there 30 years ago. None of us snacked; most parents didn’t allow it, or if they did, it was usually an apple. Similarly we do not eat just before bed; another habit. It’s not only unnecessary calories, it really spikes the insulin overnight, and we simply go into storage mode, rather than burning a few calories while we sleep.

Keep an eye on your goal; eliminate night snacks. Try a short exercise session if you can instead.

You can do it; habits can be changed. It takes mental and emotional work, but it can be achieved. Just keep trying; never ever give up trying.

Dr. B