In addition to mindless eating, another one of my health challenges is late night snacking. During the day, I am sometimes too busy to eat lunch so I opt for an early dinner. By the evening, I find myself ravenous and end up eating whatever is most convenient – i.e. highly processed snack foods. You might think that the obvious solution would simply be not to purchase those highly processed snack foods in the first place so that they aren’t accessible. I don’t. As a rule, I try to keep healthy snacks like carrot sticks and fresh fruits around for my kids to snack on. Believe it or not, when I find myself getting an attack of the late night munchies I will actually get in the car and drive to our local, 24-hour minimart and stock up on the worst snack choices I can find. I am embarrassed to admit this but it’s true.
After researching several sites for solutions to help curb my late night snacking challenge, I finally hit upon some great advice that actually works – practice meditation.
According to Wikipedia:
The term meditation refers to a broad variety of practices that includes techniques designed to promote relaxation, build internal energy or life force and develop compassion, love, patience, generosity and forgiveness.
I learned through my research that mindfulness meditation encourages the practitioner to observe passing thoughts as they drift through the mind. Being aware of those thoughts – not judging them – can help ward off cravings by helping reduce stress. This makes sense to me because, as we all know, stress creates the hormone cortisol which increases our blood sugar. Increased blood sugar damages the adrenals and creates sugar cravings. It’s a vicious cycle. Adding a 20 minute meditation practice in the evening can help relieve stress and therefore reduce cravings. I gave it a try and it’s been working so far – 4 days and counting.
If you are interested in starting a meditation practice to help curve your food cravings, there is an interesting article on the Weight Watchers site entitled, “Can Meditation Help You Lose Weight?” by Valerie Reiss. It features a section on meditation how-tos that gives step-by-step instructions to help you get started.