Any time of day or night can be considered the bewitching hours for snacking. The bewitching hours are those hours that challenge your strength and commitment towards staying on track with your weight loss goal and not giving into those old habits of snacking. Your environment also will impact those bewitching hours. The people or are or are not around you can also be an impact. Your mood is another factor. I could go on and on about the factors that impact you during those bewitching hours.
Thinking about those days when you awake with a good mindset for staying on track with your weight loss goals. You make it through the morning and even the afternoon following your plans for getting enough liquid in and consuming adequate protein. You didn’t even give it a second thought when you passed by that late afternoon snack that others are having. Even the routine stressors that arise throughout the day have not sidetracked you. You’re on the home stretch, you have made it home and continued to make good choices at dinner. But just a little while later the little demon on your shoulder starts whispering or sometimes yelling in your ear “I want FOOD”!
Now the challenge begins the bewitching hours are upon you; now what? First acknowledge what is happening. Don’t just mindlessly give into that demon screaming in your ear. What do I mean by acknowledging? Stop what you are doing! Take a couple of really slow deep cleansing breaths. What are you mentally thinking about? What are you truly feeling physically? Work on determining if you are physically hungry or mentally hungry. Sometimes the truly honest answer is not that easy.
If you think it is physical hunger try a couple of the following techniques to help you confirm or deny. Review what foods you have eaten in the past 24hrs. How much protein have you consumed and at what times of day. Have you had carbohydrates and if so how much and what kind. Did you know that it takes three full days to rid your body of the “big or bad” carbohydrates before you will have a decrease in physical craving for more carbohydrates. Get a large cup of tea or low calorie drink and SIP it slowly. Another interesting fact is your body may not be in tune to hunger vs thirst.
After evaluating these above items and you are able to confirm that it is not physical hunger but mental hunger try a couple of the following to distract yourself. Growing up and as an adults in today’s society we have become a culture of immediate gratification. Your goal is to learn to delay the desire for immediate gratification snacking or grazing. I recommend using the alphabet as a starting point to list different options to delay your impulse for mindless eating or snacking. No I’m not asking you to sing the alphabet song! Take each letter and jot down as many things you can do that does not involve food. So letter A – action (get away from snacks), ask for help, anything to keep your hands busy, amaze yourself with your weight loss goals. Let’s take the letter B – build a network of friends to call, books to read, broom to sweep the floor, banish bad foods in sight, begin to exercise or stretch, belly dance, begin a craft, or breath very slowly.
You get the idea use each letter as a list of possible options to distract yourself during those infamous bewitching hours!