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Craving carbs at night? Here is why and what to do

carb cravings

Do you find yourself settling in front of Netflix every night and all you can think about is carbs?

Bread, cake, biscuits…

You just ate – how can you be hungry?  Why can’t you just resist the urge?

Well, because it isn’t you. Your body is trying to tell you something for a reason!

But the problem is, you don’t trust your body.

Ever since you were a child, you have been told to ‘finish everything on your plate,’ or to ‘stop eating all that chocolate, it is bad for you!’

These powerful messages erode the connection we have with our own internal cues which leaves us confused and even stressed about what and how to eat.

But if you are eating carbs at night there is a reason and there is also a solution.

1. YOU ARE NOT JUST NOT GETTING ENOUGH CALORIES

If you are not eating enough throughout the day, you will be calorie poor by the end of it and your body feels it!

You may feel like your breakfast and lunch are adequate but the chances are that you are so busy that you just aren’t stopping to actually check in with yourself.

Your body actually knows how many calories it needs. So if you ignore it earlier in the day, it will find a way to remind you at night by looking for that energy.

It happens to me sometimes….the boys are full-on from the minute I open my eyes and my days are jam-packed full so sometimes I don’t eat enough.  But boy do I know it when I finally do stop in the evening…

2. YOU’RE NOT GETTING ENOUGH CARBS THROUGHOUT THE DAY

I was guilty of this for so long, I used to believe that you should only eat carbs once a day – max!!!  It is also something I see clients do all the time also.  They deprive themselves of carbs all day then feel out of control around them in the evening.

The answer, add some carbs to each meal.  Having salads for lunch?  Add a small pitta or some potatoes and build on it.

3. YOU ARE LETTING YOURSELF GO HUNGRY IN BETWEEN MEALS

There seems to be a misconception that if we eat well at mealtimes, we shouldn’t need to snack.  Whilst some people may find that 3 meals are enough to get them through, the majority of us function best with snacks in between.

This is because when we get overly hungry, we become ‘hangry’ and our blood sugar levels dip.  This is a sign your body needs food and if you ignore it, the chances are that you will feel insatiable for the rest of the day and likely to overeat at your next meal.

Not to mention the nightly carb cravings…

One thing I always recommend to clients is to incorporate regular meals AND snacks throughout the day and include a balance of nutrients. So crackers and cheese, Greek yogurt and fruit, apple and peanut butter…You can download my free snack guide here.

4. YOU ARE NOT GETTING THE RIGHT BALANCE OF NUTRIENTS

As just mentioned, consistently creating balanced meals and snacks helps to keep you satisfied and your blood sugar level.  This means that you will experience fewer dips that can lead to cravings.

So, if you are eating carbs, makes sure you also include protein and fat.

5. YOU ARE DEPRIVING YOURSELF OF THE FOOD YOU LOVE

carb cravings

If you love sweets and biscuits, eat them!

Depriving yourself will only make you want them more, especially when you relax in the evening….

Instead of trying to micromanage your weight by avoiding them, focus on how fun foods make you feel. Maybe you don’t eat chocolate every day, maybe you do. There’s no right or wrong answer.

When you focus on how food makes you feel versus what you can’t have, you’ll notice cravings will ease.

SOME PRACTICAL TIPS TO HELP CURB CARB CRAVINGS

SET AN ALARM

Regular eating throughout the day will help you to eat enough, prevent you from getting overly hungry and will help rebuild trust in your body.

One of the reasons we often feel overwhelming urges to eat is because our bodies don’t know when they are next going to get fed.  This disconnect means that they overshoot in case of another long period without food.

Setting an alarm can be a practical way of getting you back into the habit and is something I regularly get clients to do.

PLAN THE NIGHT BEFORE

This should not be a rigid plan but having a loose structure with easy options available, according to your daily schedule, can ensure that you eat well throughout the day.  This works well for most of my clients.

BALANCE ALL MEALS AND SNACKS

I said it before, I will say it again!  Make sure that all meals and snacks have a balance of protein, carbs, and fats.  You will be giving your body the energy and nutrients it needs to thrive and curb cravings.  You can download my free meal planning guide here to help.

ALLOW ALL FOODS!

Unconditional permission to eat all foods is the key to a healthy relationship with food and is the first step to helping you stop obsessing about all the things you love but ‘cannot’ have.

I know it sounds easier said than done, it is naive to think you can just allow all foods after years of believing that is ‘wrong’ so I have developed a workshop series called ‘The Healthy Executive’ that will take you through the exact steps you need to take.  you can register your interest here.