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Tired of Overeating on the First Food You See After Work? Find Out How to Stop Inside...

Today I want to talk to you about one of the most common eating patterns I see people struggling with in my office. Here’s the scenario:

Rebecca (name changed for privacy) is an ambitious and hard working mom. She wakes up at 6am, tends to her kids and then heads to her desk job.

Her morning intake consists of zip fizz and an occasional light snack which includes a handful of popcorn. By 11:30 am, she’s ravenously scrounging for something to eat. After lunch, she snacks on candy from her desk.

When she comes home from work, she finds herself once again, ravenous. This will often lead her to snack on whatever is most readily available: popcorn, fruit snacks, granola bars etc. Since she’s so hungry she usually abandons her premade recipe plans and opts for something quick, like Dino Nuggets and fries. As she opens the freezer she comforts herself with this thought, “Who has time to make a meal that the kids aren’t gonna like anyway? Plus, I am hangry myself. I don’t want to wait 45 minutes for a meal.”

As the oven timer dings, Rebecca gives herself a pep talk. She coaches herself, “Eat a small portion. You know Dino Nuggets and fries aren’t healthy. You can’t keep eating these everyday. You’re allowed to have 3 nuggets and a small pile of fries.”

She listens to her inner self coach and doesn’t overeat at dinner. Unfortunately, this also means she doesn’t eat enough. After the dishes are put away and it’s time to relax she notices she’s still hungry. She’s not satisfied, and constantly thinking about food. She’s feeling snacky and wants something to help her relax. So, out comes the ice cream, chips and cookies to help “fill in the corners.” Two and a half hours later, it’s bedtime and she ends her day feeling defeated and confused about why she always feels so out of control around food in her evenings.

Does any part of Rebecca’s day sound familiar to you? Review the tips below to see how you can prevent your day from derailing.

Plan, Plan, Plan.

If you’re anything like Rebecca, and a lot of my other patients, you might be great at planning dinner but the earlier part of your day is more of a haphazard free for all. Try to have some food items on hand that are good grabs for quick and easy breakfasts. You’ll want to have some snack options that provide lasting energy, as well. Fast grab-n-go lunch items, like homemade bento boxes, to help ensure you’re not scavenging throughout the day are also a must. More planning during the earlier part of your day will help your dinner plans come to fruition. Some of my go-to quick foods are:

  • Hard boiled eggs

  • Berries and apples, pears, oranges

  • Oats

  • Cottage cheese

  • Greek yogurt

  • Carrots, mini bell peppers, cocktail cucumbers

  • CHOMP sticks

  • Unsalted walnuts and almonds

Rebuild, Rebuild, Rebuild.

Rebecca wasn’t eating enough earlier in the day partly due to business, but also because she wasn’t aware she was hungry. Sometimes when your hunger cues are broken, you need to adjust your eating habits in order to rebuild your cues. That might look like eating breakfast even if you don’t feel hungry in order to rebuild your cues.

Shift Your Window.

A large part of after-work binging problems can be solved with shifting your eating window to earlier in the day. When you don’t eat enough during the workday, your body reaches starvation mode after work and starts trying to make up for inadequate calories. Unfortunately, the evening is when your body is preparing for rest, as well (unless you work night shift) and doesn’t need the majority of its calories at that time of day. Try to ensure that your earlier meals are planned, balanced and present in order to help curb evening cravings.

Heaps of blessings,

Mikyah, RDN, LD, CD


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