Hi there, Kris here with Custom Fitness, your personal trainer in Amarillo, Texas. Today I want to take a look at those late day munchies we all get.  Need some help sorting out your munchy cravings? Give us a call at 806-322-3188 and we’d be happy to help.

You’re heading home from work when it hits…the munchies!

You walk in the door and have to pass by or through the kitchen and it’s all you can do to keep from grabbing food before greeting your loved ones. Then while dinner is being prepared, you just can’t help but reach for sweet or salty treats in the pantry throughout prep and cooking time. It feels like you haven’t eaten all day!   You have to satisfy that craving, right?  Well, you do, but not in the way you may think.

If this is happening to you 3 or more days each week, we need to talk.

There are a few different reasons this can be happening.

1. You seriously didn’t eat enough today.

Sometimes our portions are off, sometimes the balance of food composition (every meal needs an appropriate amount of fat, protein and vegetables), sometimes the day gets away from us and we forget lunch (As a personal trainer in amarillo, I have heard this as the main excuse from my most busy clients). If this is you, altering the balance of  your fueling issues will greatly decrease your need to munch before dinner.  You’ll arrive home still feeling satisfied and skip the pantry.

2. Your meals were unbalanced throughout the day.snacks, nutrition, hungry, healthy food, health

Perhaps you ate breakfast at 6:30 am, lunch at 12 pm and now here it is dinner time at 7:30 pm. When you don’t evenly space your meals throughout the day, it’s very easy to come to a point of “hangry”(hungry-angry) by dinner time. You see, the body needs fuel on an ongoing basis and at regular intervals throughout the day.   Much like how you probably like to know how much and when you’ll be getting paid so you can plan ahead to pay your bills, your body really likes to know that it will be receiving ALL of the nutrition it needs and when it can be expecting that nutrition. This way the body can jump on the chance to utilize it. Consistently balancing the timing of your meals can have a profound impact on decreasing your evening cravings.

3. You’re exhausted.

After a long day or night, your body has nothing left to give. You need a pick me up. Some energy. Let me let you in on a little secret: the calories that everyone is so terrified of consuming due to the American Fear of gaining weight, they are actually good for you! You see, calories are a unit of measurement for energy! It’s how we measure energy; just like how we measure distance in inches or feet. So while you could grab a coke or cup of coffee to perk you up in the mid-afternoon or evening, that isn’t what your body is in need of. More often than not, your body would love an extra big serving of nutrients (coming from calories) -and water, to get your energy lift.

So why are you craving those not so great for you sweet treats? Because 1g of protein or 1 g of carbs have 4 calories where 1 g of fat has 9 calories. 9 is more than 4 so eating that high fat treat will provide more energy quicker. When you’ve waited too long to eat, the body isn’t thinking as much about superb nutrition as much as it is sheer survival. This leads to higher calorie intake with minimal nutrient density and therefore, more fat storage.

To be more proactive in the future:

Eat plenty of protein and veggies during the day.  These should be paired with a moderate amount of healthy fats. This balance will help you feel better about walking right past those less than perfect treats.

Sometimes our cravings in the evening have nothing to do with how we ate during the day because they are made up in our minds due to the habits we’ve built.  Rituals that revolve around eating can be very tough to break.

If everyday you walk in the door from work and ate a handful of candy, your brain would begin to hold you to that and it would become a habit. Your brain gets a sugar rush and thinks, “Hey this is great! I’m feeling happy and excited. Let’s do that again.”  Your body floods with endorphins and the next day you feel the candy calling to you.  Don’t give in.  Breaking habits is never fun or easy, but a habit like this will save you untold hours of “working harder to get healthier”.

It takes a minimum of 21 days to begin changing a habit. How long you’ve had the habit will determine how much longer it could take to reset.Sometimes it helps to make a decision to do something different in a different place to “preoccupy” yourself during the time you’d normally be eating that snack.  If you come in through the garage, next to the pantry, try entering your house from the front door. Maybe have something to occupy your hands waiting for you (a magazine, book, puzzle, etc.). However you choose to break the habit, you have to acknowledge the issue is there in the first place.

So to summarize, if you are feeling munchy in the evening, you need to check your food balance and timing, work on getting better quality or quantity of sleep to break those bad habits.

If you are having trouble during the transition time and need a little outside help, taking an amino acid (protein) supplement like this one or drinking a protein shake on the way home from work could be the help you need.

That’s all for today.  If you have any questions about our personal training, nutrition counseling, or group classes and programs, please contact us at: info@customfitness.biz or 806-322-3188. At Custom Fitness we are YOUR personal trainers in Amarillo, Texas. Have a great week.