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Why We Eat At Night

Hi there!

Food cravings at night are powerful. What causes them and what can we do to overcome them.

Some of this weeks episode highlights are:
4:18 Three reasons why people struggle with food in the evening.
13:05 What can you do to overcome food struggles in the evening?
14:38 This is what we do in The Journey Beyond Weight Loss Membership - we teach you to be super aware of what you are thinking by becoming super aware of what you are feeling.

--- Full Raw Transcription of Podcast Below ---

Introduction (00:00):
You are listening to The Keep The Weight Off podcast with Dr. Angela, episode number 12

New Speaker (00:07):
Welcome to The Keep The Weight Off podcast, where we bust all the dieting myths and discover not just how to lose weight, but more importantly, how to keep it off. We go way beyond the food and we use science and psychology to give you strategies that work. And now your host, Dr. Angela Zechmann.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (00:30):
Hey everybody. Welcome.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (00:33):
Marchelle and I have just been having an awesome time here in the Pacific Northwest because it's sunny out and that hardly ever happens, especially this time of year. And I know it's warm, it's been great. And we actually discovered that we were both at the farmer's market over the weekend. We didn't run into each other and missed each other! Oh, well, that was really nice. And you know, it's interesting because this time of year in the Pacific Northwest, like when it's sunny and the skies are blue, the snow has not melted from the mountains. And so beautiful - they are amazing. And the water's blue, it's just gorgeous.

Marchelle (01:12):
Like you just don't want to be anywhere else when I drive home to Shelton. And there's this part where I can see that the mountains, like the Olympics are coming up and it is so beautiful.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (01:22):
Oh, it's just gorgeous. Yeah. And you know what I noticed, even like at the farmer's market and just people are out and about, and it's like, there's, there's a whole bunch of optimism these days because people are getting vaccinated. And like, we were able to have a little get together at our house over the weekend and not have to worry about all the masks and stuff. And people are starting to think like, Oh, you know, like it's time to actually come out of hiding. I know people wanting to do a lot of people were just waiting for the sunshine. Yeah, exactly. Like, like it's time to start coming out of hiding. And it's like, but wait a minute. I've just been wearing yoga pants for months and months over a year now. And I want to wear my cute clothes again and they don't fit quite right.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (02:07):
Which becomes a problem. And so it's like, Hmm. So I've got a solution. I have a perfect solution. So what I am doing is a sugar detox challenge. So it's a sugar detox challenge. It's four days. And if you sign up for the challenge, I just send you an email every day with a link to a video that you watch. And then you do the video and you post your answers to the exercises in Sugar and Flour Buster Society on Facebook. And then you get entered into a drawing for an Amazon gift card, a $25 Amazon gift card that I'll give away every day. And I will do Q and A on Facebook in the evenings. So that's something to consider doing. That's just four days.

Dr. Angela and Marchelle (02:52):
I wish everybody in the whole world would do a four day sugar detox. I mean, you don't actually have to detox during the four days. I'm just teaching you what you need to know in order to do the detox. No, I think they should do it. You think they should?

Marchelle (03:05):
I had to do it. Yeah.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (03:11):
So I'll put the link ( to sign up for that detox challenge in the show notes so that you can just go right there and sign up. If you're interested in doing that, you do have to sign up in order to get the emails so that we know who's all in the challenge.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (03:29):
Today we wanted to talk about why so many of us struggle with cravings at night. Like we hear this all the time. Oh, it's definitely my weakness. Yeah. I mean like, Oh, I do fine all day. Like, morning's not a problem. I've got my breakfast, I've got my lunch. And it's like, I get home in the evenings and after dinner, that's when the cravings hit and that's when I really struggled. And so I wanted to talk about that a little bit, because from what I know about weight loss and obesity treatment, I, I think there are at least three different reasons why this is happening.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (04:11):
And so I wanted to explain that to you so that you know what to do about it. Okay. So three reasons why people struggle with food in the evening. And the first reason is blood sugar swings. Okay. So these swings actually get started in the morning. And what I find regularly is if people have, especially people with a lot of insulin resistance, if they have carbs in the morning, carbs or sugar. So like, let's say, you know, they usually have their good protein breakfast plan, but then they, they get rushed. And so instead they have like an English muffin with peanut butter on it and dash out the door or coffee with a lot of creamer or like what I used to do. Something like that. Yeah. Something like that. Yes. And so what that does, is it jacks, the blood sugar up, and then there's a rebound low.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (05:10):
And then all day long, there are these blood sugar ups and downs, but during the day you're busy, you got your, your jobs to do. You got your tasks. You're busy talking to people. And so you don't really notice those ups and downs so much until the evening. And that's when we can really start seeing the cravings hit. So anytime somebody says, I'm really struggling in the evening, that's one of the first things I do is I check, okay, what are you having for breakfast? So that's what you can do because that's actually a pretty easy fix is just get the protein in it.

Marchelle (05:41):
Breakfast I've noticed is like the easiest meal to skip. And so it always made perfect sense why people have told me they're having cravings in the evening when they've been skipping breakfast. And I used to do it myself. So I still sometimes do it. That's one of the meals for me to get in is breakfast because I am like on my feet and ready to go out the door. So I have to be really mindful of how I set my blood sugar for the day. And if I don't, I mean, I've really struggled with it if I don't I'm struggling for the rest of the day.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (06:14):
Yeah. So getting your blood sugar stable in the morning, huge, huge key here. The second reason that people might be struggling in evening, and this is also a biochemical reason and that's the actual addictive property of sugar and flour products. So, you know, if you you have to remember like Twinkies are not food. Sugar is addicting. Yeah. Sugar's a drug and Twinkies are not food. So in the evenings, you know, like we're winding down from our day and this is the classic top time that drug cravings hit.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (06:52):
And so that's often what's going on basically, you know, you're the dopamine center in your brain that addiction center in your brain needs it's hit. And so you're going to feel that hit in the form of cravings for something, you know, either the flour stuff like the chips or the tortillas or bread or something like that, or the sweet stuff like candy or ice cream or whatever it is that your particularly drug of choice is. So, so that's the second reason. And that again is more biochemical. And so sometimes if you can go through the sugar detox, hint, hint, hint, hint, and work on that next week. You can get yourself off of that. It takes a little, it takes a couple of weeks, really, for most people to get off sugar and flour products. But once you're off of it, at least you won't have to worry about that being one of the reasons why you're struggling in the evening.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (07:45):
Okay. The third reason that we might be struggling in the evening is that it's more of a emotional or psychological reason. And it has to do with the way we think about ourselves and the way our brains are programmed. So most of us have brains that are wired for survival. So our brains are constantly looking for ways to keep us alive. This is how we evolved through the dangerous millennia that we evolved through. And there's all day long. There's like this critical commentary going on in our brains. Did I do enough? Did I do this right? What is he or she thinking about me? Oh God, I feel so fat. Why is my child struggling? What did I do wrong? This is just this constant barrage that our brain is telling us that we're not enough. We didn't do enough. We're not worthy. We didn't get it right. We haven't done enough. It's all up to us. Just we to do it all. We don't have time to do it all. So it's never enough. And we're constantly pushing ourselves and we're criticizing ourselves and we're judging ourselves all day long.

Marchelle (09:08):
I feel like we were talking about my life.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (09:11):
We were talking about my life. Tell me talking about me too. It's just all day. You know, so most of us, it's kind of, we don't really hear this chatter all day. It's kind of under the surface. It's like the air conditioner. That's blowing the fan in the room and you know, you're just, you're busy and it's under the surface there, but we don't really pay that much attention to it sometimes.

Marchelle (09:33):
For me is that I'm feeling that throughout the day and like three hours before I'm ready to get off work. I'm thinking about like, where I'm going to go find a donut. It is planned where, where I'm going to get that next dopamine hit. If I don't do things right. And I'm not mindful. So yeah, especially like if I'm having a really stressful day. Yeah, yeah.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (09:57):
Especially like if you're super, super busy at work and you know, you're helping your kids with schoolwork and there's home tasks and there's driving and, you know, getting people to appointments, getting yourself to your appointment, there's just so much going on.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (10:11):
But then in the evening, kids are in bed. It's time to relax. And this is the time where these thoughts really start to show up when we start noticing them. But before we even really notice them, we're already in the food. Okay. Because the food is going to distract us from those thoughts. Imagine if you couldn't have your food, like what would you do with yourself? If you can sit down in front of the TV and eat chips or eat popcorn, or get some ice cream or whatever, it might be like, all of those thoughts would be there and they'd need to be processed. Right? So again, I want you to remember that this is all normal brain functioning. Like this is normal, nothing wrong with you, if this is happening, but it's not gonna, like, it's not helpful. Like we have to retrain our brains.

Marchelle (11:06):
Does boredom fall into that? Because I've noticed like a lot of times when I would just need to snack, I've already had dinner and I'm going to watch my show. I'm going to binge watch something. And I, the first thing I think of is like, Oh, what sounds good for me to snack on while I'm watching? So I feel like that may come from bored or just habit. Maybe there's a, some of that there too. Yeah. Cause it's still hard.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (11:33):
Yeah. But I mean, part of the, part of the reason why it feels boring is because you're not distracting yourself with all this other stuff that you have to do, all the tests that you have to do. And you're left with your thoughts. You're left with all these critical thoughts. Yeah. Yeah. A lot of people they're drinking. It's not just food. It's alcohol too, right? Yeah. Like a couple glasses of wine every night, you know, or more!

Marchelle (11:55):
Or a couple of five! A couple or five glasses when it's been a really hard day. Exactly.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (12:02):
Yeah. Yeah. So, so these are all just sort of ways of distracting ourselves from these really sort of troublesome thoughts. So so I just want, you know, if this is you, I don't want you to feel badly about it. I just want you to know that what's happening to you is actually normal and there are ways to solve it. Okay.

Marchelle (12:23):
And from my perspective, we are all going through this. I hear this so much.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (12:26):
Oh yeah. So we're all part of a big, huge tribe. Yeah. Yeah. I agree. I agree. So this is why the evenings are so hard. Like we're decompressing from our days dinner's done the kitchen's cleaned up. Maybe not usually for me, but the kids are in bed. It's time for a reward after a hard day. And so perhaps our blood sugars have been swinging around all over the place. Perhaps our dopamine center in the brain is screaming for its hit. And you know, and then we've also got this critical thinking that's going, that's been going on all day that just wears us down. And you know, usually it's all three of these factors all at once. So what do you do about this? That's what I want to help you with. Like, what do you do about this? Well, the first solution, and I kind of already mentioned it is to make sure you clean up your breakfast and plan your meals so that your blood sugar is not swinging around all over the place.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (13:20):
So you can at least eliminate that as a factor in this. Okay. So your blood sugars are stable. You don't have to worry about blood sugar swinging. The next solution is to get your brain off sugar and flour. And again, we have a solution for that. That is to join our sugar detox challenge. And it's happening next week. Monday through Thursday, April 26th through April 29th, 2021. So and I apologize to those of you who are listening to this weeks afterwards we'll do another sugar detox challenge, another time that you can join. But the third thing you can do, and this is the important piece. One of the most important pieces is to learn how to manage your mind. Okay. All of these self-critical thoughts that you're thinking all day, they're normal, but they're not necessary. And you can actually reprogram your brain so that you're not constantly thinking all of these self-critical thoughts. Can you imagine what that would be like, like to go through your day and be talking to yourself and telling yourself what a great job you did!

Marchelle (14:31):
I know where you're going with this. And I'm like, what I'm hearing

Dr. Angela Zechmann (14:37):
Like, this is what we do in the Journey Beyond Weight Loss membership. Exactly. This is what we teach. We teach you how to become super aware of what you're thinking by becoming super aware of what you're feeling, because your thoughts create your feelings. And so we teach you how to become aware of what you're feeling and become aware of what you're thinking so that you can reprogram your brain so that you're not thinking all of these self-critical thoughts all the time. Now, does this happen overnight? No,

Marchelle (15:07):
It's not just about simple weight loss. I mean, it goes so much farther than that. And once you start this journey, you start to understand that there is a lot more to it. And a lot of it is mental and emotional.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (15:18):
As a matter of fact, I would say 95% of this mental, 95% of this is what's going on in between your ears.

Marchelle (15:27):
And I've been on both sides of this and being sugar-free and flour free and being more conscious of your emotions and connecting to yourself is the site to be in.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (15:39):
Yeah. Yeah. So can you imagine how much fun it is to discover like exactly what's going on in your brain and how these thoughts are and where they came from and then learn how to correct them and be working on that in a supportive environment with a whole group of other people who are doing the exact same thing. I mean, it's just really, really amazing. So imagine that you're really learning how to manage your thoughts and then your brain is not beating you up all day anymore. And you're not like completely exhausted by the end of the day because your brain has been beating you up and you've learned how to take really good care of yourself and how to think differently about yourself. And you learn how to love and respect yourself. Like this is what we do. It's a beautiful, beautiful process to watch.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (16:29):
And as you do that consistently, regularly, slowly, over time, that's how it is that you learn how to maintain your weight loss for good that's, what's required really right. In order to learn how to maintain your weight loss for good. So I'm going to be opening up the journey beyond weight loss course on May 1st, 2021. And so that's your opportunity to sign up and it'll be open from May 1st through May 7th 2021 for registration. And we get started on May 11th starting this whole process for people. So super excited. So keep an eye on your email for that. And that will be that'll be really great.

Marchelle (17:12):
I can't wait to get started again.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (17:14):
It's going to be great. We just had a gal post in Sugar and Flour Buster Society about the change in her. She had something really interesting to say about how she used to always be. So self-conscious about the way she looked in sleeveless tops. And now that it's hot, she's like, I'm not going to just keep wearing sleeves all the time. It's hot. I want to be comfortable. Right. I'm not going to worry about what other people think anymore. I'm going to wear a sleeveless top. And you know, just that amount of self-confidence grew just from being in journey beyond weight loss.

Marchelle (17:50):
Yeah. That's exactly where she learned it. Yeah. You know, for me learning the science of it, cause I used to always, you know, I'm just broken. I don't know why you can't lose weight. I'm not like anybody else or something wrong with me. But then like, as I started to learn the science of my body or learn the science of my mind, things started to click and make sense for me. And then I didn't have to be. So self-critical like, they're not understanding, you know, why I couldn't do it. And everyone else seemed to be able to lose weight around me or, yeah. So that has been one of my most favorite parts is like learning about the brain and learning about your body. I just think it just gives you more control. Yeah. So understand power is knowledge. I mean, knowledge is power.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (18:31):
Knowledge is power.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (18:36):
Knowledge is power. Yes. Yeah, It is. Oh my goodness. Okay. Do you have any last minute thoughts?

Dr. Angela and Marchelle (18:42):
I think that was good. I think that was really good. So guys remember the three reasons why you're probably struggling at night and what you can do about it. So first reason is blood sugar swings. And so the solution there is to start your day with a really good protein breakfast. Protein. Second reason is, is that sugar addict brain might be screaming for its head. So the solution there is to get off the sugar and flour products and we can help you with that. You know, our four day sugar detox challenge next week, it can sign up for that. And then the third reason is because you're just exhausted from a whole day of self-critical thoughts all day, which is normal, but not necessary.

Dr. Angela Zechmann (19:25):
And you can get to work on that. That's a more longer term process, but you can get to work on that by signing up to join us in Journey Beyond Weight Loss so we can get this nighttime eating and drinking, right. Forget about the drinking piece too, because that can really sabotage weight loss as well as home drinking. So, yeah. Okay, great. Yay. All right. We're excited. Yeah. All right. So we'll be back next week with another podcast and some great information for you. Make sure to leave us a comment, let us know what you're thinking about all of this. We love reading comments and we will talk to you next week. Goodbye everybody!

Closing (20:02):
Hey, if you really want to lose weight and keep it off for good, your next step is to sign up for Dr. Angela's free weight loss course, where you're going to learn everything you need to get started on your weight loss journey, the right way, just head over to to sign up. Also, it would be awesome if you could take a few moments and write a review on iTunes. Thanks. And we'll see you in Journey Beyond Weight Loss.

To sign up for Sugar Detox Challenge: 

To join Sugar (and Flour!) Buster's Society on Facebook:

- Dr. Angela


This episode was produced and marketing by the Get Known Podcast Service


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