Sunday, February 9, 2014

Closing the Kitchen After Dinner

These days, I eat a very early dinner. Most would probably consider it a late lunch. Having a smaller eating window and going for more hours without food works for me. I like giving my body a break from digesting food, and, personally, I sleep better. But we are all different, and what works for me may not work for you.

Regardless of when you eat “dinner,” I believe it’s a good idea to be conscious of “closing the kitchen” after your last meal of the day so that you don’t mindlessly consume calorie after calorie. I’ve been using this phrase for years and often remind myself that the kitchen is closed. Lauren also uses the phrase in her Little Book of Thin. In fact, it’s one of her 10 Steps to Svelte.

When I was struggling with my weight, nighttime eating was a huge problem for me. I was busy and stressed during the day and often didn’t eat much. Once I got home, the eating began. First dinner and then numerous after dinner snacks. I also loved a glass (or two) of wine to relax. And once I had some wine, eating more was even easier…

While the foods I ate were usually not unhealthy, it was too much and there was no control. Once I started eating, it was hard to stop.

Over the years, I have come up with some rules and close the kitchen after dinner (which for me right now is in the early afternoon). Here is what has helped:
  • A cup of tea – I like to have a ritual to signal that eating for the day is done. For me, that’s a cup of tea. Lately, I’m into yerba mate and chai teas. Since I drink the tea many hours before I go to sleep, a caffeinated tea works for me. If you eat closer to your bedtime, I would choose an herbal tea. And I often have another cup of herbal tea closer to bedtime.
  • When I do the Conscious Cleanse, I like to have a cup of warm lemon water after my last meal. I sometimes also have a cup of warm lemon water when I am not cleansing.
  • A piece of dark chocolate – I also like to have a small piece of dark chocolate most days (predetermined size and only one; I don’t have chocolate when I’m doing a cleanse). It’s another way I tell my body that eating is done for the day.
  • Clean up the kitchen and put everything away. It’s important to be mindful and not to nibble on the food while you put it away. But a clean kitchen is a nice way to tell yourself that there is no more eating.
  • If you have alcohol, measure out the amount of alcohol you will drink and put the bottle away. It’s too easy to pour just a “little” more. Also, depending on the glasses you are using, your “one glass of wine” may be more than you think.
  • Brush your teeth. Food doesn’t taste very good with freshly brushed teeth, and brushing your teeth is a good way to tell your brain that there is no more food. Plus, it’s good for your teeth!
Finally, here is a photo of our most recent CSA box. Since we don’t eat a lot of fruit, I recently switched to an all veggies box, and we are enjoying it a lot! If you follow me on Instagram, you have probably already seen the photo.

CSA Box Feb 7me

Questions: What are your thoughts about after dinner eating/snacking? What was the favorite veggie you ate in the last week? I really enjoyed the radishes from our CSA box! What was the highlight of your weekend? It was a busy weekend, and hanging out with all my boys was definitely the highlight.

Be well,