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,
Andrea

34 comments:

  1. When dinner is over, so is food. My body cannot digest food very fast (which is weird because I don't have a large intestine) so I don't want to eat after dinner for fear that digestion might interfere with my sleep!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My sleep is definitely affected when I eat close to bed time.

      Delete
  2. it's so true that when we stress out during the day we tend to overeat at night. I do it sometimes and feel bad about it because it makes me physically uncomfortable and bloated the next day.
    I do have night ritual, usually I'm done eating when I finish eating my corn after dinner. But sometimes if I'm extre hungry, I'll eat something more.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love all the interesting corn you eat, Coco!

      Delete
  3. I don't eat/snack after dinner. For me it comes from two things. I'm not hungry. And secondly, nighttime eating was a huge factor in gaining 150 pounds.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, nighttime eating can easily lead to weight gain. It did for me, too.

      Delete
  4. That box looks lovely! You're right...it's so easy to eat more after having a glass of wine or two. :-) However, I've always viewed alchohol as a social past time. It's rare (even when I'm not preggers) for me to even think of having a drink if I'm not out with friends. I don't think there is anything wrong with it, that's just the way I've always thought about alchohol. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hardly drink alcohol anymore, but I think having alcohol only when out with friends is great.

      Delete
  5. These are some great tips! I also love a cup of tea and MUST clean the kitchen before I go to bed. Nowadays I do usually have some sort of dessert, even if it is something small like your chocolate or one small cookie, etc. I think it actually helps me feel less deprived and have fewer episodes of over eating after dinner (which I tend to do after a period of restricting, and that is not good!).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, having a small daily treat works for me, too! I think it's so important not to feel deprived as it will backfire sooner or later as you point out.

      Delete
  6. I have a [plan in place about night eating & really not worried about the whole do not eat after 6 or 7pm. I have a small snack around 8ish - 200 or less calories.. & then brush my teeth right away - It rakes me a while to do all the brushing stuff so I don't want to have to do it again.. :) Cookies were my fave this weekend! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, brushing, flossing, etc. is quite a bit of work; I don't want to do it twice either... :)

      Glad you enjoyed your cookies!

      Delete
  7. We try to eat dinner early, and do not eat or snack after...I too like a cup of tea after dinner.
    Nice box of veggies...
    Have a great week Andrea :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Juliana! Have a great week, too!

      Delete
  8. I love early dinner so I can get a good night sleep! A friend of mine used to tell me that she doesn’t eat after 6pm and I thought it was a bit extreme since she wouldn’t eat at the events or dinner that occur after 6pm - and she does this all the time, but I understand why now. But some countries in Asia and South America, they love to eat late after 8pm, crazy right?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, in some countries people eat quite late.

      I stopped eating late a while ago and try to stick to it even when I'm out. I used to make exceptions but always felt terrible afterward and finally decided it's just not worth it.

      Delete
  9. Hi Andrea, Well, my family eats anytime they feel like it, and I cannot control that. My husband believes that is a good thing, which means that sometimes I officially clean the kitchen for the evening and it's a mess the next morning! However, I am an individual with my own power to do what I need to do. I do try to stop eating quite early in the evening because my food choices are awful in the late evening.:-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My family doesn't follow my eating patterns either. I, too, decided a while ago that I have to do what works for me. And, yes, food choices usually don't get better as the evening goes on... :)

      Delete
  10. I don't "close the kitchen" after dinner but I realized just a few days ago that I don't eat anymore after dinner. It just happened. I only eat some chips on Saturday night but the other nights I only have coffee and a glass of juice (wine in the weekends) after dinner.

    Love your box, I enjoy mine very much too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's interesting how our bodies sometimes naturally adjust. For me, the less stressed I am, the better I eat effortlessly.

      Delete
  11. We eat early by the way. Around 5.30 pm, I usually start cooking immediately when I come home from work. I have lots of colleagues that don't eat before 7 pm.
    But we like to have dinner early otherwise it consumes my entire evening. If we eat early we have time left to do other things.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I also like having more time in the evenings!

      Delete
  12. Great tips, Andrea! I don't know how I missed this post yesterday; sorry.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I completely agree! I'm an early dinner eater as well, and I use a cup of hot decaf coffee to signal that the kitchen is closed (brushing your teeth helps as well!). We've often made so many choices during the day that it's easier to make less healthy choices in the evening. The more we can make eating healthier easier for ourselves, the better! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, having tools to "close the kitchen" has made my life a lot easier! :)

      Delete
  14. Im a big afterdinner snacker...but I keep it healthy and it's just what works for me :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We definitely all have to do what works for us! :)

      Delete
  15. Yep, the biggest thing for me was to pick off plates while I am cleaning the kitchen. I've just eaten and shouldn't be hungry, but I have to be super conscious to just scrape the plates in the trash before hitting the dish washer. :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think sometimes we develop habits that are automatic, and it takes real effort to stop the habit... You have been doing a great job, Biz!

      Delete
  16. Those are very good ideas. I usually brush my teeth and put my retainers in after dinner that stops the night time munching!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Tami! Brushing and flossing works really well for me, too! :)

      Delete