You’re working out regularly and eating healthy choices – so why is the scale still creeping up?
One possible answer to this mystery might be found in your evening routine. Banish these bedtime habits and see if the pounds start coming off.
01\ Not budgeting for night-time snacks
If you can’t imagine watching TV without popcorn in hand, we get it – just make sure you’re counting those extra kilojoules in your daily total.
“I’m not against people having something at night,” says sleep and weight loss expert Dr Peter LePort, a bariatric surgeon and medical director of MemorialCare Centre for Obesity. “But if you’re having a big meal and then a big bowl of ice cream, you’re going to gain weight.”
If you plan on snacking later, add in some exercise during the day or downsize your dinner to compensate.
02\ Snacking mindlessly in front of the TV
Research has suggested that distracted eating not only affects how much you eat, but also how much you remember eating – which is why you can get wrapped up in a good show and suddenly find yourself holding an empty bag of chips.
Before you hit the couch, measure out an appropriate serving size of whatever you’re eating so you’ll stop when you hit the bottom of the bowl.
03\ Unwinding with a nightcap
Not only is alcohol loaded with empty calories, but that glass of wine before bed can disrupt your sleep cycle.
“There’s a problem with sleep and alcohol – you’re going to end up waking up in the middle of the night and not get good sleep,” Dr. LePort says.
Research has suggested that getting insufficient sleep may interfere with your hunger hormones and makes you more likely to crave (and consume) unhealthy foods. So anything that messes with your sleep can sabotage your weight loss efforts.
04\ Checking your tech before bed
The blue light emitted by the LEDs in your phone, laptop, and television can affect your sleep cycle, so it’s best to log off at least an hour before bedtime.
And sleeping with the TV on is definitely not a good idea, because the light and sound can disturb you all night long.
“You’re not reaching the deep sleep you need to maintain a healthy mind and a healthy body,” Dr. LePort says. If you simply can’t drift off without the TV, at least set the sleep timer.
05\ Setting your alarm too late
Early mornings can be rough, but resist the urge to wake up at the last possible second if that means you’ll be racing out the door without breakfast.
Research has suggested that a high-protein breakfast may help you eat less throughout the day and gain less body fat. If you’re constantly caught off-guard by the morning rush, change both your bedtime and your wake time so you’re left with enough wiggle room in the morning for a healthy meal.
A version of this article originally appeared on Prevention.com