November 22, 2016

Tommy’s Three Tricks for Controlling Your Late-Night Eating

Do you have trouble controlling your eating habits at night?

…Especially, towards the end of the night? I bet this is the time you tend to overeat the worst foods as well, right?

Me too!

There’s a combination of many factors that make late night eating—and especially late night overeating—very difficult for us to control. It’s the time of day you typically have the least amount of willpower, and resiliency, your mind is usually idling, and you have access to lots of things that you shouldn’t be eating.

So, there are some specific strategies I use when I am struggling with late night overeating that I’m going to tell you about. They may sound like silly little tricks, but I promise you they are effective. So, give them a try!

When it’s getting late in the evening and you’re have a difficult time controlling your food intake, here’s what you can do. I call them Tommy’s Tricks.

1.The toothbrush method.
Go and brush your teeth! When you do this, you’ll be far less likely to put more food into your mouth. Typically, you spend your night snacking between dinner and bedtime, and once you’re finally finished your snacking, you brush your teeth and you go to sleep. But if you brush your teeth as soon as you’re finished eating, you’ll be far less likely to go back and put more food into your mouth when: you’ve already brushed your teeth, you have the taste of toothpaste in your mouth, and you’re just going need to go and brush your teeth again. I know it sounds silly, but psychologically, this is a really useful trick to prevent you from continuing to snack and overeat at night.

2. Set up timed snack intervals!
If you allow yourself a few snacks between dinner and bedtime, don’t just have a free for all and let your brain indicate when it’s time to eat, or more importantly, let your stomach just indicate that it’s time to snack. This is how one snack turns into two or three or four uncontrolled snacks, right?

  • Instead, set yourself up with timed snack intervals (portioned, healthy snacks, of course). So, if you want to allow yourself one snack only, set a time that you can have it, such as 8:30.
  • Then once dinner’s over, start your timer. You can’t have your snack until 8:30 and you’re going promise yourself that you’re going to wait until 8:30 to come around to eat that one single snack. So, you’re going to say to yourself, “I finish dinner at 7:30, I’m not going to have my snack until 8:30, and then by 10 o’clock, I’m brushing my teeth, I’m in bed.”
  • If you’re more of a volume eater, you don’t have much weight to lose, and you don’t eat as much during the day, you’ll have a little bit more room for food at night. So, you can set yourself up for two or three snacks in the same manner. Just space your food out and set up time intervals that you must stay within to control your eating habits.

It doesn’t really matter how you do it, everyone’s food habits are a little bit different, but if you know the amount of snacking you should be sticking within to remain under control, set an allowed time for when you may snack rather than just snacking whenever you feel like it.

3. Go to bed.
This last one is simple and may sound quite silly, but it works. Just go to bed. Usually, we eat the worst foods in the biggest quantities at a time when we are completely unproductive, probably a little bit tired, and we should just be asleep. Human beings often feel like staying up late allows us to squeeze everything we can out of our day. We have this adverse feeling about going to bed early, when realistically, going to bed early is probably the best thing we can do for so many aspects of our health and life. So, instead of staying up late, sitting on your phone, watching TV, or sitting on your laptop, just go to bed!


Overeating and mindless snacking happen for a lot of reasons at night time. You’re tired, your willpower is low, and you don’t have much to do. But there are small tricks and strategies you can use to keep yourself from going overboard with snacking after dinner. We discussed three simple strategies to help you when you’re struggling on binging.

Number one, when you’re finished eating, brush your teeth because you’ll be far less likely to go back to food. Number two, set time intervals for your night-time snacks. Say “Okay, well dinner’s over at 7:00, I’ll have one snack at 8:00, one snack at 9:00, no earlier, no later, and then I’m going to bed.” And finally, go to sleep. Stop wasting your time staying up all night, cruising social media, watching TV, wasting your life away. Go to sleep. Get some rest. Wake up feeling better and be more productive and happier and healthier the next day, and save yourself from overeating at the same time.

So, those are Tommy’s Tricks. You can use one, two, or all of them in combination (or try different strategies of your own). They work for me, so give them a try, and let me know how they work for you in the comments below.