How can I stop snacking when I get home from work?

The Question

I'm really good about sticking to my food plan in the morning and afternoon. But everyday when I get home from work I just want to eat everything in sight. Especially after a tough day. How can I stop snacking when I get home from work?

The Answer 

Thank you for the question. I'm glad you asked this question because this is pretty common for many of us. 

There's basically four things happening here. Let's talk about each of them.

Thing #1: Habit

Eating everyday when you get home from work has become a habit. 

When we think of habits, we tend to think of actions we take that are hard to change. And that's true, but it's important to know why we take certain actions in the first place. 

Here's why...

Our thoughts cause our feelings. And our feelings cause our actions or inactions. 

So, we can think about a habit as actions we take that are hard to change. And feelings we have that are hard to change. And thoughts we have that are hard to change. 

This means that if you want to change one of your actions, start by changing the thoughts that are causing that action in the first place. 

What are the thoughts you've having that are causing you to eat when you get home from work?

I recommend you write them down and take a look at them. 

Thing #2: Hormone

It's possible that your hormones are making you feel like you need to eat everyday when you get home from work. 

To learn more about how this, I suggest you read The 2 Root Causes Of Overeating.

If your hormones are not balanced, your first order of business is to adjust them. And this doesn't happen overnight. Give yourself time and space to make this happen.

You may be wondering how to adjust your hormones. Well, it's really about creating a new healthy lifestyle for yourself.

Start by getting out of the short term diet mentality. And getting into a healthy lifestyle that you'll want to follow for the rest of your life. The 6 Stages Of Losing Weight are perfect for doing this and it's exactly what I teach my clients. 

Thing #3: Brain Fatigue 

A big part of what I teach my clients is to plan their food at least 24 hours in advance. And this is extremely important because this allows us to use the part of our brain that makes decisions that benefit our long term goals. 

When we allow our brain to make decisions in the moment, especially at the end of the day, it's very likely we'll make a decision that doesn't benefit our long term goals. 

With that said, even when we've created a plan at least 24 hours in advance, it can be difficult to follow that plan in the moment. 

Our brain has been making decisions all day. It's tired. And it doesn't want to make decisions anymore. 

If you know ahead of time that you're brain will be tired everyday when you get home from work, and you'll be tempted to snack, you can plan for that in advance. 

Here's what I recommend you do.

  1. Create a meal plan at least 24 hours in advance that includes a snack you'll eat everyday when you get home from work. Write down exactly what you'll eat and how much you'll eat. And make sure the snack is something you'll want like a bag of popcorn, a box of cookies, or whatever. 
  2. Practice following that plan exactly as you've written it. 
  3. Once you've gotten into the habit of following that plan perfectly, adjust the plan so that the snack is a healthier one and the amount of food you eat is less. 
  4. Keep practicing and adjusting your plan until you're ready to remove the snack from your meal plan. 

Seriously. This can work for you. The most important thing you can do is give yourself time and space to do this. It may take a week, a month, or a few months.

Are you committed to making this change, regardless of how long it takes? 

Thing #4: Brain Reward 

Ok, this is a big topic. But I'm going to keep this simple and focused. 

The human brain is wired to avoid pain and seek pleasure. And it really likes to be rewarded.

If you feel you've had a tough day, your brain thinks you need a reward for making it through the day. It'll produce a huge amount of desire inside of you for that popcorn, cookies, or whatever else. 

When this happens, it's important you first recognize that it's happening. 

Start by writing down all your thoughts when you get home from work. This will really help you recognize it. 

Then, consider your long term health goals. 

Which thoughts are aligned with your long term health goals? And which thoughts are not? 

Separate them.

You can then make a decision. What do you want your reward to be?

Do you want your reward to be instant gratification for making through a tough day?

Or do you want your reward to be long term gratification for staying true to your plan, honoring your commitment to yourself, and reaching your health goals? 

You get to decide. 

The Wrap-Up

Snacking after work is a common thing that many people experience. 

If you want to stop doing this, focus on changing your habits, adjusting your hormones, creating a plan for end of the day brain fatigue, and getting clear on your reward. 

It'll take time to permanently make this change but you can do it. I know you can. 

Thanks again for your question. I hope my answer helps you.

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