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TOPIC: Intense Night Cravings, Chocolate & Sweets

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August 8, 2010 12:59 PM
I need help with intense nighttime cravings for chocolate and sweets.

During the day I am highly motivated and eat healthy foods, lean meats, salads, apples, celery, lots of water. I eat granola, brown rice and whole grains for carbs, in moderation. I never eat junk food. I don't crave fat or salt, things like burgers and fries do not tempt me in the slightest. In general I crave organic, natural, healthy foods, really enjoy them, and do not eat "diet foods" filled with artificial sweeteners and chemical ingredients.

I've been on here 60 days and I have gotten used to the daily chore of measuring, counting and balancing; I don't mind doing that.

But at NIGHT - it's a different story!

It begins after dinner and I struggle with it until bedtime. For me, this is the last 5-8 hours of the day. I CRAVE chocolate. Or a rich dessert. I don't like high sugary things like powdered donuts, but I love rich chocolate, dark chocolate, baked chocolate (brownies, cakes, chocolate chip cookies). Things made with butter and chocolate, chocolate ice cream, etc.

I go to bed late, I work at night. I eat dinner around 7 or so, but don't go to bed until one or two am. So for me not to eat after dinner is not an option, I'd be fasting while working, and starving. I need something around 10pm to keep me going. I budget calories so I can have an after dinner snack, but I want it to be a healthy one, and that is when I am desperate for a brownie or ice cream.

1) What is the reason people crave sugar and sweets at night? Is this metabolic, hormonal, physiological? I don't understand why I don't crave it during the day and why it "comes out of nowhere" and is so intense every night?

2) What lifestyle adjustments can I make so that my body doesn't have this intense craving every 24 hours like clockwork?

Meanwhile, I SOMETIMES control it with low cal, low fat options, such as healthy choice fudge bars (90 cals) or Diet Chocolate Jello Pudding (60 cals- of which I sometimes have two). But this doesn't make me too happy, because I don't like all the artificial junk that replaces the fat and sugar. Sometimes a cup of good coffee, or tea might help, and I'm going to try low cal hot chocolate (stevia sweetener, instead of artifical- I don't like artificial sweeteners!)

Any help in understanding and changing this would be greatly appreciated, and if you struggle with the same issues and would like to support each other positively, feel free to add me as a friend on here!

Thank you!
August 8, 2010 1:09 PM
I struggle with the night-time cravings as well. I either suffer through it (no fun), or have a bowl of cereal (Special K with chocolate, Raisin Bran, etc) with very cold milk. It curbs the sweet craving (but may not help with the chocolate craving).
August 8, 2010 1:09 PM
Hey. I don't understand why you have the cravings. For me, however, it began when I was a kid. Every night, as a family, we would have some sort of dessert (and being raised in South Carolina the dessert wasn't healthy). And since then I've always wanted the 2 scoops of ice cream or cookies (or both).

I've heard that Dark Chocolate is good for you. Maybe a little dark chocolate a day could help curve those cravings and be beneficial!

I'd love to be friends, though, and support each other!
August 8, 2010 1:10 PM
HI I would not worry too much how much do we eat that does not have some preservatives in it? I am a Trader Joe's Girl so I understand your concern but we really can't get to bothered because what does not have artificial preservatives of some kind or chemical ingredients they put it in cookies to preserve them...........the non preserved cookies would not last us a week they would start to mold. Enjoy the pudding, I have sherbert, fudgecicles migh help also or the 100 calories snacks since you go to bed so late, you might try to have a veggie try a few hours later that will fill you up and also some fruit.
August 8, 2010 1:13 PM
It's late at night, you are tired, so your body craves sugar. Chocolate specifically releases pleasure hormones in your brain, same ones released by sex. You could, give in and have a small amount of chocolate, go to bed earlier (already stated not an option), or have a quick tumble with your other half (assuming you aren't single).
If you ignore the craving long enough, it MIGHT not be so much clockwork, but then you risk bingeing on the only less than healthy thing you say you eat. I say eat it. You save your calories for an evening snack, so why not. If you want a slightly healthier option, dip a banana in chocolate and freeze it. Are you on a diet or making a lifestyle change? I would not want to deprive myself of chocolate for the rest of my life. You could try a dark chocolate bar, just a square or two a night is actually good in antioxidants, and you aren't subjected to the junk in the pudding. I have chocolate fiber one bars... they are yummy.
Of course, sex still releases that hormone and you burn calories too :P
August 8, 2010 1:13 PM
do you have snacks? you should be having 3 snacks a day. one between dinner and bed, i've had a bowl of special k cereal, strawberry, its satisfying and sweet. just a thought.
August 8, 2010 1:15 PM
don't know if you can get them where you are but look for NK'D bars. they do a cocoa loco flavour and they're super healthy. made from raw cocoa so taste really chocolatey, they also have nuts in...everything thing in them is natural and totally unprocessed. they're 100 cals a bar and really filling smile
August 8, 2010 1:17 PM
What about a peanut butter and banana toasted sandwich?

Not sure how you would go about fitting it into your meal / snack plan etc, but personally i eat lots of small meals every 3-4 hours as opposed to big meal - snack - big meal - snack etc,, that helps to keep me full / satisfied at night as my last meal is usually around 9-10pm.

If i've been craving sweet things i find a peanut butter and banana toasted sandwich is great for keeping cravings off, not a lot worse for you than a typical chicken salad or similar style sandwich either!
August 8, 2010 1:17 PM
If you eat only 1/2 a cup of chocolate ice cream its only like 130 calories, but the trouble is eating more then that. Or make homemade brownies with splenda/ or truvia, I think its called, they are natural, maybe use lowfat ingredients for the rest??
August 8, 2010 1:18 PM
Allow yourself one square of good quality dark chocolate per day. It is high in antioxidants smile It has to be dark though, no milk in it, or it isn't the same. They make some really good ones with different flavors-chili, ginger, orange peel...I suck on it, or take small bites and just enjoy the flavor. It helps with the psychological need and I find that after I eat one slowly, I really don't need anymore.
August 8, 2010 1:23 PM
Try Skinny Cow or chocolate milk!!! I think if you add in the dark chocolate calories...don't know why you couldn't have it. We have a yogurt shop around the corner that has fat-free yogurt....I usually get a few and keep them in refrig!!! Set a goal for yourself. I use to each chocolate every night while watching TV and in the afternoon. I first gave up eating after dinner (which you said wasn't an option) and after a few days I don't even want anything after dinner. Yes, sometimes I'm hungry, but I know I'm now going to starve to death, since I'm counting my calories. The next thing was to give up my afternoon chocolate, cookies, brownies...all that. I did it!! I know choose healthier snacks. I don't even need the Skinny Cow or fat free yogurt. I don't miss it. The 3rd thing I gave up was the Diet soda. I think the Diet soda made be crave the sweets...either that or it was all in my mind.
August 8, 2010 1:26 PM
Dark chocolate that is 70% cocoa is actually good for you. Its loaded with antioxidants. I like the Lindt 70% cocoa individually wrapped squares. They make portion control easier.

I find that a mug of plain green tea helps to kill off my sugar cravings. Have you tried it?

Good Luck!
August 8, 2010 1:33 PM
I am new to the mfp and since i would not throw away all food in the freezer, I have had a slow start. But the idea behind this plan is to adjust your lifestyle so you can lose wt slowly, but not feel like you are punising yourself. Since sweets and chocolate are so important to you, and me, we need find a way to eat them on an occassional basis and use fruit the rest of time. Maybe homemade brownies with only the best ingredients, cut them up and wrap them in individual plastic baggies, put them in the freezer. That way you will know exactly what is in them. Also I have a friend who has several family members doing another food plan, and they eat Yorke Peppermint Patties who times are desparate. These really work great for me. I just eat 2 instead of the three they allow per serving. I have known for a couple of years that dark chocolate is better for you. I have lupus, and a lot of info tells us to eat dark chocolate. But oh Lordy there is nothing better than a Hershey candy bar. Good luck let me hear from you.
August 2, 2014 8:33 PM
I suffer with night time cravings. Please help me
August 2, 2014 9:11 PM
I say plan for a great nighttime snack. Trader Joes has dark chocolate bars that are 100 calories. I've also had chocolate yogurt
that is great. Do something like that…or a 150 calorie ice cream bar.

just allot that within your calories and have it follwed by a great tea.
August 2, 2014 9:26 PM
My solution to the night cravings is to always keep some fresh or frozen berries in my house. I freeze blueberries coated with heavy cream,frozen raspberries and strawberries I blend with yogurt and create a little bit of icecream or if I have a bad chocolate craving I dip them in chocolate melted in the microwave.
August 3, 2014 3:50 AM
I completely understand this as I am exactly the same. After dinner I cannot stop thinking about having chocolate as I have a ridiculously sweet tooth and more often than I'd like I give in. I know you say you work late into the night, but if at all possible (perhaps by working in the morning?) go to sleep early. This is the most successful method I've tried if I'm honest, and this is after I've had a bar of chocolate and want more. I have put myself to bed on several occasions so I don't eat anything else! The only other method that I have found that works is waiting until the cravings are super bad and then having a couple of very chilled raspberries, I find them sweeter when they are colder and this helps too. Or if worst comes to worst, I'll have a chocolate Special K bar, which doesn't completely satisfy the craving, but often have lots of fibre in so I tell myself that its better than a bar of Dairy Milk (which it definitely is!)
August 3, 2014 8:36 AM
I also get the really bad nighttime cravings. I find a cup of black decaf coffee or a cup of herbal tea tends to help me, or sometimes I'll give in and just have really restricted portions (like one mini rollo or a spoonful of ice cream). I also try to keep myself busy & constantly occupied, even if it means just sitting back and watching TV. It can be really frustrating, especially if I did so well staying within my limits during the day, but don't give up! Just take it day by day, night by night.


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