How to stop evening binge eating? - Weight Loss NHS

Weight Loss NHS

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How to stop evening binge eating?


Hello all,

I have just begun the 12 week NHS weight loss plan today. I wondered if anyone had any advice on how I could avoid my evening junk food binge eating?

I understand this cannot continue and would like some advice or guidance? I live at home with my family so treats are about it is a matter of avoiding them.

In addition, how often do people exercise and how do you adapt your calorie intake accordingly?

M x

22 Replies

Find something to do after dinner that keeps your hands busy, or even occasionally doing a foot soak/painting toenails will keep your feet busy and stop you walking off to the fridge to look for snacks. Plan a snack for about half an hour to an hour after dinner, so you aren't completely denying yourself. Some fruit and yogurt, or sometimes I like a couple of squares of dark choc with sultanas and a herbal tea. Then brush your teeth about 9pm so you psychologically think you're on your way to bed. Also, just keep trying. It's really hard to kick the evening snack habit but it can be done, it's all about finding a strategy that works for you, lots of trial and error and sheer determination and you'll get there.

Re exercise I don't adjust calories, but if I go over my daily calories by a little bit on a day where I exercised, I don't beat myself up about it, as sometimes exercise can genuinely make you feel more hungry. Plan to eat your meals after exercising, e.g. exercise just before breakfast/dinner, to avoid this. I started out with couch to 5k (allowing half an hour before breakfast 3 days a week), but it's also good to look out for local classes, just go for walks (another good post-dinner avoiding snacking strategy - go out for a walk without your wallet), or generally look for exercises online e.g. on the NHS livewell pages. Good luck!

Hi there & welcome.

Evenings used to be my worse time of the day for snacking so know exactly where you're coming from. Ruth_canal_runner has given you some brilliant food for thought. (Excuse the pun!)

I took up knitting (after many years) and nowadays really glad because I can knit myself new sweaters as I grow out of the old stuff! I would also prepare a small plate of fruit mid afternoon for snacking in the evening, making it look pretty so that I didn't feel that I needed to look for anything better. I would also as Ruth says, allow my self one or two squares of chocolate at 9pm if I needed it, that way I wouldn't start eating it too early then wanting more! Yes, then I would brush my teeth too!

I don't adjust calories for exercise either and don't eat what I have used for exercise. If you haven't done much exercise then just start gradually by walking a little each day and you will know when to up your game and go a little further or take a gym class. Have you looked at the NHS choices site "couch to 5k"? You will get plenty of information, not alone the encouragement from this great forum .

Good luck, you really can do it! :)

I agree about making the fruit look nice. I prepare my snack in advance so that it looks great and is already on the plate, so when it's time to have it I'm not tempted to serve myself a larger portion. I often prepare a clingfilmed plate with something on it arranged nicely and ready to go :)

Hidden in reply to Ruth_canal_runner

Great idea!

What types of fruits do you go for?Do you weigh your fruit?

M x

Ruth_canal_runner6lbs in reply to Hidden

I portion up my fruit according to the weight on the pack. E.g. a 400g punnet of strawberries gets divided into 4 portions. I cut up a mango (approx 200g) and divide the pieces into 4 pots to have throughout the week. I have bananas and apples whole, you can enter them as e.g. '1 apple' on myfitnesspal, so I do that. I haven't got kitchen scales, so I use a bit of guesstimating combined with a bit of common sense. I add grapes into salad rather than having them on ther own, just a few (e.g. 4 or 5), cut in halves, and call that 25g.

Hidden in reply to Candystripe


Thank you for your message. I think the idea of taking up a hobby at the time you'd usually snack is a fab idea. I am studying at the moment so perhaps reading a book/taking notes would be useful at this point & brushing my teeth earlier. I will definitely check out the couch to 5k.

I will keep you posted & your positive attitude is great!

M x

Candystripe7 stone in reply to Hidden

Thank you Maria.

I have achieved a huge weight loss and know that it can be done with determination & support through this forum.

Join in with our Monday weigh and I will do my "reveal" of how much I have lost before I go on holiday Monday afternoon!!! :)

Hidden in reply to Candystripe

Thank you!

Yes the support from this forum has been excellent so far & it is only Day 1 :) I hope to loose 1 stone 7lb by the end of the 12 weeks or at least before Christmas so that is loosing 2 lb per week.

Ok I will do. I will weigh in with you on a Monday!

I look forward to your reveal!

M x

I've just started out so no expert in this at all, some great, and far healthier replies on this post already. I've decided I'm turning to tic tacs to help me - lol! A few evenings back I felt the eating urge coming on, and I took 4 tic tacs out of the pack (strawberry, so taste fruity and nice), left the pack in the cupboard and got a cup of tea. Sucked the tic tacs at intervals and it kept my mouth busy without shovelling loads of calories in, I think they are about 2-3 cals per tic tac. It feels like a bit of a treat because it is sugary but it isn't totally laden with calories and you can make them last by sucking them. Don't take the pack with you tho or you may get through the lot if it's to hand, just take out a few and put the pack away quick then walk away! Or maybe you could try some fruity sugarless chewing gum to keep the mouth busy if everyone's eating and you feel left out? It tastes like a "naughty" treat but it's not going to be hundreds of calories, that's my thinking. Also I discovered a can of cherry pepsi max, although it's not that good for you, is something like 2 calories (check the can/bottle but most diet/no sugar drinks seem to be the same). Anyway, it takes a while to drink because of the bubbles and tastes "naughty". Or you could get some ice lolly molds and freeze some weak no sugar low cal squash to give your mouth something to do in the evening if everyone else is eating and you feel left out cos you can't. I can't help on the exercise as I'm not able to do that yet due to health issues. Good luck with conquering it!

2Bfabnfit freezes grapes in little pots of 6. This makes them hard to eat quickly (like sort of frozen sweets that you have to suck instead of chew I think), but she swears by them for those sugar cravings. There are lots of natural sweet hits you can get like that. I've discovered liquorice tea which is naturally sweet and only 6 cals. Chewing gum also works. But the ultimate goal is to try and simply stop putting things in your mouth, because then you are really starting to break the snacking habit. Keeping your hands busy in the evening can really help with this, as well as telling yourself to wait another 20mins, an hour, or til tomorrow...

matets5kg in reply to Ruth_canal_runner

Ruth_canal_runner i like your tip on keeping the hands busy in the evening - great for evening bingers!

Shob in reply to WeightWarrior

Good suggestions Weightwarrior..!

Hidden in reply to WeightWarrior

Wow, thank you!

That is some fab advise! The only problem I have is sugar free fizzy drinks and chewing gum tend to actually increase my sugar cravings.

How long have you been able to curb your cravings for?

M x

WeightWarrior in reply to Hidden

I'm only just starting out so I'm kind of brainstorming ideas might be that the tic tacs idea, etc comes back to bite me if you think they might increase sugar sounds like other peeps who have commented have been doing this for longer and have more experience, so maybe disregard my suggestions and listen to theirs instead lol. If it works for me I will try to remember to come back and comment to let you know. I guess everyone is different, it may be that my suggestions make things worse for you. I think what Ruth says about breaking the snacking habit makes the most sense, I'm just trying to explore ways to help me cope if I get a strong urge to eat in the evening. I don't know if it will work long term for me yet but I sure hope so! Good luck with those cravings, I'm sure I have all this to come yet...

Hidden in reply to WeightWarrior

Aw yeah no problem at all! If it works for you, go for it!

I only started the NHS 12 week weight loss plan today. I just am looking for advise to prevent anything disrupting my success.

I think cutting out refined sugar will be good for me. I have massively cut down on caffeine and only have 1 coffee per day now which is such an achievement (one I never thought would happen).

I will keep you posted on what I find works for me!

Good Luck

M x

Hi Maria, brilliant ideas above so not a lot to add other than how much will your lovely mum and dad support you in this? Will they stop buying snacks if you ask them to? Do they leave sweet bowls out? If you had a heart to heart about your hopes, dreams and fears would they help? If not, enjoy the couch to 5k, leave the telly, go to your room and do some posting. These are only suggestions...

sueper5 stone


I wouldn't describe myself as a binge eating more of a continuous evening snacker.

I have a massive sweet tooth. I am ok during the day but the evenings were a nightmare - just wanted to eat all evening.

I have taken a variety of steps to get over this and I would say it took me about 3 months to get past it. So this is what I did as an evening snacker - first changed the snacks, swapped sweet biscuits for savoury, found 100 cal chocolate - check out the calories in 1 stick of a Twirl or a strip of chocolate and <100 cal cakes such as weightwatchers mini rolls. Then there are sugar free jellies only about 10 cals and low cal yoghurts about 60 cals. And of course fruit, fresh and tinned. I then restricted myself to 150 cals in evening in snacks. Once a week I allow myself an evening off and will usually have some cake or a full bar of chocolate - I still do this.

Once I was used to the new snacks I tried to cut back from 3 to 2. Now I usually have some fruit about an hour or so after my dinner. The reason I leave it a while is to break the habit of eating something sweet straight after something savoury - that was also a real problem for me.

Once you look into the calories in fruit etc you should be able to find nice tasty desserts like Eton Mess with fresh strawberries and mini meringues without too many calories.

If you are like me it will take you time to get master the sweet things and take back control but it can be done, just take your time and don't try to change everything at once.

Hope that helps a bit and good luck :)

Hidden in reply to sueper

Wow thank you so much for that advise! Super useful 😊 I am so greatful that you shared your experience! I will keep you posted



sueper5 stone in reply to Hidden

No problem, hope it helps :)

Look forward to seeing you becoming the next loser on our little forum :)

Hidden in reply to sueper

Aww thank you! It's only day 1 and already I feel so supported and positive. Thanks guys!

M x

Sounds like you're in a similar situation to me. Kids around = crisp and biscuits in the cupboard.

A few things might help at night. My thoughts anyway:

- drink water or tea/coffee when you feel hungry.

- Occupy yourself with something

- go to bed a little earlier but don't go to bed hungry

- find something healthy you like and munch on that


I go to the gym and do 12 mins on treadmill (fast uphill walk), 12 mins bike, 12 mins cross trainer that means I get at least my 30 min pulse raiser. If I've a little more time I do some free weights, not too heavy ones but more reps so it keeps my heart beat up to burn fat and tone a little. Key thing is I enjoy doing that and I will build on that. I try that 3 times a week. Failing that, a brisk walk makes you feel like you've done a bit of something.

What's your targets pal?

Good luck!!!

Ed-Alexander1st 7lbs

I struggle with this. I find that brushing my teeth, drinking a pint of water can take the edge off the hunger. Also, going straight to bed so you're physically not in the danger zone of the kitchen. But it's hard because really it comes down to will - i.e. your desire for chocolate/biscuits/bread/cheese/whatever is on one side of the scales and your will to lose weight is on the other - if the latter doesn't counterbalance the former nothing will work in my experience. You can have any number of systems in place but nothing except your own willpower can stop you by-passing those systems and opening the fridge.

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