Im the SIXTEEN percent.

photo5 300x276 Im the SIXTEEN percent.

(sorry. the extra in the blender is mine, too)

 

I recently heard the statistic SIXTEEN PERCENT of us eat or drink while watching television at night.

Even though Im a mindful eater, you’ll never find me sacked out in exhaustion snuggled happily on the couch at night *without* some sort of a food stuff.

Beverly Hills Nannies? Episodes? The New Girl? my eyeballs may be on them but my mouth is always, happily elsewhere.

I’m a lifelong member of the 16 percent club and it works for me. 

Here’s why:

 

  •  My snacking isn’t entirely mindless.  I may be 98% focused on Tamsin Greig, but I’ve made a MINDFUL choice before I plopped in from of the TV.  I’ve taken a moment, been still, asked my bod what it wanted and brought specifically *that* downstairs—-not the whole bag/container etc.   Researchers researchers found those who watch TV while eating consume an average of 228 calories more than those who did not—I believe I dont do this because I leave the bag of chips or ‘stachios IN THE KITCHEN?  Ive also been told I night-snack because of my lifestyle.   Im in bed early (10p) and up early.   More than a few well meaning peeps have told me if I went to bed later/got up later Id not be a member of the 16%.  They say my body *seeks* a night-snack to prevent the natural overnight “energy depletion” from sleep & to help me to get up and go go go.

 

  • I enjoy it.  I am, indeed,  mindfully snacking my tv time away. I savor the sensations/tastes and the feeling of stress oozing from my bod & into the pleather couch.  Life is short Jack LaLanne lived to age 97.  He ate very little, ingested no caffeine & had no dessert ever.  His motto was: if it tastes good–spit it out!!  My grandma lived to 101.  She was active but also ate dessert, drank caffeine and if it tasted good she left it in her mouth.  For me it’s the old joke about ascetic-living:  “I may live longer not snacking ever at night…and it will feel a whole hell of a lot longer.”  I set myself up for success with my choices (and really. this is what I crave. no willpower here at all) but I refuse to do the Oprah/Bob Greene stop eating at 7pm.

 

  • It’s not junk Be it my version of Yonanas (I want. I covet) or a frozen, chocolate protein shake eaten-by-spoon my night snackage typically has some sort of nutritional value.  Experts say television can cause our memory to “skip” what we’re eating.  Since Ive taken the time to prepare my night snackage (& sometimes theres a considerable time investment) there’s no way my memory is skipping.  Especially since I usually leave the clean up till after The Countess is done.

 

  • Im the expert of me.  Ive mentioned “researchers” & “experts” a few times here—-and Im all for listening to them.  Im a firm believer in reading, listening & information gathering.  Always.  That said, before I make any decisions, I grow still.  I listen to my body.  I remind myself Im the expert of me.  And, for now, this expert says being a member of the sixteen percent is OK.

 

photo6 300x238 Im the SIXTEEN percent.

chock full o’salty goodness.

 

All of the above stated, Im still a grownasswoman.

I may night-snack my television time away—-but I don’t advocate this for the Tornado.  She’s too young & too inexperienced with her own body.

Even if I perfectly & precisely portioned everything so she couldnt over eat (just mindlessly nosh) I do agree with experts who say eating while watching television overrides our ability to know when to stop eating.  I’d just add ‘if youre not yet in tune with your hunger and why youre eating.”

I know the reason night-snacking works for me is because Ive had 43 years in this bod and KNOW what it needs.

Im the sixteen percent and, for right now, Im ok with it.

Now you.

 

  • Are you in the sixteen percent with me?
  • Is this something you’re working to change because you know after writing this post Im sitting here revising, editing and thinking WELL CRAP I NEED TO WRITE THE FOUR WAYS TO STOP THE NIGHT TIME SNACKAGE too. Like a good ole point/counter point. or are you, too, OK with it for now?
  • Are you surprised, as I was, the percentage is so low?

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Comments

      • says

        consider watching less tv. That sounds crazy b/c we love our tv shows [Breaking Bad, Walking Dead, The Office, and many more] but if I’m an alcoholic and need to stop – I won’t be getting a glass of tea at the Bar.

  1. says

    I guess I’m in the 16% too. That number does seem low though…..

    I suppose I don’t mind, because I’m usually noshing on a piece of fruit or air popped popcorn with a drizzle of coconut or olive oil. Those are my two go-to snacks, which don’t seem too harmful. Plus, I hate going to bed and feeling hungry. I’m going to stick with what seems to be working for me!

  2. Healthy Mama says

    I disagree or have until now, Carla.
    I usually busy my hands with knitting so I don’t snack.

  3. says

    I’m with you and the mindful snacking. I don’t do it all of the time, but if I’m hungry at night, then I make a smoothie or eat something crunchy like veggies or something. I do my best to stay far away from the salty goodness of chips – or I’ll have that bag consumed in minutes.

  4. says

    I love how you manage this–I’m quite sure you are the exception. Since I watch very little TV (I pretty much pass out as soon as it’s on), this is one area where I don’t struggle, but ask me about late afternoon mindless snacking…

  5. says

    Ummm LOVE The New Girl!! I would say I am in the 16% at times but for me it isn’t mindful and is something I need to control. Part of this is because I am usually a half hour show away from falling asleep so munching and then crashing on the couch is never a good thing!!

    • Miz says

      It does go back to my last point.
      We ARE the experts of our own bods and have to do what works for US.

  6. says

    I’m not part of the 16% since I’m usually on the floor stretching or foam rolling while I watch TV at night. I’ve just never been an evening snacker. Now mid afternoon is a different story…

  7. says

    I don’t watch tv. I prefer my mindlessness to come in the form of the internet LOL.

    That said, I have an after dinner snack nearly every night. I try to think about what I’m really in the mood for and then get precisely that. If I don’t, I find myself mindlessly grazing my way through the kitchen.

    Now if I could just get the mid-afternoon snacking and the stress eating under control, I’d be good…

  8. says

    i’ll join you. I also want a yonanas.. sigh. Our evening snack is way past 7pm. I love it. I look forward to it. It works well for me.

    my great grandma lived to 104. She stayed up till midnight, ate pizza, slept in till 10am, shopped, and did tai chi. it worked!

  9. says

    I used to be right there with you! Now, though, our new house has an open floor plan. I’m way too close to the kitchen when I’m on the couch. haha but it’s like anything else: do what works for you.

    • Miz says

      It’s chocolate Met Rx with everything in the kitchen (flax chia fruit ice spinach kale etc) crammed in, too :-) then I FREEEZE and eat with spoon!

  10. says

    I am most definitely in the 16% with you! If I don’t eat before I go to bed, I get cranky! I love my time at night when I’m done with working out, my work and my course work…when I can just sit, relax, watch a little television (usually no more than an hour) and enjoy my bowl of protein ice cream! I look forward to that time each and every day. I used to feel like it was the wrong thing to do…but heck, what I’m eating has nutritional value! It’s not as if your body has some sort of timer that says “Oops! It’s past seven! It’s time to stop metabolizing food!” I agree, there’s nothing wrong with eating at night. People just need to snack smart, and enjoy :)

    By the way, I love your skull popcorn bowl (and all of your other skull things…). Very cool :)

  11. says

    I, too, am a member of the 16%. Mostly this is because I live by myself, get home between 7-8 and go to bed at 9…so that’s dinnertime for me. So I bring my dinner to the couch from the kitchen instead of mindlessly eating from the fridge since that’s what I would do otherwise. It works for me, but it wouldn’t work for everyone.

  12. Nelda says

    I can’t wait for the ways to break our snacking habit post.
    That’s what I need, Miz!!!!!

  13. s says

    i think i would be okay with nighttime TV snacking if it were a preportioned, self-prepared healthy thing that i would be eating. it does make me a little nervous though since that’s one of the ways i got fat (hello endless nutella and white bread sandwiches in front of the tv … yikes.)

    i eat while listening to npr (and sometimes even at the computer, which is a terrible habit but it adds to my eating experience, or something because i don’t always allow myself that luxury, if it can be called that) but i really need to cultivate mindfulness still (especially when eating in a rush, and ironically, not while distracted by media).

  14. says

    Hmm, do you have bowls that match your new skorts?

    I snack while I watch TV too. I need to be more mindful to just bring with me to the chair what my body needs, and not the whole bag or box or barrel of whatever it is I grab.

  15. says

    I do it! I try my best to eat in a controlled fashion and not over-snack. It does seem something of a conditioned response, or habit… TV = snacks. I have the same issue with reading a book. Leads to snacking.

  16. says

    I love how people try to tell you it’s not healthy to eat after 7pm, or 3 hours before bed. Are you kidding me?!?! Sometimes I don’t even get home from TRX until 6:30, so dinner is at 7…no choice there except not to eat dinner.

    I’m very shocked that only 16% of people sack in front of the TV. I’d think it was MUCH higher, like in the 40% range.

  17. says

    I AM SO IN THE 16%!!!!! I do all you do – mindful, planning, portion it out & bring only that out to the couch, find what works for me & not try to conform to what works for others, I am a NO to the no food after 7pm – does NOT work for me when I have my treat planned out…. AND NO – not gonna spit something out cause it tastes good! :-)

    WE ARE THE SAME HERE CARLA!!!!!

  18. Michele @ NYC Running Mama says

    Im very surprised that it’s only 16%!!! It’s so refreshing to hear someone as fit and healthy as YOU admit that they snack at night!!! I, too, am a huge fan of having a snack on the couch…ESP since we eat early (6pm)…by 9pm I’m hungry again!! I definitely try to make the snacks healthy…but there are times when I’m just craving some ice cream or chocolate. The key, as you said, is not bringing the WHOLE container over – that’s where it gets dangerous!!!!

  19. says

    Snacking while watching TV doesn’t have to be unhealthy. If I’m watching TV or I’m at the movies, I like a little something something to munch on (I don’t always have something but I do enjoy it when I do). Be it veggies, popcorn or a sweet treat once in a while, I think it’s fun :)

  20. says

    I’m blown away that it is only 16% I would have thought it was closer to 100%… but I suppose that is a good thing. I am definitely part of the 16% and sometimes I am probably not eating the best or healthiest snacks and sometimes I over eat. BUT overall I am pretty good and knowing what I need and want and when and if I overeat a little in front of the TV I usually make up for it later.

  21. says

    I rarely watch tv and when I do, I don’t snack. I’m not sure why but it just doesn’t go hand in hand with me.

  22. says

    I used to be a nighttime smacked, but it was always mindless and usually emotionally driven. I find that I actually feel better when I don’t. I try to have all my eating done by 9pm now and it’s made a big difference for me.

  23. says

    I’m actually really trying hard to break my nighttime eating habit right now. But, it’s definitely a comfort/emotional thing for me not ‘smart snacking’.

    • MizFit says

      you entirely nailed it, too. when I snacked out of boredom (or drinking too much in college and lowering my snackHIBITIONS) it was NOT a good thing for me…

  24. says

    I go to bed at 11, which is not much later than you. Actually, I should say I aim for lights out at 11, I am usually in bed by 10 reading.

    We usually eat late; by the time we get home from work and I get my workout in, it’s probably somewhere around 7 by the time we eat. And I do generally eat that meal in front of the TV because I like watching TV and that’s the best time to fit it in. I don’t believe this causes me to over eat.

  25. says

    If I have an early dinner I often have a snack later as I can only go so long without eating and don’t do the big breakfast thing and I generally have a workout of some sort to fuel. The key is to make it either have it be something I don’t mind munching mindlessly (fruit, veggies, etc) or portioned (string cheese stick, 1/2 cup of ice cream to share, a few jelly beans, a small bowl of organic chips and salsa, etc).

    And sometimes due to weekday schedules I eat dinner at 9pm and go immediately to bed an hour later. So that 7pm cut off ain’t workin’ for me either.

  26. says

    Are they sure it isn’t just that 16% admit it?

    No, i don’t snack in front of the TV for the simple reason that i gave up watching — anything, ever — over 10 years ago.

    As a kid i mindlessly ate in front of the boob tube, and had the years yo-yo diets after to prove it.

    Good for you, too, turning what most people consider a big bad thing into something that works for you.

  27. says

    I’m surprised that number is so low. I guess I’m in there too. Mostly because I’m hungry all the time, and I eat pretty much constantly unless I’m working out, writing, or sleeping. Something to work on I suppose.

  28. says

    Love this post! I eat dinner in front of the TV almost each night now. I do not eat more dinner than I would at the table. If anything, I feel like I enjoy my food more because I eat it slowly (since I tend to get sucked into the “good parts” of a show every now and then). I also always have a nighttime snack while I am reading. Reading, TV…I know they’re different things but bottom line is I snack WHILE doing something else all the time. You’ll rarely find me eating and doing nothing else. And I do not eat unmindfully as a result, at all! I do not decide to eat more simply because I’m watching TV, reading, sitting at my desk working. I pack pre-portioned snacks and I pre-portion my meals. Don’t take the whole bag of chips to the couch. It works! The whole bag of baby carrots though? I’ll take that to the couch.

  29. says

    Yup, part of the 16. love my late night {mindful} snacking!
    Maybe that ratio would be increased if they asked about snacking while in front of the computer. ;)

  30. says

    Great post, Carla! I’m with you – actually super surprised that the percentage is so low! I kind of don’t believe it, actually. There’s something (scarily?) comforting about cozying down to a book or tv or audio book (as is our recent case at night) and nibbling on something. Me? I’m in the 16% for sure. I try to consciously eat a smaller dinner or say no to something sugary or snacky earlier in the day if I know we’ll watch a show that night. I do start with tea most often and only go back if I feel my body really wants it, but the truth is I don’t restrict. I leave the bag, like you, in the other room and try to enjoy it and cap it at that. Good reminder to watch this, especially as the weather gets cooler and the tendency for myself is to eat more and move less at night!

    Thanks for another thoughtful post. There are times I tighten up my eating and try not to go too late but generally I don’t restrict and would most likely find myself on the couch with you, chomping on my bowl of popcorn and waiting for you to tell me, “One bowl’s enough, Bon.” ;)

  31. says

    I’m very surprised the % isn’t higher! I’m definitely in the 16%. If I don’t eat at the computer, I would get anything done!

  32. says

    I so have to confess I am part of the 16% and I also think that number is too low. I also have to admit my snacking choices have become healthier most of the time since I lost 80 lbs. I still have a little ways to go, so maybe cutting down at night might help.

  33. says

    I wanna know how that 16% data was collected! I don’t buy it. I’m betting lots of the survey responders lied because they think it’s bad to eat at night (because Oprah says so…).

    I do eat in front of the television. Why? We eat dinner at 5 and I don’t go to bed until 10. Five hours is longer than I go between meals during the day and I can’t sleep when my stomach is growling!

    I’m like you; I like nuts and fruit and sometimes cheese nachos…

  34. says

    Honestly, I’m surprised it is so low. I feel like it MUST be higher than that! I thought it was the majority. Well, I’m not thoroughly opposed to it. I do the equivalent often (in front of Netflix on my laptop). I have found that I don’t like eating a meal like that, but snacking – all the way for sure. And I tend to bring what I want and leave the rest in the kitchen too. I think if people find that they get bingey when they do that then they should look at breaking the habit, but if weight and health and lack of sleep are not resultant issues, then it’s cool.

  35. says

    I love, love, love that you do as you please as ‘a grown-ass woman’ and you don’t worry about if that works for everyone, just as long as it works for you.
    I too approach the food in this way. After many years of eating mindlessly I found that the real reason I did that was because of stress. I cut out the stress and now I can pretty much be reasonable in any setting. So I don’t stick to typical diet rules, but I do keep tabs on myself. Stay reasonable, stay healthy- I say!

  36. says

    I’m actually really surprised that the percentage is that low. I would have guessed a much higher percentage. I was going to say that I typically don’t snack in front of the TV but I guess I do. But it’s that I snack at night in general vs. snacking in front of the TV specifically. Late night snacking is when my mindfulness escapes me.

  37. says

    Yay you Miz!

    I like snacking in front of the TV but need to work on my choices. I like that you have popcorn. I like things like popcorn (and less-healthy cornchips etc) because I like things that you eat slowly – so maybe I do eat more mindfully than I realise!

    I think it’s great to see fit, healthy and sane people NOT toeing the line and being as ridiculously stringent as some promote we should be.

    Deb

  38. Mary Anne in Kentucky says

    I’m doubly in the 84%–maybe they counted folks like me twice??? I don’t have a TV, and I don’t like to eat between meals. But of course I like to read during meals: I’m eating breakfast as I type.

  39. says

    I don’t realky snack at the couch but I do eat dinner there after I workout. By the time I get home and workout everyone is done eating anyway. And, yes, dinner is after 7 pm.

  40. says

    Is that a self-reported percentage? ;)
    I don’t have regular TV and don’t watch much Netflix really either. I love the you tube though.
    I don’t really snack at night, I usually just don’t want to. We eat a good dinner about 6 and I’m usually in bed by 9. Not hungry in between.

  41. says

    I don’t believe it’s 16%, it has to be more.

    First I’m a mindful TV watcher. I never sit in front of it and watch it without thinking. Usually I sit down to watch my favorite shows I recorded.

    I hardly eat when I watch TV but I do always have something to drink when I watch TV, this can be anything. Except for Saturday evening when we usually watch a movie and share a bag of chips together. But that’s all the snacking we do in a week in front of the TV.

  42. says

    I try to avoid nighttime snacking because for me it’s usually out of boredom or because my husband is having something. At the same time, if my stomach is literally growling I have no problems having a little something so I’m not ravenous in the morning.

  43. says

    I’m in the 16%. I always have been but the difference is that it’s planned snacking and controlled. Though I do have weakness when it comes to Rice Works Sweet Chili brown rice chips. Those are consumed in a mindfully mindless manner every now and then.

  44. says

    I’m so with you friend. Eating a snack at night once I get the boys down is my only time to myself. Love it, and seem to do okay with it even though some say to go to bed hungry. Oh well. Now I feel better though knowing you’re doing the same. Ha ha.

  45. says

    That is a surprisingly low stat. I am a member of the sixteen but I prefer to snack on air popped popcorn or soy beans instead of pre-package salty snacks.

  46. says

    Because the spouse gets up extra early and goes to bed even earlier than you (like 9 pm)…we eat supper very early – like 5 pm.

    So, yes, I consume a meal/snack while watching TV later in the evening. The idea of going 15 or so hours without food between that early supper and my late-ish breakfast is insane. And not healthy.

    But I do not idly nosh on snacks. Usually it’s a planned-ish kind of snack (apple and peanut butter, carrots and hummus, thick yummy protein shake) that provides whatever foods I’ve missed out of during the day.

  47. says

    I’m totally shocked it’s only 16%!! I thought pretty much everyone snacked while they ate TV. I’m an evening snacker too and I’m also an intuitive eater and I don’t think the two are exclusive. Mmmm… popcorn:)

  48. says

    Hi,
    I spend time looking for inspirational ideas to impart to my weight loss clients. I have really enjoyed reading through your blog. Keep up the good work.

    Regards
    Ian

  49. says

    Definitely trying to overcome the night time snacking, but only because I don’t always choose the best things. I do leave the bag/carton/etc. in the kitchen, but I also have no problem walking my butt back in there during every commercial break!!!

  50. Tommy Phea says

    I agree that people who usually eat while watching television lose track on how much they eat and end up eating more than they have anticipated. Every time I have a bag of chips on my cheat day while watching television, I end up eating the whole bag. That bag alone adds about 1000 calories which is very a lot that can lead to weight gains.

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