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After Work Snacking Destroying Exercise Gains

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Q. I am 5’10” and around 148 pounds. I know this puts me a normal weight range. I would love to lose 10 pounds. I run 4 times a week, 16 or more miles. I am very active with my children, baseball other sports etc. I never sit around and just eat and watch tv. I eat average size meals (they could be healthier) BUT I have one, sometimes two a day, usually right when I get home from work, a major binge. I eat whatever junk I can get my hands on. It is not unusual for me to consume 1500-2000 calories as I “snack.” Again meal portions are normal exercise is decent, but these binges destroy any progress to lose weight and they are very unhealthy…I am not stuffing in fruits and veggies. I have had this problem for years. It sounds simple…don’t go into the kitchen until dinner but it is not that easy. Please advise.

After Work Snacking Destroying Exercise Gains

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When we take in more calories than we burn we gain weight. This is the simple truth. You are putting in the time exercising and burning many calories but then your snacking destroys your progress. As you recognize, this is no way to lose weight.

If weight loss is your goal then what you eat matters. In fact, what you eat can make all the difference in weight gain or loss. If you want to lose 10 pounds then you’ll need to give up the snack binges, or at least find a way to take in fewer calories.

Many people who exercise never lose any weight until they change their diet. Some people think that because they exercise, they can and do eat what they want. Some people even stop restricting calories or dieting when they begin an exercise regime thinking things like “I can eat whatever I want since I ran a few miles today.” With this kind of mentality, I’ve seen individuals actually gain weight despite vigorous exercise. Curbing your snacking will likely be the key to losing weight.

You mention that you binge eat when you arrive home from work. This may happen because you’re very hungry and because of this, you’re less worried about how many calories you are consuming. Now that you know the time in which you are likely to overeat (right after work) you can take preventative steps to stop the overeating. Try the following tips.

  • Keep a (healthy) snack with you for after work. This way you may not arrive home feeling so hungry.
  • Have small snacks throughout the afternoon.
  • Rid your house of high calorie and unhealthy foods. If there are no high calorie snacks available, you can’t eat them.
  • Have plenty of fruit and vegetables available. Apples and oranges, for instance, make great snacks.
  • If you know that you are going to want to eat something when you arrive home, pre-make a healthy snack to eat. If you have a healthy pre-made snack available, this may decrease your likelihood of reaching for the high calorie snack, or at least may decrease the amount of unhealthy snacks you consume.
  • Try the many 100 calorie or less snacks available. For instance, Jell-O makes a variety of 60-100 calorie sugar free pudding snacks. Did you ever try dipping apple slices into Jell-O’s Dulce de Leche caramel flavored pudding? It’s a tasty, low calorie and filling snack. Baked Doritos have only about 120 calories for every 15 chips. Pringles has a low calorie version of their chips in which you could consume approximately 15 chips for about 70 calories (these chips are made with Olestra which some cannot tolerate). Other snacks such as yogurt, cookies, granola bars and even candy bars are now available in 100 calorie size packs. Having these lower calorie snacks on hand may make it easier to keep track of how many calories you are consuming and make it less likely that you will binge and consume the 1500-2000 extra calories.

These are just a few ideas. It is also wise to consult your doctor or a nutrionist about how to best lose weight. He or she may have other tips or strategies that can help. Take care.

After Work Snacking Destroying Exercise Gains

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist and Assistant Professor of Social Work and Forensics with extensive experience in the field of mental health. She works in private practice with adults, adolescents and families. Kristina has worked in a large array of settings including community mental health, college counseling and university research centers.

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2018). After Work Snacking Destroying Exercise Gains. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 24, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.