Afternoon cravings? New study suggests how take control of 3pm crash

Afternoon slump, danger period, arvo cravings, 3pm slump…. Call is what you will, but this period of the day can often derail you after you’ve had a great morning eating healthily on the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge.

This period of the day, which typically happen in the late afternoon, occurs because your blood sugar levels drop after lunch. This decrease in blood sugar levels can make you want to pig out in order to boost your energy levels.

In fact, a new study has found that 30 minutes of exercise can help shake off cognitive fatigue and feelings of burnout.

How to beat the afternoon 3pm slump

Whether you’re still working from home or have returned to the office, the 3pm crash hits all of us as our energy wanes over the day.

Regardless of what we eat for lunch or whether we have an extra coffee, it always catches up with us – this is why some countries have siestas! (We don’t think your boss will be too happy if they find you napping at your desk!)

But a new study by German researchers has found that exercise can reverse this slump and mental fatigue in just 30 minutes!

And while most of us can’t think of anything worse than working out after lunch, it may be exactly what you need.

The study findings…

Participants of the study were grouped into three. One group did 30 minutes of aerobic exercise, the other 30 minutes of stretching and the final group watched 30 minutes of watching TV sitcom The Big Bang Theory.

Researchers reported that the group who cycled for 30 minutes felt less mentally tired, had improved mood and better mental capability.

It seems exercise during lunchtime has a long-term impact, making long-term positive alterations in the brain structure and function.

Another study that was published in the Journal of Physiology found that exercising or even talking a quick walk, between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m., can shift forward your body clock to help perk you up.

How afternoon workouts may be more beneficial

While there’s no ‘right time’ of the day to workout, some evidence suggests you may work harder in the arvo, as you’ve eaten a few meals to give your energy levels a boost.

What’s more, there is also some evidence that your body naturally burns around 10% more calories during this period of the day – compared to first thing in the morning and at night.

If changing into active wear at this time of day doesn’t work for you, then a short stroll around the office to chat to a colleague or walking instead of driving to the school gates may even give you a much-needed jolt of energy.

7 tips to stop mindlessly snacking during the afternoon slump

1. Choose wisely

7 tips to stop mindlessly snacking during the afternoon slump

You should be having an afternoon snack to help see you through this time of day, but it’s important you don’t reach for a bag of chips or a chocolate bar.

Just make sure you have a healthy snack – here are some healthy snacking ideas to help you make the right choices

2. Limit the opportunity for seconds

7 tips to stop mindlessly snacking during the afternoon slump

Once you have had a healthy lunch, full of fresh vegetables or salad and proteins to keep you feeling full, pack any leftovers away to have for lunch tomorrow.

This way, there isn’t any food lying around that you mindlessly nibble throughout the afternoon.

3. Throw out the junk

Woman eating junk food

It’s much easier to kick the afternoon snacking habit if there are no unhealthy snacks to be had.

Promise yourself that you won’t buy food that doesn’t fit in with your healthy eating plan. If you really are hungry, try some grapes, air popped popcorn, some watermelon, a handful of nuts or a banana.

3. Make a ‘no eating in front of the TV’ rule

It is easy to over consume food when we aren’t paying attention to what we are eating and also ignoring our body’s signals that we have had enough.

Watching TV while eating dinner or a snack is likely to cause issues with weight loss, as we need to eat mindfully. Introduce a rule that you will only eat at the table (snacks too) and not while watching TV or running around after the kids.

4. Do something different

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Afternoon snacking is a tough habit to break, so it pays to distract yourself if you can. Drink water, fold the laundry, do some stretches, clean out a kitchen drawer – just keep your hands busy so that you aren’t tempted.

5. Get out of the house

One of the reasons you may feel like snacking is because you’re feeling bored. Maybe you could try walking or exercising before picking the kids up from school to distract yourself.

Alternatively, walk to a park or playground with the kids after you collect them and spend the afternoon out of the house in order to stop you feeling tempted to go into the pantry.

6. Make dinner earlier

To stop yourself from picking at the dinner you’re making, try making it earlier in the day and then put it in the fridge once it’s cooled. Alternatively, try meal prepping ahead of time.

If it’s there on the stove, you’re more likely to pick at it!

7. Have a substantial lunch

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If you are feeling those hunger pangs, it may be because you didn’t have enough to eat at lunch. You could always try having a bigger lunch to keep you fuller for longer and then eating a smaller dinner.

Join the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge TODAY!

Want to shift your weight but feel like you have NO TIME in your day to exercise and eat healthily?

That’s where the Healthy Mummy’s 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge can help.

What do you get? You get access to:

  • 28 days of at home exercise routines (no gym needed) – with video instruction
  • Customisable and breastfeeding friendly meal plans
  • Time-efficient exercises for busy mums – under 30 mins
  • Challenge combines Pilates exercises with interval and circuit training (HIIT)
  • Suitable for basic to advanced fitness levels.
  • Home to thousands of EASY-TO-MAKE recipes.

Find out more about joining the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge.


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