How much is your TV-snacking habit affecting your weight?

If you find you're really struggling to lose weight, you might want to take a hard look at what you're doing at night. 

Is watching TV part of your nighttime routine? If the answer is yes, here's the next question - are you aware of your TV-snaking habit?

"Watching TV while snacking is a really frequent thing we see in patients who are struggling with their weight management because watching TV is such a passive activity; there's a lot of unhealthy food queues on there so it's really easy for the eating to add up in the evening hours," says Cleveland Clinic Dr. Kasey Goodpaster. 

She says some people may even struggle with something called night eating syndrome. That's when you have the urge to eat another meal after dinner, or to eat in the middle of the night. 

Here's the problem. That can lead to a vicious cycle where you're not hungry in the morning so you skip breakfast or lunch and then you're super hungry in the afternoon and eat whatever you can find. 

This is when we crave high carb, low fiber foods - especially when we're tired.

So what's the answer? 

Eat regular meals that will fill you with healthy fiber, and pause before you indulge in the nighttime snack. 

"Maybe it wasn't that physical hunger at all," says Dr. Goodpaster. "Maybe the craving is coming from something else. It could be stress and really needing to find a relaxation activity in the evening, something non-food related. And that might be something like deep breathing exercises or taking a nice, hot bath or shower."

Make sure you're not using food to manage stress. For some, it works to make a rule to stop eating at a certain time. And then make yourself stay out of the kitchen and out of the pantry.