How to stop binge eating at night
You’re so ”good” all day and then the night time binges start…
You’re sat on the sofa after a long day. You’ve just eaten a healthy dinner. You worked out this morning, ate salad for lunch, snacked on fruit all day, you’re proud of yourself. You’re rocking this sh*t…
Then you hear something… it’s the cupboards calling your name. Pssssst, heeeeeyyyy we are full of cookies! You pretend to ignore them. They call louder. You start to ponder if there’s any way you can justify eating dessert. You consider it. You diet brain pops up:
“NO don’t even think about it! you CAN’T have anything else, once you start eating you won’t be able to stop. You’ll ruin your great day of eating. You’ll fall off the wagon! Don’t do it!”
Your desire answers back:
“Well, if I just ate everything that’s left in the house I could start again tomorrow. Then I won’t buy cookies in anymore. The kids can have fruit instead. We’ll all go on a health kick together!”
This conversation goes on for half an hour or so. But in the end your desire brain wins. It always wins. That’s why you feel like such a failure every day. You go to the cookies. So delicious. But before you know it, you’ve eaten the whole 2 packs. You’ve blown it now, may as well eat anything else left in the house that’s sweet.
You’ll start again tomorrow…
You go to bed feeling bloated, hopeless, annoyed, guilty, unworthy, unlovable. Not only are you in physical pain from your bloated tummy, you’re in even more emotional pain. It hurts so bad.
Why does this happen?
If you haven’t already, take a read of this: How to stop binge eating which explains in detail why we binge eat in the first place.
Talking specifically about night time binge eating then, there are a few reasons for this:
- You’ve not eaten enough during the day so you’re biology is literally driving you to eat, even if your tummy is full, your body is smart and always makes up for any kind of deprivation.
- You’re constantly thinking about food and how unhappy you are with your body. Your thoughts are focused on how much you’ve eaten, calories, how much weight you want to lose because you hate your body as it is now, how you ”can’t eat that” and so on. Your ‘diet brain’ is in full dominance of your thoughts everyday. You’re constantly beating yourself up in your head. It’s exhausting! And because you’re thinking about food all the time and what you can’t have, it causes a biological response to drive you to eat! Because of the ongoing and future threat of deprivation. (Read this blog)
- It’s a habit that your brain is wired to do (due to the above 2 reasons). And eating at night is the only form of pleasure in your life. You look forward to it even though you constantly wish you didn’t do it.
What’s the solution to nighttime binge eating?
Night-time binge eating is no different to treating generalized binge eating. The only difference I see (and have experienced) is the habit and pleasure part.
Some of you may not like my solution to nighttime binge eating because it’s scary as fu*k and your brain will automatically jump to the conclusion of:
“There’s absolutely no way this will work for me. I guarantee it! I’ll eat Nutella from the jar all day and night and I’ll be so fat that I won’t be able to walk.”
It makes me smile when I hear this. Because 99% of my clients say this when they first start working with me! I smile because I also thought the same thing at the start of my journey to food freedom. I thought that I was the ONE that it wouldn’t work for. It couldn’t work for! Because I’m so much worse than everyone else.
So here’s the solution in a nutshell:
Commit to body image work.
Work towards building healthy habits to feel amazing!
It’s simple right..?! 😉
But not easy. And there is a lot more to learn in each step.
That’s why you need me to help you, assist you, support you, spot the squid on your face that you can’t see what’s stopping you from reaching food and body freedom!
But I always want to provide as much value and help as possible in my blogs to help so here are some tips…
Tips to help stop night time binge eating..
Eat more food! If you’re not ready to ”go all in” and commit to finding lifelong food and body freedom (please do it, it’s indescribably amazing and free!) but you want to reduce your night time eating episodes, then eating more in the day will help. Eat what your body craves, not what your diet brain thinks you should eat. So if it’s lunchtime and you really fancy a cheese toastie from the work cafe but you tell yourself you”must”eat your miserable little premade salad instead, ignore the food police and eat the damn toastie! Eating more will stop that desperate biological need to eat. However it won’t stop your thoughts of food worry which can lead to the biological drive to eat. Which brings me nicely onto…
Focus your thoughts on positive things about your body and your food. Whatever we think about, we attract to us. It’s the Law (Of Attraction.) If you’re sat thinking about how much you wish your body would look like Sarah’s on Facebook and how you ‘can’t eat that’ then you’ll attract more of these negative thoughts and feelings. And don’t forget that your feelings dictate your behaviour and your behaviour dictates your results. And when you feel guilty, not good enough, deprived and restricted, you binge! So focus your thoughts on positive things you like about your body. Ignore the other parts for now. Think about how delicious your food is and how it is nourishing you. Feel grateful for the fact that you can nip to the shop and eat a banana that only hours before was hanging off a tree in Africa! Positive thoughts breed positive feelings and positive feelings enable positive behaviour and so on…
Eat your ‘trigger’ foods in everyday food. I’m talking Nutella in porridge. Cheese in your mash potato. Real butter in your sarnie! Mayo on your salad. This takes away the all or nothing mindset around your trigger foods. It’s just food. You’re a big girl and you can choose to eat chocolate whenever you want. Melted dairy milk on toast anyone? The permission to eat anything you want is the key.
Explore other activities that you might enjoy in an evening to assist you with the ‘habit’ part of your night eating. Don’t get me wrong, I live to eat for sure but if binge eating is your only enjoyment in life, it’s impossible to remove it. I use to only have food that brought me pleasure in my life. I know how that feels… If this is the case for you, maybe it would be helpful (and life-changing) to hire a coach or see a therapist. Here are some other suggestions to assist you with your ‘habit’.
Join a group coaching program. Take a walk with a picnic. Go swimming. Join a class of some kind. Have a bath with luxurious lotions and potions whilst you enjoy a delicious bar of chocolate. Take a look at this list of 101 self-care ideas to find ones that work for you. It’s SO important not to try to replace eating with these ideas. Because that’s a restriction mindset. Read more about this here.
OWN IT!!! I have so many tips to give you but I’ll end it with this one. Take your power back. If you want to eat pizza and ice cream, own it girl! Enjoy it! Eat mindfully. Indulge in the best possible sense of the word. Take your time with your food. Own your decision to eat. Hell yes I’m eating pizza and ice cream tonight and I’m going to enjoy every bite and have no guilt because I decide!
Own your body. Your curves. Your stretch marks. Your cellulite. Own it allll and love it allll!!! Own it or else it’ll own you.
Do you need help?
I get that this journey is not freaking easy. It’s scary. It’s messy. It’s hard. The fear of potential weight gain can be paralyzing. I get it. I’ve been there beautiful!
During this process to FREEDOM around food AND in your body, you might gain weight. You might not. You might lose weight. You might stay the same. What I can promise you is that you’ll find your natural healthy size for you where you stay easily and happily. Peaceful around food. Excited about holidays without bikini anxiety or a diet countdown BS!
If you want your life back, Let’s chat to explore the options to work together and get you out of this rut.