How To Stop Nighttime Binges
Before I share anything about how to stop nighttime binges, I’m going to take you back to the good old days when they were totally out of control. From the outside, it looked like I ate a healthy diet but come 6pm and I could not avoid the sugar+carb cravings from hitting me like a ton of bricks.
I would wake up in the morning eating protein and veggies for breakfast and unsweetened almond milk with coffee, no sugar.
Then I would exercise for a minimum of 1.5 hours.
Snack was always a fruit.
Lunch would be the same idea as breakfast, protein and veggies.
Mid afternoon snack was a fruit.
Dinner was protein and veggies.
Like I said before, as soon as I finished dinner the nighttime cravings were incredible! I could not get images of cookies, cakes, chocolate, chips, candy, ice cream out of my head. You name the goodies and I wanted them all. My willpower to eat healthy went out the window and I found myself at the bodega putting a bunch of sugar on the counter, paying and walking back up to my apartment. And I’m sure you can guess what happened next. Hello Binge Eating.
Do a mental check NOW if you relate to any of the statements below. K?
Are people always telling you that you eat so healthy?!
Do you think, I eat healthy it’s just at night that I feel out of control!
If you answered YES to both of these then read on to hear about the two main reasons why you binge at night and what to do about them.
1. There’s a lack of carbs in your diet!!!!!
Carbohydrates are essential for your body. They give your brain and nervous system fuel to function properly. It is true, that they should ultimately be eaten in a balanced way (some of the time) and I encourage my clients to have carbs at every meal mixed in with other nutrients. However, when you are on a restricted diet for weight loss and you’re hungry, even if you don’t feel hunger in your body, over time there is actually a neurological response that gets triggered in your brain that makes you more likely to crave carbohydrates because it is sooo necessary for your body. Basically if you, who’s on a diet, and me, who’s not on a diet, both see a donut. That donut will look waaaay tastier to you than to me because of your restrictive diet. Get it? Diet person’s brain lights up if they even think of donuts and the craving is totally neurological so you don’t have a lot of control or power over there.
Unless you decide to stop dieting and start incorporating carbs in your diet the binges at night will continue.
Start slow loves. Commit to having at least one carbohydrate in every meal. It can be any which one of your choice. I like chips, potatoes, pasta, bread. The options are endless, just make sure you pick something you enjoy.
2. You have unresolved emotions left over from the day!!!
Being on a diet made me so obsessed with food that I truly couldn’t deal with anything else outside of losing weight.
This meant that if anything stressful happened during the day like dealing with coworkers that stepped all over me and a crazy boss or not having proper boundaries in my relationships, I literally just brushed it off as nothing, until I came home later and had to deal with an inner emotional shitshow. Everything came to the surface all at once and it was so overwhelming that all I wanted to do was eat my feelings away.
To be clear comfort food is never a bad thing, nor is eating dessert at night, but, if it happens to cover up unresolved emotions, I have found that comfort eating does not actually get processed as comforting to the body.
Do three emotional checks throughout your day (breakfast+lunch+dinner). Ask yourself on a scale of 1-10 how/what am I feeling right now? I want you to acknowledge specific feelings and dealing with them accordingly as your day goes on. If you can, write your feelings down (ex: boredom, anxiety, fear) and what they are related to. Try to be as specific as possible.