Night eating is not an uncommon problem. Whether that’s eating from the time you get home from work until you go to bed, or from after the kids go down until the wee hours of the morning, or if it’s physically getting out of bed to go eat. All of it is very distressing and does a real number on someone’s self esteem.
“Why don’t I have any will power? What is wrong with me?”
Then the decision is made that tomorrow will be different. And that is where it all begins to fall apart. You see, typically the decision to “fix it” involves some sort of restriction in the diet.
When people have been dieting a while it’s not uncommon for them to have a small breakfast (if they eat one at all), then it’s an apple or carrot sticks for snacks, then a salad for lunch, then maybe another little vegetable snack in the afternoon. So, by the time they get home from work, they’ve had maybe 500 calories worth of food. Then they take on the task of cooking supper for the family and find themselves picking at the food or grabbing other things out of the fridge. So they serve themselves less than what they want for supper because they were just snacking in the kitchen. But the kitchen cupboards are still calling to them after they eat. They resist for a little while but it’s really distracting. It takes up all of the space in their head. They browse the cupboards one more time…
Once they start, they don’t stop. It could be a full out binge with frenzied chaos and complete loss of control. Or it could be a steady stream of food eaten systematically. Either way, at the end of the food, is another defeat. More shame. More promises of tomorrow being different. And the cycle starts again.
What if the solution was to eat more?
“Okay, hold on Kerri. I was with you right up until now. Eat more? Were you not paying attention? I eat too much!!”
Stay with me here. I’ll walk you through this idea.
The overwhelming urge to eat can be caused by a multitude of reasons. A big one is actual hunger. By eating light foods all day – veggies, fruit and maybe some tuna on your salad – you’ve put yourself in a deficit. You are REALLY hungry by the time you get home. The hormones that tell you that you’re hungry and full are completely whacked out. Now we’re talking caveman primal hunger. You’re ready to take down a buffalo and eat it raw kind of hungry.
Once you get into this “hangry” state, will power isn’t part of the conversation anymore. This is a hormone driven NEED to eat. Biology isn’t easily overcome in this state. Even a nutritious meal that is balanced will have a hard time over-riding this drive to eat.
By starting out your day with a hearty breakfast, full of fiber, fat and protein; followed by a hearty lunch less than 5 hours later; topped off with a decent after work snack (if supper is still a while away), you will be facing your evening with your hormones in check. Your body’s cues for hunger and fullness should be trustworthy (assuming sleep is adequate, but that’s another blog.)
And then, if you’re still reaching for food and browsing the cupboards, you can be more confident that you likely don’t really NEED food. That allows us to start uncovering the real reasons behind your overeating.
Until next time,
Live Life. Love Food. Be Free.