When I was searching for the next topic for my training blog, I asked my clients, what were their biggest struggles.
They said that controlling their urges at night was the hardest thing to do.
I often heard them say that they do really “well” during the day because they are busy and they don’t feel hungry.
But then they always end up sabotaging themselves at night.
Why do we overeat at night
This happens for several reasons:
- We don’t nourish or hydrate ourselves during the day,
- Then we don’t know how to break our old habits and overcome the urges to binge,
- We restrict, control and measure the amount of food we eat in order to lose weight,
- Lastly, we don’t know how to manage our emotions appropriately. Then we use food to numb our feeling of tiredness, stress or boredom.
How to reduce the urges to binge at night
There are steps we can take to prevent or reduce the urges to overeat by being proactive.
And then there are steps we can take if some urges still arise by reacting appropriately.
Often when we start a new meal plan or a program, we get motivated and get organized following a diet to the letter.
But then we don’t see the results fast enough, so we give up and go back to our old ways.
Most emotional eaters have an all or nothing mentality, they either put in 100% or they do nothing.
The secret is to aim for balance, not perfection!
Proactive steps to stop binging at night
Step #1 Get organized
I love the saying:
“If you fail you prepare, you prepare to fail.”
When we are in autopilot, we are not present so it is no surprise that we just end up doing what we always do.
Doing otherwise would require a lot of effort.
So make sure you have your water, meals, snacks and treats ready for the day.
Once you get used to eating breakfast and lunch, making sure that you have proper afternoon tea is crucial!
If you know that when you get home, you are likely to overeat, it is because you are hungry and tired.
That is why it is important to have something in the afternoon that will satisfy you.
Ideally, it should have all 3 macronutrients in order to keep the urges at bay.
And if you feel like having something sweet after dinner, plan it!
Think about what sweet treat you could have, that will satisfy you that has some nutrients in it.
My old-time favourite is Greek yoghurt with dark chocolate, mixed berries, raw nuts, seeds and chia seeds.
Step #2 Break old habits
We wouldn’t let our children go out all day without any food, water or snacks.
It would be a disaster releasing the “hanger monster” and having to face a massive meltdown at the end of the day.
Yet, we do it to ourselves…
If you don’t eat all day, but then binge at night
If you are a person who never eats all day but binges at night, it is time to eat more meals.
However, I would do this one day at a time so it is not so overwhelming suddenly having to eat 3-5 times a day.
By being hungry, dehydrated, tired and stressed we are less likely to make good food choices.
During that time we are also less likely to cope with everyday life challenges in a mature way.
If you are not hungry in the morning, but then overeat later in the day
I often hear people say, that they are not hungry in the morning.
But if this is the case, it is not because we are born that way, it is because of our habits.
20 somethings years ago, I used to wake up and have black coffee with 3 teaspoons of sugar and a cigarette.
I didn’t just keep going with that simply because that is what I felt like having and because I didn’t feel like eating breakfast.
It is all about breaking the old habits that don’t align with want we are trying to achieve.
What we want is to nourish, respect and honor our bodies.
And we will be able to do this by creating new habits until they become automated and effortless.
Yes, ditching the cigarettes, sugar in my coffee and having to eat breakfast even when I didn’t feel like it was a lot of effort.
But once I have repeated this new habit a few times, it became so automated that my brain started to send signals of hunger as soon as I opened my eyes.
Now I cannot start the day without having breakfast.
If you snack on sweets, chips or drink wine before dinner
Make the effort to break the old habits by being present and consciously changing your old routines to new ones.
E.g. If you normally reach for a bag of chips or a glass of wine before you start dinner, make a conscious effort to replace that with something else.
And make sure you eat something throughout the day so you can make a healthier choice with ease.
Step #3 Ditch dieting
Stop dieting for good!
Restricting or controlling your food intake during the day will only make you eat more at night.
Focus on starting today regardless of what happened last night.
Guilt, shame and punishment will give you the same results as you got yesterday.
If you want different results tomorrow, you will need to take a different action.
Reactive steps to stop binging
Step #4 Recognize and manage emotions
Once you have done steps 1-3 and you are still experiencing some urges to binge, it is time to change how you react.
Start looking at what emotions are you are trying to suppress with food.
Can you just sit with those emotions and wait until they pass?
Or how else could you manage them without having to reach for food?
We all wish to be slimmer and healthier, yet are we willing to do the work to get there?
By not taking the right steps, we will keep believing that overcoming our urges is impossible.
We blame our willpower or personality, but are we willing to make the effort and get more organized so they don’t happen in the first place?
Free Training Video
And if you need more help breaking the old habits that don’t serve you anymore, you can click on the following link to access a Free training video.
Here I explain what other steps you can take which will give you clarity on how to move forward.
You will also be able to schedule a free strategy call with me personally at the end of that video.
During this call, I will help you figure out where you are at and what is holding you back from achieving your goals.
And here is what you will learn in the training video:
Thank you so much for reading today’s blog, until next time.