If you are an emotional eater, then fears and other negative emotions tend to surface at night, so there’s more emotion to contend with. Night eating disorder further complicates the matter, because many people overeat on automatic pilot.
We can stay busy and ward off emotion during the day, but that’s not so easy at night, especially when you are more fatigued. If you think about the top 4 emotions that drive emotional eating (FLAB – frustration, loneliness, anger and boredom), these are more present at night.
When you add general anxiety and stress related eating to the mix, you’ve got a recipe for night eating and night eating disorder.
To stop eating at night, try these strategies:
1. Commit to 3 meals per day with no snacks for 30 days. I know this sounds extreme, but done correctly, it can get you out of the snacking habit altogether. You may have to pay attention in the first few days to make sure you aren’t putting random food in your mouth throughout the day. It’s also important to approach this as a choice, and a commitment to health, rather than a “diet.”
2. Change your habits at night. If you always eat while you watch TV, do something else. Make a cup of tea and read that book you’ve been wanting to get to.
3. Make a plan. The problem at night is that we often feel too tired to do anything else. Plan some fun activities ahead of time.
4. Relax! Choose relaxing activities at night that don’t involve snacking. You need this time to relax and recharge for the next day. (Hint: TV and computer games are not relaxing. Interact with your family, or listen to relaxing music or an audio program instead.)
5. Go to bed earlier. The later you stay up, the more tired you will be, and the more chance you have to get hungry.
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