The Problem: Overeating at Night

Raise your hand if you’re prone to overeating at night.

Yep. That’s me. I tend to overeat at night.

Nighttime overeating, by which I mean eating enough to put you in a calorie surplus (eating more than you burn), can absolutely lead to fat gain, and I do not want fat gain. Interestingly enough, I’ve found that the issue isn’t due to a lack of self control. It’s a lack of preparation and pro-activity.

What’s my new goal? It’s not to overeat at night!

My late night overeating is ABSOLUTELY emotionally based.

In this case, it’s important to develop self-awareness. If you’re eating because of stress or anxiety, overeating will make those feelings worse. Figuring out the root cause of your emotional turmoil and replace your negative coping behavior (overeating) with a positive one (exercise, reading, etc.).

I have some good ideas that might help me active this goal:

  • PAY ATTENTION TO MY SITUATIONS
    What situations cause you to struggle the most?
    Are there certain days of the week that are most problematic?
    If so, what do these days have in common?
  • PAY ATTENTION TO MY FEELINGS
    What emotions are most prevalent on your most difficult nights? 
    Are you feeling stressed, anxious, exhausted, overwhelmed? Try to put a name on it. 
    What has triggered that feeling?  
  • PAY ATTENTION TO MY THOUGHTS
    What kinds of thoughts are you thinking?
    Are your thoughts reflective of an outside influence?
    How are those thoughts making your struggle better or worse? 

When asking myself these questions, I’m looking for the reason behind why I’m turning to food when I’m not hungry. I may not immediately figure it out, so I need to focus on watching and learning from my patterns.

Here’s the truth: for a lot of women, food is a reward. Rewarding yourself for the day being done, working hard, meeting deadlines, cooking dinner, putting kids to bed and finally, finally, finally…the food becomes a way to reward yourself. To actually spend some time on YOU instead of catering to everyone else in your life every minute of the day.

Personally for me, it’s a comfort, soothing my frazzled nerves from a stressful day. It could be relieving loneliness, filling an emptiness or unhappiness inside, or wanting pleasure … that’s a Mandy problem if I’ve ever heard one.

I’m going to try some interesting tips to help control my nighttime overeating ~

  1. Brush my teeth after dinner.
  2. Drink a glass of water before I snack.
  3. Get a good night’s sleep.
  4. Eat a healthy breakfast.
  5. Make sure my meals during the day are satisfying.
  6. Look at the emotional component of food: What do I want the food to do for me?
  7. Make time to transition – People need time to move into the different components in their days. This is how a person begins to switch habits. So maybe your transition is to come home from work every day and instead of jumping into making dinner and cleaning the house, you sit on the couch with a cup of tea for 10 minutes … that’s the transition I’m talking about! I must create a few minutes to transition which allows me to move from work mode to home mode.
  8. If I slip up, I must remember to quickly forgive myself and get back to business. 🙂

Alright, let’s DO THIS!

~ Mandy