Do you eat because you're tired?

Filed Under: Overeating

2 February 2024 | Written by Xenia Ayiotis

Tiredness is something we all experience, it’s unavoidable. We can’t escape feeling tired from overworking, lack of sleep, staying up late or all three.
Tiredness is one of the biggest triggers that causes overeating for most of my clients.
So why do we turn to food when we are anything from mildly tired, to absolutely exhausted?
Food gives us a boost of energy, it’s pleasurable and it’s there! Eating distracts us from the discomfort of feeling tired, especially during that afternoon slump or late in the evening. Whilst eating provides momentary relief, it doesn’t cure tiredness.

How do we deal with tiredness so that we don’t turn to food each time?

How else can we take care of ourselves in these moments?


Many of us take better care of our phones than we do of ourselves! When our phone battery goes low, we recharge it or we turn on save-battery mode. Our phones give us notifications that the battery is low. So do our bodies, but in our busy, distracted lives we don’t always notice this and we continue to push ourselves. We don’t listen to our bodies. We dread feeling tired. The first step to dealing with tiredness, is very simple: recognise and acknowledge that you are tired. Name it.


Once you are aware that you are tired, accept that your capacity to do things is going to be lower than you would like, so reduce your expectations. Slow down a bit. Think about it – if your phone battery is low and there is no charger around, you will probably save your battery for important calls. Save your energy. Focus on the most important things and aim for small wins.


Acceptance of the feeling is an important step to dealing with it. So often we resist feeling tired because we want to get things done and crossed off our to-do list. The resistance creates more tiredness especially if it’s accompanied by thoughts like “Ugh I am sooo tired!” – thoughts like that will make you even more tired. Accept that you will probably have an urge to eat and you can if you want to but ask yourself: “What can I do in addition to eating?” Accept that you won’t be as sharp or as productive as you would like to be. It’s also important not to be hard on yourself or blame yourself for being tired, as this will only make matters more challenging.


Bring a gentle awareness to how tiredness feels in your body. How do your eyes feel? Perhaps your eye-lids are droopy. Is there a heaviness or tightness in your body? How do your muscles feel? If we could learn to stop fearing this sensation, we could start to allow ourselves to become familiar with it. Allow yourself to experience the sensation of tiredness in your body.

Practical things you can do in the moment to energise yourself are:

Stand up, stretch your arms and neck, move a little.
Go for a walk if you can.
Water – take a shower or drink water.
Go into nature, look at the sky.
Do a short meditation — here is one I have created for you. (Background ambience: Zapsplash)
Take deep breaths, bringing oxygen into your body energises you.
If you can, rest. If you can’t, make a plan to rest later. Plan a day of doing nothing.
Of course, you can always choose to eat. If you do, let go of judgement. Put the food on a plate and savour the experience.
Tiredness is a doorway, it’s an invitation to slow down, to take time to rest. Whatever you do, when you notice you are tired, try to treat yourself gently, in the same way you would care for a tired baby. Tiredness can offer us an opportunity to pause and give our frantic selves a break. Later, we can get busy again.

Wishing you well,

✨ Ready to get coaching around changing your relationship with food? Book a free 30-minute mini session and let’s explore what challenges you’re facing and see how the coaching and courses I offer can support you.

“From our first meeting - two faces on Zoom across the world from each other, there was a sense of familiarity and comfort that was a healing balm for a lifetime of food struggles and dieting. Without realizing how much damage I had done to myself by adhering, for decades, to restrictive food plans and rigid diet programs, Xen had a way of redirecting the harsh and negative self-talk and sending me forth each week with compassion, mindfulness and a new way of seeing myself in the here and now. Gone are the maybe somedays, and if-only, and when-I’m-smaller thinking. Now I am committed to the imperfect and rocky path to listening to my body, accepting my perfect imperfections, and rejecting diet mentality. Those negative voices will revisit me from time to time, I know, but Xen has offered valuable tools for meeting each day as a fresh start - another choice, another chance. Her devotion to this work and her belief in her clients is a remarkable gift; I am so fortunate to have found her. It is never too late to let go of the drama and embrace joy, ease and self-acceptance.”

Karen L, Denver, USA

“I felt hopeless and helpless in my daily struggle with mindless eating for many years. Then I found Xen which is exactly what I needed! My decision to work with her helped me to finally repair my relationship with food. It's changing my life for the better, one day at a time. Now I have control over the food, instead of it having control over me, which is the way it should be. I highly recommend Xen to anyone who has a desire to overcome similar food struggles. Xen, thank you from the bottom of my heart!”

Karen J, Colorado, USA

“I reached out to Xenia because 2021 started on a tumultuous note for me. Between deaths, businesses suffering, hospitalizations, and job losses in our personal circle, I felt depleted and found myself being available for everyone but myself. Then I was hit with an unexpected health diagnosis, which was the last straw as it meant giving up “healthy foods” and workouts that I leaned on for my well-being and stability. Despite working in wellness (Yes, coaches and healers are vulnerable too!), I found myself reaching out to desserts for comfort. I like to live a life of permissions (not labels or deprivation leading to bingeing), so I wanted to work with someone who approached healing from a place of mindful compassion. I didn’t want to be my own client. Xenia was great in reminding me to be kind to myself. Working with her, brought me peace and helped shift my mindset. I love how desserts and I look at each other now.”

Sweta Vikram, New York, USA

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Daniela Velásquez, Ottawa, Canada

“Working with Xen was a game changer for me. After working together for a few months my relationship with food radically changed. I no longer felt like a failure. I now have the tools to nourish my body with foods that feel good in my body. I don’t feel guilty about eating cake or chocolate, I also don’t overeat cake and chocolate. I no longer feel the need to exercise to compensate for my eating. I feel much more free around eating and I am more accepting of my body. Xen has a nonjudgmental and compassionate approach to coaching and really supports you in the process.”

Rachel, Dublin, Ireland

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Michelle, Johannesburg, South Africa

“Xenia was a walking, living, breathing example of what can be done. I laughed and cried my way through a short course in this fascinating and invigorating programme with her, and have gained a designer tote full of coping skills that go way beyond containing kilogrammes. I feel infinitely lighter. I am doing this for me and, yes, you can do this for you too! And believe me, I’m cynical!”

Diana, Vancouver, Canada

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Certified by The Life Coach School Certified and Trained by The Original Intuitive Eating Pro Professional Member of The Center for Mindful Eating