Overeating At Night

Woman cautiously opening refrigerator. Overeating at night

21 August 2015 | Written by Xenia Ayiotis

Filed Under: Overeating

Do you struggle with overeating at night? Here are some reasons why you overeat at night and what you can do about it…

You come home from a long day and you go straight to the fridge. Does this sound like you? Somehow, something happens that the minute you walk in the door, you just want to eat until you go to bed at night.

What does nighttime eating look like?

  • You come home and head straight for the fridge or pantry.
  • You eat mindlessly as you cook and justify it as tasting.
  • Your after dinner entertainment is to sit on the couch and eat.
  • You find it hard to watch TV without eating and nibbling on something and you alternate between sweet and savoury or ice-cream and chips.
  • As you are watching TV you are zoned out and not really aware of the taste of what you are eating or how full your stomach feels.
  • You only have one huge meal at night.
  • You snack from the minute you come home until you go to sleep.
  • You bring out the treats secretly when everyone has gone to bed.
  • You snack before sleeping in case you wake up hungry.

These are some of the common reasons for overeating at night:

  • You skip meals during the day or you limit your food intake, so your body is ravenous by the time you get home.
  • You are so stressed and anxious during the day that coming home to eat is a relief from the pressures of the day which sends you straight to the fridge or glass of wine for relief.
  • Eating has become your only source of pleasure because you are not having enough fun – read more about this here
  • You use food to unwind or to help you cope with difficult emotions like boredom, procrastination, loneliness.
  • It then becomes a habit.

Now that we know what overeating at night looks like and what is most likely to cause it, what can we do about it?

  1. Eat regularly and don’t restrict or deprive yourself during the day, because it will probably lead to overeating at night. Allow yourself treats to prevent binge eating later on in the evening
  2. Get to know the difference between emotional hunger and physical hunger – you can read more about the difference here
  3. Experiment with simply watching television without eating or if you have to do something – try knitting!
  4. Identify the reasons for overeating at night and find ways to deal with them. If it’s boredom or loneliness, find ways to relieve the boredom like trying out new hobbies (there are wonderful new colouring-in books for adults) or do an online course. If it’s stress, then find ways to relieve the stress through yoga, breathing and meditation.
  5. If you choose to eat to cope, then do it mindfully – here are some steps on how to use food to cope with difficult emotions.
  6. Change your routine and patterns when you come home. So instead of going straight to the fridge when you come home, put on your shoes and go for a walk or go and sit in the garden.
  7. Fun fun fun!  Try and incorporate more mini moments of pleasure throughout your day and on weekends.

Be well and have fun!

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