Conquering Late Night Eating
Late night eating (emotional eating, binging, etc.) is often a result of stress, anxiety and an entire host of emotions we seek to medicate with food. This is a destructive coping mechanism that should be taken seriously.
Here are a few things you can do to help remedy this problem:
- 1) The first course of action is to manage the situation. Before you can do the deeper work on this problem, your best bet is to mitigate the damage by controlling your environment. Start by removing all the high-calorie processed garbage from your pantry and fridge. At the end of the night when your will power has waned, you won't be able to eat what isn't there.
- 2) Have healthier options at the ready. If you can't stop yourself from a binge, try to choose foods that are healthier and lower in calories. For example, choose air-popped popcorn instead of fattening fried processed corn chips. Choose turkey, lettuce and tomato roll-ups over the leftover pizza. This plays into tip number one. When you remove all the garbage foods, your next step is to replace them with healthier options.
- 3) Bring awareness to the situation. When you first find yourself at the fridge - stop. Sit down and answer the following questions:
- A. Are you physically hungry?
- B. Have you eaten within the last three to four hours?
- C. If you aren't physically hungry, what emotions are you feeling?
- D. Can you do anything to remedy the situation that has you stressed in this moment?
- 4) Fix the problem. If you're not hungry and you have determined that emotions are driving you to eat, try to deal with the situation that's causing you anxiety. If it's a fight with a loved one, see if it can be resolved. If it's unfinished work, write up a game plan for the rest of the week so you have a schedule to help you get things done, and so on.
- 5) Build support. If you can't remedy the issue in the moment, have a support system at the ready to help you deal with your feelings instead of binging and numbing out with food. Find a friend you can call. Join an online support group. Go to an OA mtg.
- 6) Practice recovery behaviors. Find nurturing alternative behaviors that are life-affirming and not self-destructive. Instead of eating, work on a hobby you love, like gardening, restoring an old car, or anything that calms you. Or you can try exercising, taking a bubble bath, or getting a manicure. By engaging in behaviors that make you feel healthy and beautiful, you create actions that are incompatible with destructive habits like binging.