Probably the #1 challenge 90+% of people face when transitioning onto a healthy eating plan is, how to stop late night binge eating.
Through the day things go well, they go great actually! You stick to the meals, you don’t seem to be distracted by temping fast food, you get to the gym, have a KICK ASS workout and then you get home…….aaaaaaaaaaah! That’s when the pawpaw hits the fan!
I get asked this all the time…..”HOW DO I STOP MY LATE NIGHT BINGE EATING?!?!?!?!?!”. Well firstly, you need to understand what is causing it.
It can be a combination of these 3 factors:
1 – It could be that you didn’t eat enough through the day (skipped breakfast completely/forgot to eat/got to busy at work)…..whatever the excuse is, you didn’t eat enough and by the time you get home you are ravenous. So much so you DON’T care the consequences, you just want to eat!
……but then you keep eating and struggle to stop and before you know it, it’s 10pm and your fridge and cupboards contain half the amount of food they did 3 hours ago!
2 – Next up, it could be because you are bored. Boredom is the root cause of many problems. Our brains are so OVER STIMULATED by constant bombardment of images and information 24/7 that ANYTIME we need to calm the mind and switch the brain off, we get agitated and irritable and look for a “replacement” to entertain us. Our brains are addicted to mindless entertainment and will very quickly find a replacement to fixate on to keep the grey matter over stimulated and buzzing.
So food it is. And because our brains are in such a bored and addicted state, we tend to choose over processed and addicted foods to keep us busy. These foods FEED the chemical addiction in our brain and it just becomes a vicious cycle
3 – Lastly, your diet is too limiting, restrictive and as boring as all hell! Yes, this is another “boring” problem our western world has created.
We are made to believe that food should be so restrictive and restrained in order to get good results. This unfortunately upsets all other functions & behaviours. We need a variety of real natural and wholesome foods to give us all the nutrition we need.
Regrettably we have been brain washed to believe that obsessive controlled restrictions on food is what will bring us results and make us happy…..WRONG! Maybe briefly, but it all comes crashing down HARD when the binging cycle starts to appear!
On top of these 3 factors, our lives are so stressful & pressured nowadays that food has become our “release” and our “reward”.
Ever told yourself……
“I worked so hard at work today, I deserve this”
“My boss was being such a prick, I deserve this”
“My partner shows me no affection, I deserve this”
“I feel so lonely, I deserve this”
“I had such a crappy day, I deserve this”
“I worked my ass off to meet my sales target, I deserve this”
(….and this is a crazy one but we do it anyways) “I did such a hard session at gym today, I deserve this”
We convince ourselves that we deserve a reward with food for the hard challenges we face in our daily lives. The reward (food) is most times a version of highly processed, sugar and sodium loaded, artificial & calorie dense foods that can be easily bought at a take out, drive through, shopping isle….or even online!
Huge corporations have made accessibility to junk food so easy that whenever a midnight munchie comes knocking, it is “easy” to satisfy.
Processed food has a very satisfying and comforting element by guaranteeing us the instant satisfaction of the “feel good” factor.
Now this reward doesn’t last for very long. It normally only last during the time that we are physically involved in the pleasure activity of eating. It’s after that things go pear shaped. The feeling of disappointment, disgust and discomfort comes over us like a wave and very soon we are in the middle of a mental turmoil of abusive self talk and hatred.
“Why did I do this again?”
“Why can’t I stop this cycle”
“Why did I eat so much?”
“Why did I choose the wrong things?”
“I am useless, I can’t even control my eating”
“I feel gross, I am such a glutton….”
Sound familiar? I know I have use each one of these phrases (and more) during my struggle with late night binge eating.
Sadly the above cycle I explained will just keep repeating itself on a monthly, weekly or even daily bases. Like any addiction or bad habit it takes real effort to break and overcome late night binge eating.
Here are my 10 steps you can start taking today. This is how to overcome late night binge eating for good!
- MAXIMIZE your fresh veg and fruit intake. Packed with HUGE amounts of nutrition, fibre and water, it will FEED your body what it’s craving. We think we eat “fresh” but believe you me, write it out and you will see it’s hardly half the recommended requirement. Aim to make at least half of your main meals consisting of fresh and raw veggies & fruit!
- Throw out all and any food that is poison to your body. If you think it is being wasteful, well I hate to tell you, you have already wasted the money on buying it…….And if you do choose to eat it, you have wasted your health. JUST DON’T BUY IT IN THE FIRST PLACE!!!! There is ALWAYS a healthy alternative and I have a bunch right here for you to try out!!!
- Have healthy alternatives. WE ALL get munchies. This is really normal and when you are consciously trying to break the habit of late night binging, having healthy alternatives to reach for is good planning.
TIP: If you find yourself craving chips make sure you have veggie sticks with my creamy hummus dip. And if a healthy alternative doesn’t appeal to you……guess what…..YOU’RE NOT HUNGRY YOU ARE BORED!
- SWITCH OFF YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA 2-3 HOURS BEFORE BED! Actually when you sit down to dinner turn your phone on silent. I get that some of us are on call and have responsibilities to our family but you have NO responsibility to social media!
- Eat your food in a mindful and relaxed way, WITHOUT a screen in front of you!!!!! I can’t remember when last I have seen people eat a meal without a screen (cell phone television or tablet) around them!!! Nothing wrong with taking a snappy of your gorgeous plate, but then put your phone AWAY and go and sit down and be conscious of what you are eating.
- Meditate or create quiet time for at least 10min in your day where you are forced to do nothing. I CAN’T EMPHASIZE THIS ENOUGH HOW IMPORTANT IT IS FOR STRESS RELEASE, REDUCING DEPRESSING, REDUCING ANXIETY AND OVERCOMING OTHER MENTAL AND EMOTIONAL CHALLENGES. Sadly most see this as a “waste of time”……..let me let you in on a secret…..it is the most powerful and life changing action step you can do for yourself, and it’s free!
- If you find yourself blaming others for your actions like: “well, my family are always snacking and eating sweets and crisps at night, it’s hard to say no”…….REALITY CHECK! No one is forcing you to do anything! YES it’s hard to say no when everyone else is doing it, but guess what?! The final choice lies with you, only you. And you need to decide how bad you want to change.
- Inform your friends/family/co-workers etc that you are following a healthy eating lifestyle and their support would be appreciated. If they can’t support you in that, they don’t deserve you in their life!
- Have an evening activity that will stimulate your brain productively and effectively (binge watching series or playing games on your phone has been scientifically proven to decrease mobility, communication, brain function and basically turn you into a blob……that’s not what you want to be right?).
TIP: Activities like painting, reading, drawing, writing, singing or playing a musical instrument is seen as “work” when in actual fact it is essential creative skills for your brain which helps you to unwind and remove your thoughts from the stress and pressures of your day. Even taking the time to cook a meal with thought and love has shown to have a huge positive impact on one’s mental & emotional well being.
- Hydrate yourself. Thirst is often mistaken for hunger, and hunger is often mistaken for boredom. If you are always well hydrated with water, you are less likely to experience cravings, especially at night. BUT if they do come around, have a wide variety a flavoured herbal teas to enjoy or make my delicious cocoa drink that satisfies any sweet tooth and has some serious nutritional benefits!
Eat a variety of fresh, natural whole foods is vital! Variety is key because it will feed your body what it is needing. Bland and boring is NOT what you have to do to look incredible! I use to believe that and trust me, only when I embraced the abundant plant based life, did things really change for me.
Read my story right here WHY I CHOSE THE FITNESS ROAD LESS TRAVELLED!
There is no secret pill, powder or potion out there that will help you to stop late night binge eating…..it’s a mental shift. It’s daily action steps and it’s conscious choices.
In a world with we are made to believe that everything should be instantaneous and “easy”, it’s no surprise that more and more people are struggling with late night binge eating.