Can You Relate to This?
- After a long day at work, do you plop down on the sofa and spend the rest of the evening in front of the TV eating until you go to bed?
- Do you have trouble sleeping?
- Do you restrict food, diet during the day, or skip meals, only to come home and eat whatever’s available? Then, feeling guilty about your poor food choices, do you continue to eat to drown out the guilt?
- Are you a poor meal planner? Do you often have very little in the house to make a healthy meal with so you tend to eat bits of this and that, eat in front of the refrigerator, eat food right out of the jar, or standing up with little awareness you’re doing so?
- When you cook, do you taste and snack so much before the meal that you’re no longer hungry when it’s time to eat?
- Do you get up in the middle of the night and eat whatever you find in the refrigerator?
If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, you may suffer from Night Eating Syndrome (NES).
Night Eating Syndrome is a source of unwanted weight gain for many people. The most important thing you can do is to try to identify the trigger or triggers that set it off and eliminate or find better ways to deal with them.
Here are 7 Tips to Deal with Night Eating
1. Make sure you eat regular meals and snacks throughout the day. Don’t skip meals.
2. If mindless munching after dinner is the problem, designate in advance what you will snack on in the evening, and put it on a plate. After you’ve had your snack, make the kitchen off limits in the evening.
3. If you do keep getting up to look for food, make yourself some herb tea sweetened with stevia. Just the act of making something, having something in your hand, and having something to sip on while you watch TV or cook will keep you busy.
4. If you find yourself getting up in the middle of the night and you’re truly hungry, designate certain foods for that time. Have some yogurt, a couple of whole grain crackers, or an apple. You could even put these bedside, that way you’re not tempted to go to the fridge and keep eating.
5. If you always eat or binge in a certain chair, you may associate that chair or even a certain room with overeating. To eliminate that cue, you may need to sit in a different chair, watch TV in a different room, or rearrange the furniture.
6. When you find yourself going into the kitchen looking for food when you’re not hungry, ask yourself, “What am I really looking for in this food?” “What do I really need in this moment?” You may be bored or lonely. Find something else to keep you busy. You may need to watch less TV in the evenings, join a support group, call or get together with a friend, or take a class.
7. If night eating is your favorite form of stress management, try doing yoga stretches and deep breathing, or listen to relaxation or guided meditation CDs instead. Spend some evenings attending meditation at a spiritual center or a church.
At first, doing these things may feel awkward or a bit uncomfortable. You will need to give them enough time so that they eventually become as comfortable as overeating is to you now.