Top Reasons for Binge Eating at Night and What You Can Do About It
We have all been there. You've been good all day: you had a smoothie for breakfast, salad for lunch, maybe a handful of nuts for a snack and then 5 pieces of pizza, a whole bag of chips and a bag of sour patch kids for dessert.
Binge eating at night can be a major challenge for many people and the causes can range from hormonal imbalances, stress, emotions and of course poor dietary choices.
Here are a couple of the top reasons for binge eating and what you can do about it:
Not eating enough during the day. This one is a bit of a given, but if you aren't eating enough calories during the day, your body will want you to make up for it in the evening. Make sure you are not under eating. If you are trying to lose weight, look at the quality of the food rather than the quantity. Try keeping a food log and make sure you check in with yourself. I would not advise women to eat less than 1600 calories per day.
Not eating a proper balance of protein, fats and carbs at main meals. Protein and fats help to slow down digestion and stabilize blood sugar levels. Aim to have a protein source at each meal and snack and avoid eating carbohydrates on their own. This is especially important at breakfast.
High stress levels. High stress levels can lead to over eating at night. Cortisol (the stress hormone) causes blood sugar levels to be unstable, causing dips and rises in energy levels throughout the day. When we hit those dips, we feel tired and want to reach for something sweet or starchy.
Habits. Sometimes our night time eating can come from habits. I know for me I always want something sweet in the evening. For others, maybe you feel like you need a snack if your partner is having one, even though you aren't hungry. Or maybe you make it habit to have a snack and watch your favourite show. Whatever it is, be mindful. There is nothing wrong with having a treat or snack at night, just tune in and do it mindfully.
Go for a walk after dinner.
Take deep breaths and do some stretches. Legs up against the wall for 10 minutes works wonders!
Shut off social media at least one hour before bed.
Get in your 7-8 hours. Not enough sleep can trigger cravings for sweets so make sure you are getting enough shut eye!
Night Time Cravings Busters:
If you are truly hungry, eat! Take a second and listen to your body. Did you eat a proper dinner? What did your day look like? You can throw out the old notion of not eating at night. As long as you eat something with some protein and fat you should be okay. A sliced apple sprinkled with cinnamon and almond butter, greek yogurt sweetened with stevia and berries or rice crackers with hummus and avocado are all good options.
A mindless eater at night? Try a healthy chai with some steamed almond milk, stevia and cinnamon or try my healthy hot chocolate or turmeric latte.
Binge eating can often be the result of going on and off diets and restricting caloric intake. Let go of the fad diets and learn to be at peace with food. Remember, the guilt around food is worse for us than the actual food so learn to let go. Food will always be there.
I hope this was helpful and always here for questions if you need me!