Do you regularly sneak out of your bed at night to grab some snacks or you tend to eat a lot of food late in the evening, after you’ve already finished all of your regular meals? Do you try to soothe your insomnia by food, have inexplicable hunger cravings or you’ve simply got used to nibble or chew something during late night hours, because you feel nervous or just on loose? If any of answers are positive, you might suffer of night eating disorder or just don’t have a proper eating routine.
Night eating is often connected with weight gain, not to mention other consequences of it. If you recognize the repetitive pattern of eating late or during the night, knowing you don’t actually need all those extra calories, you should consider dealing with the problem, before it gets you obvious consequences. No matter if you pay attention to it at all or this unhealthy habit really bothers you, it is something that needs to be managed.
Fortunately, there are ways to deal with it successfully.
Am I a night eater?
First of all, you should ask yourself about your late night eating excursions, in order to determine which type of glutton are you. There is a possibility you suffer from binge eating disorder or you are insomnia related night eater.
There is also very common situations with not so deep background; many people have developed habit to eat sweets or snacks late in the evening, while watching television or simply relaxing. After a busy working day is over, many people feel at ease and indulge themselves with snacks their body don’t need. We are sure you are aware a habit of eating late in the evening or during the night is bad for your health. Your body prepares to rest; your organism would be functioning in a different mode during the night. Your digesting system would still work, of course, but not the same way it would during activity. To put it simply, the night is a time to sleep, not to eat.
So, let us try to find out whether you are a binge eater or you suffer from night eating with syndrome or have bad habits. The main difference between binge eating and night eating is that the first is always associated with large amounts of unhealthy food, secret eating and sometimes other complications, such as bulimia. People who suffer of binge eating disorder take a large amount of food in one row. The food is usually junk, unhealthy, too sugary, to fat, to salty etc.
Night eaters who wake up, eat something and then go back to bed usually have a few bites of some food, a small bowl of cereals, a chunk of chocolate and so on. They need it to manage their sleep; the cause might be an emotional issue connected with sleeping disorder or a pattern of habits, developed long time ago. The most common situation is, however, the case you simply don’t mind what and when you are eating. You just feel it would be nice to have something delicious late at night or before bed.
So, there are three main possible variations of night eating. Each of the cases requires further examination and management. If you frequently eat at night and that is something that concerns you (and it should be), let us try to find out a way to manage the problem.
Many people that try to lose weight, frequently confess to their nutritionists or therapists they actually ingest a lot of unnecessary calories during the night, even if they are able to manage their meals throughout the day.
Breaking the habit
Fortunately, breaking this bad habit could be done over time. However, it takes a lot of your efforts and commitment to manage it successfully. In most cases, people who eat at night do the same thing for long periods of time. It usually starts to bother them if they gain weight or experience other health problems. That is one possible and most common case.
Whatever it may be, eating at night is simply not good. It badly affects your digestive system in the first place and your overall body functions. It actually disturbs your sleep (even if you feel it soothe your sleeping problems) and it would most likely get you some extra pounds. As for the emotional side, you would most likely start to feel guilty and bad.
How to do it?
First of all, you need to identify the cause. Check out for binge eating disorder and night eating syndrome symptoms. The two disorders are often connected with emotions, they lead to severe depression and anxiety, making am enchanted circle that requires a psychiatrists’ help.
On the other hand, night eating could be caused by boredom or hunger. If your daily intake of food is restricted, you might feel extremely hungry in the evening or even during the night and try to recoup all of those missing nutrients. Determining the primary cause would make it easier to resolve the problem.
A healthy routine
A well-structured plan of your daily actions, rest time and meals would help you a lot to manage your night eating excursions. Try to make a well-balanced meal plan, adjusted to your daily obligations, in order to spread daily food intake in a way you don’t feel excessive hunger, especially in the evening. If your body gets all the needed nutrients throughout the day, your organism won’t feel the urge to get some snacks in the evening. A good sleep routine is essential to manage the situation. Your body needs the time to recover and relax; a good quality sleep is proven to help people lose weight and suppress the need to have high calorie food. Set up your eating and resting times and you are on a way to stop craving for night meals.
Changing your eating habits could be very helpful, not just to manage the problem with night eating, but to your overall health. Never miss the breakfast and include healthy viands in every meal. Do some research on healthy eating tops, there are many good advices how to compose your daily menu and keep energized, healthy and feel good.
Getting rid of junk food
Usually, people who tend to eat at night go for extremely unhealthy food; they grab too sugary, too fatty and too salty food. You could do a very simple trick to stop yourself from eating at night. Clean your cupboard of all the junk food supplies. Just simply remove them, to reduce the temptation. If you still want to treat yourself from time to time, than choose healthier viands and combine them with those less healthy. For example, small amount of cereals with honey, fruits with some chocolate spread and such. It is not recommendable, but it is much better option. It could help you adjust to your new routine and eventually stop having any midnight snacks.
Support and distraction
No eating disorder is an easy issue to deal with, no matter of the type. It is advised to seek for professional help. A therapist could help you determine the case and treat the initial problem. Don’t feel bad if you need emotional support, everyone of us does from time to time. Cognitive behavioral therapy is proven to be very successful with all types of eating disorders. Emotional support from friends and family could also be helpful, so don’t hide your problem from them.
Try to relax and distract yourself with other things. In lot of cases, the urge to eat at night comes from anxiety and stress; food comes as an emotional compensation. Try relaxation techniques, such as meditation, yoga, physical activity, warm bath and so on. Also, find something to occupy your mind, instead of having some snack.