Do you eat a lot in the evening, especially after you’ve had dinner? Or do you find yourself snacking at night even when you’re not hungry? Or do you have no appetite in the morning? If your answers were all yes, then you may be suffering from binge eating disorder. But, you’re not alone.
Many people, especially those who diet, also suffer from this condition. There is some debate whether this habit is physiological or psychological.
Overeating at night is bad since it leaves minimal time for food digestion before you sleep. It can not only affect one’s weight, but it also causes poor sleep. If you’re looking for ways to stop binge eating at night, you’ve come to the right place. This article will enlighten you on how to stop binge eating at night time.
What’s Binge Eating?
Binge eating is a serious condition which can affect an individual’s quality of life. It’s sometimes known as BED (Binge Eating Disorder). It is overeating or consuming abnormal amounts of food while being unable to control yourself. It’s more common in women than in men. Statistics says that BED affects 2% of people but I believe that in reality that figure is much, much higher.
People who suffer from BED struggle with emotions of disgust and guilt that are caused by depression, stress, or anxiety. When not managed early enough, BED causes weight gain, lack of self-esteem, among other negative things.
It’s not known what exactly causes this condition, but several factors are thought to influence its development. They are;
- Biological- factors such as hormonal imbalance, genetic mutations, as well as gender are often associated with food addiction which causes compulsive eating.
- Social and cultural- BED is common in people who suffer from trauma or persons who’re always criticized because of their weight.
- Psychological- mental disorders like depression can often cause this disorder. Also, low self-esteem, as well as body dissatisfaction, are potential triggers.
- Eating even when you’re full
- Gorging when isolated but eating normally when others are present
- Stress and anxiety which is only relieved through taking food
- Never feeling like your stomach is really full no matter how much food one consumes
Ways to Stop Eating at Night
Identify the Cause
To manage this disorder, you need to understand what really causes it. Many factors cause nighttime eating. Some people have this habit because of overly restricted daytime food intakes, while others eat just because they’re bored. Knowing what exactly the root cause is, will help individuals develop effective strategies of dealing with BED moving forward.
Eat Regular Meals
Skipping meals puts people at risk of developing this condition. Experts advise that you aim to consume three balanced meals and an afternoon snack daily. Doing that helps individuals feel less hungry at night. If you eat less at night, you’ll often feel hungry throughout the day. But, if you’ve eaten a large amount the night before, taking breakfast will be hard since your stomach will still be full.
Understand Your Hunger
Sometimes people eat at night because they are genuinely hungry. But, other times, nighttime binge eating is caused by emotional hunger. You should identify whether their nighttime eating is caused by physical or emotional hunger for them to deal with this problem.
Emotional hunger often presents itself as sudden cravings. You’re likely to crave sweet or salty foods. Physical hunger, on the other hand, builds up gradually and usually results when someone starves himself/herself of calories.
Don’t Take Too Much Sugar During Dinner
People who consume too much sugar at dinner time increase their chances of craving for it some few hours later. If you feel like indulging in a sweet dessert, try to eat fruit or something savory. If you must have a dessert, try to make it a homemade one. Commercial desserts have excess sugar and chemicals in them. Do your best to avoid drinking fruit juices, milk, sweetened coffee, coke or any caffeinated soft drink, tea, etc. after 4 p.m, as these can all affect how well you sleep.
Use a Routine
You may experience overeating because you’re not eating enough during the day. If this is the case, then getting into a routine can help. Structured eating and sleeping time will help individuals spread food intake hence feel less hungry at night. Also, good sleep is very essential in managing your food intake. Lack of sleep and the resulting tiredness can cause higher intakes of calories and poor diets. It’s, therefore, crucial that you have set periods for eating and sleeping.
Remove Your Trigger Foods
If there are certain foods that you crave at night, try not to buy them! If you have some left, throw it away or finish it quickly then avoid repurchasing it. If it’s not there, how can you eat it? Individuals should substitute their snacks with healthier options.
Keeping yourself hydrated is an effective strategy for stopping this habit. People can drink water at night as it prevents cravings. Some people may substitute it with other drinks like herbal tea such as chamomile to aid sleep.
If you’re doing all these things and still find yourself hungry, a healthy snack or dessert won’t hurt. Also, consider seeing a specialist, especially if you struggle with emotional eating. Therapists provide support, encouragement as well as education.
Love and hugs