What's your late night binge personality type?
We've all been there before - It's late at night our day is done, and although you should be getting ready for bed, you find ourselves staring deep into the cupboards and fridge like a hungry raccoon searching for some tasty treat. Before you know it, you are in full-blown late night binge mode, stuck without an off switch.
And every night after you come out of your food coma you tell yourself, tomorrow I am going to start fresh, eat healthily and stop eating at night. Night after night like a crazed wild animal, you find yourself in the same familiar place, wishing for a way out.
When it comes to late night binging there are a few reasons you might find yourself helplessly wandering into the kitchen night after night. Understanding your late night triggers and how to deal with them is the first step to putting a stop to the late night madness.
Late night binge trigger number one.
You are actually hungry.
Often after a late night binge, you head straight into damage control mode and immediately make a plan to change and start fresh in the morning.
The feelings of guilt and shame from overeating on junk the night before; drives you to enter restriction mode the following day. In doing so, you either decide to fuel yourself off of coffee and small sugary snacks. Or, if you do make healthy choices like opting for fruit or salad, you often don't eat enough.
Either way, you end up under fueled and undernourished, which sets the stage for another late night feast.
As humans, we rely more on a set volume of food, rather than a set amount of calories over the course of the day and week. This is why almost always people end up putting the weight back on after a period of strict dieting and food restriction. The body is programmed to take in a certain amount of volume of food, so when we cut down on that amount, it's just a matter of time before the body finds a way to make up the difference.
This is why what you eat matters so much more than how much you eat.
We are designed to eat a fair amount of food in a day, eating a lot of food is normal. The reason we are built this way is that; in the past, in the wild, our primary sources of fuel mostly came from plants. Plants, in general, are low in calories, so we need to eat lots of them to get enough calories in a day. We are designed to seek out and eat large volumes of food to make sure we are getting enough for our survival.
Now here comes the problem
Eating a chocolate bar might be high in calories compared to a bowl of broccoli. However, your body doesn't register calories; it registers weight. So even though you ate a lot of calories, your body is still saying we need more food, because that chocolate bar has taken up hardly any space at all in your stomach.
If our body is judging fullness based on an amount of food, we can easily eat much more in calories by eating things like candy, cakes, and chocolate before really feeling full.
You can see now how eating foods that are high in calories and low in volume like most processed junk, can begin to add up. Over time you eat way above your required amount of daily calories day after day and the body has no choice but to start storing all those extra calories as fat.
However, if you choose to eat whole foods, fruits, veggies, whole grains, and legumes, you can eat plenty in volume till you are full and still be very low in calories, which will help you lose weight and maintain a healthy weight in the future.
Because whole foods packed with water and fiber, they fill you up and keep you full for more extended periods. They are also packed with nutrients, giving your body what it needs most. This prevents you from always needing to be on the hunt for more.
Instead of trying to get thin quick; and or trying to get rid of guilt by resorting to restricting your food intake.
Aim to eat lots of whole foods and fill up on foods high in fiber and water. The more you incorporate these healthy filling foods into your day, the less room you leave for late night snacking.
Take the quiz NOW!
And find out what's your late night binge personality type.
Make sure to download the guide after you take the quiz to learn how to deal with your triggers and overcome your late night snacking.
Late night binge trigger number 2
You are just doing as you have always done.
When it comes to why we do the things we do, the majority of it comes down to habit. Almost all the things you do in a day, from brushing your teeth to driving to work to late night snacking, all start from a formed habit.
These habits work on autopilot and are in place for a reason, to help you navigate your life with more ease.
Once you learn and repeat a behavior a few times, your brain says
"ok this is something we do a lot, so from now on we will set it on autopilot mode, so you don't have to think about it."
Imagine if you didn't have this feature, and every time you woke up, you had to learn to do things all over again. Brushing your teeth, tying your shoes, driving a car, knowing your way to work, etc. It would demand so much time and effort, and frankly, nothing would get done.
Just like everything else, at some point during your childhood, I'm willing to bet that after dinner, dessert became the norm and even possibly a bedtime snack was to be expected.
Over time, your brain formed a habit around this. Now despite having a big dinner, your mind says
"hey I know you are full, but it's dessert time, and we always have dessert"
And then like clockwork a few hours later it's back again
"hi again, just wondering if we are gonna have a bedtime snack now."
Take a look at your nighttime routine and ask yourself if your brain is acting based on a deep-rooted habit. Ask yourself, am I really hungry, or is my brain just expecting to be fed.
Habits are very seldom broken and are better replaced with new habits. Knowing that this is a trigger for you can help you to be prepared with alternative options for snacking. Avoid buying junk and keeping it in the house; make sure to have plenty of healthy night time snacks ready to go.
Habits don't change on their own, but being aware of your habits is the first step in changing them.
Late night binge trigger number 3
Are you masking your emotional needs with food?
When we live a busy life, it's hard to stop and pay attention to the way we are feeling. After a long hard day when you finally have a chance to sit and relax, that's usually the time that your neglected emotions start to surface.
Perhaps you fought with a coworker, or your boss yelled at you all day, maybe you argued with your partner, or maybe you are reminded that you are still single.
Feelings of anger, sadness, loneliness, etc., are definitely uncomfortable, and wanting to get rid of them as quickly as possible is extremely normal.
One of the ways you have learned to do this is by burying your feelings with food. Highly processed foods high in sugar act like a drug, giving you a sense of pleasure and temporarily numbing out your emotional pain. Unfortunately, this does not work for long and is far from being a permanent solution.
After your happy rush is gone, you are back to feeling as you did before, only this time usually worse. You now have the added feelings of guilt and shame for choosing to binge in the first place.
Facing the underlying issues that cause negative emotions in the first place is not always easy but necessary to fully begin to heal.
Try seeing these emotions as signals letting you know that something is not working for you, and look deeper to see what they might be trying to tell you.
Perhaps you are in the wrong job, and that's why you are having a lot of conflict at work. They may be telling you it's time to make a career change.
Perhaps you need more socializing, and it's time to reach out and meet new people.
Perhaps you haven't forgiven yourself for something in your past, and it's now time to do so.
Next time you find yourself heading to the kitchen late at night, take a look at how you are feeling. Ask yourself, am I really hungry, or am I just looking to feel better?
Instead of reaching for food, reach for the phone; call a friend, or seek out support from others. Talking it out rather than trying to bury it, is the first step in healing.
Check out the video to learn more about your late night triggers.
Late night binge trigger number 4
It's way past your bedtime.
Sleep is one of the most essential things you need as a human, and it is often one of the most overlooked.
We live in a world that has us running off caffeine and sugar and pushing ourselves to do more and more every day. After a long hard day, when you should be getting ready for bed; it can be easy to find yourselves getting sucked into the world of Facebook and Netflix. Although you are already beyond tired, you find yourself, saying just one more episode or only one more hour.
However, by doing this, you are now cutting into your much-needed sleep time, and your brain starts to get cranky.
Being that our body runs on energy, and since you are depriving it of the much-needed sleep, it so desperately wants.
Your brain says,
"look I know you are really enjoying watching this show, and you need to stay up to see what happens. But if you are not going to go to bed, you better get me a snack before I die"
(Note, your brain may not be as dramatic as mine.)
So off to the kitchen you go, in search of a late night pick me up.
Next time Netflix asks "are you still watching" I highly suggest you say no and get some shut-eye, and make sure before you start looking for sugary treats you ask yourself - Should I be sleeping now?
Getting enough quality sleep and making it a priority is a sure way to keep you from late night binging, not to mention it will do wonders for your overall physical and emotional health.
Now that you know some of the triggers behind your need to binge at night.