The Easiest Way to Avoid Nighttime Emotional Eating

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Sleeping PuppiesI didn’t post anything for you yesterday and here’s why:

First off, I’ve gotten into a writing schedule that I want to break. I’ve been writing my posts at night, which leads me to staying up late and not always getting enough sleep and hey, I’m focused on living a healthy lifestyle here and rest (good rest!) is a part of that.

Besides that there’s the fact that you need your sleep if you are in the process of losing weight. Your body needs to replenish itself and in addition to that, if you don’t get enough sleep at night the next day you can end up irritable and turn to food – not getting enough sleep can make you feel like you’re hungry for food or you want food for comfort when actually you’re just not getting enough sleep. ;)

Nighttime Emotional Hunger, eek!

Secondly, and the main reason I didn’t write last night is because I was feeling the urge to emotionally eat. It wasn’t a super strong urge because remember I’ve had a major shift in my mindset, but when I get tired or anxious I can still feel the feeling of those old habits cropping up sometimes.

Just to note, coping with and being aware of your emotional hunger doesn’t end after you graduate your 12 weeks with Shrink Yourself like I did, you still need to remain conscious of how you’re feeling and recognize if you’re getting into a danger zone where you could sabotage yourself. The difference for me now is that I have the tools to work with to deal with my emotional hunger in a rational way.

The Boogie Man (a.k.a. Anxieties and Worries)

For myself, nighttime is the most tenuous time when it comes to those old feelings of emotional hunger and maybe you can relate to this, something I’ve done a lot in the past: felt great all day, was treating myself with healthy actions and respect but at night I would get into self-sabotage and overeating/binging. Have you ever done that?

The reason is because nighttime is when my worries and anxieties tend to pop up and if you’re an emotional eater you know exactly what I’m talking about. When you feel like that what do you do if you haven’t learned how to cope with those feelings? You turn to food to make yourself feel better. (check out my 12-week series on emotional eating for more on that)

Get To Bed!

So, you know what the easiest solution is? Go To Bed. Yep, that’s it. I know, it sounds too simple, doesn’t it? Well maybe I’m the only one like this but I tend to push myself to the limit to get as much done as possible each day and that has included pushing myself late into the night.

It’s easier to start letting those daily stresses pile up at the end of the day and get into some stinkin’ thinkin’ (worry, anxious thoughts, etc.) and it’s much better if you can just get to bed and give yourself a break, besides the fact that you’ll be avoiding nighttime emotional eating to try to make yourself feel better.

And you know what the best thing is if you can relate to what I’m sharing here – everything always looks better in the morning. It’s true, and if you can just get yourself into bed earlier each night and give yourself that break that both your mind and your body need, then you can start over fresh the next day.

Another Tip – Working Out Tires You Out (eventually)

Something else I do to avoid nighttime emotional eating is save my workouts until the evening because they give me that natural high and tire me out, but if you do this you need to workout early enough so that you’re not doing it right before bedtime – you most likely won’t feel tired immediately after working out because if you’re working out correctly you’ll feel that natural high from the endorphins in your system and your workout will energize you. So just work out at least 2 hours before bed time if not earlier than that.

And if you find you cannot sleep once you get to bed, journal your emotions. You can use your emotional eating coping skills and journal out how you’re feeling to put your mind at ease so you can get to sleep. After journaling just put on some relaxing music that will turn itself off after 15 minutes or so and get comfy.

This is what I did last night and that’s why you didn’t get a post from me – I couldn’t stay up any longer and risk getting into that cycle of sugar addiction because I was thinking in those old ways, that food was the solution to the stress I was feeling, which it never is.

A Healthy Lifestyle for You, and Me, too!

My goal is to stop that late night posting and stick to a healthier schedule. Sure, I thoroughly enjoy giving you these free tips here at Fearless Fat Loss but I have to take responsibility for my own health; after all, my intention is to bring you information and inspiration to lead your own healthy lifestyle so that you lose weight, get fit, and keep that weight off, which is the same thing that I intend for myself – health in mind, body, and spirit, which includes adequate rest.

I cannot that you live a healthy lifestyle if I’m not doing myself so it just means that I’ve got to stay on top of my self-care, just like you do for yourself. ;)

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  • http://nutritionfitnesslife.com Susan

    I get the munchies if I stay up to late or just feel sluggish, so it’s something I have to be aware of.

    The snacking was at its worst when I used to work the night shift. Oh, I never want to return to the eating style I had when I worked nights! It was nonstop snacking, I think partly to try to stay awake and partly because my body’s rhythm was messed up!

    Good for you for not giving in to the old eating habits last night!

    Susans last blog post..When Desserts Lost Their Mojo

  • http://www.fearlessfatloss.com JoLynn Braley

    @Susan,

    I can relate to that! And thanks for your support, I really appreciate it.

  • http://marksalinas Mark Salinas

    I tend to munch when I am bored, I have found that the evening workouts are a good cure for munching. The downfall for me is that I usually end up falling asleep by 1am….my Boot Camp class is at 5am and sometimes I put an hour run prior. Sleep is hard to come by. “remaining conscious of what you eat” is the key.I love the post so many good tips!

  • http://www.fearlessfatloss.com JoLynn Braley

    @Mark,

    I really like working out at night, too, it helps me a lot.

    It sounds like you exercise a lot, running and then Boot Camp at 5am? You could enter a triathlon, wow! And thanks for your kudos!!

  • http://www.workinonmyfitness.com sue

    you are right on in this post, sleep is definitely important, and i agree with the nighttime workouts. :)

    sues last blog post..My Newfound Obsession with Tea

  • http://www.staceyshipman.com Stacey

    It’s terrific that you have such awareness around your habits! Another thing I find extremely helpful to ease nighttime (or anytime, really) stress/anxiety is gentle yoga stretching. If my head is “full” at the end of the day, hitting the sheets without some decompression only makes the worry worse. Yoga helps me release tension and relax my body for sleep. I also find that at times when I’m prone to the stress eating, yoga makes the hunger disappear. Drinking a glass of water does, too.

  • http://mamastaverna.com/ Lulu Barbarian

    Very interesting post. I’ve found that since I, too, suffer from the nighttime anxiety syndrome, I’m best off eating a fairly substantial meal somewhat late in the evening (around 7:00-7:30).

    I know this isn’t what most weight loss experts recommend, but it helps me sleep, and a good night of sleep is priceless in so many ways.

    Also, when I don’t get a good night of sleep, I notice that I am unusually hungry the next day.

    Lulu Barbarians last blog post..Beef with Green Beans (Moschari me Fasolakia)

  • http://www.onecrumb.com/ Yongho Shin

    I used to blog at night, also, but now I sleep early and blog in the morning. (sleep at 11:00, wake up around 6 or 7) I become much, much more productive and less distracted, plus I’m more alert. I should’ve done this sooner.

    Yongho Shins last blog post..Buying A Gym Subscription? 10 Important Questions

  • http://www.youravon.com/mferguson1172 Michelle

    I have gotten into a habit of eating at night. I get up in search of comfort food. I know it isn’t healthy. It concerns me. My husband thinks it is just an excuse for eating more. I told him it isn’t an excuse, that it is an EATING DISORDER.

  • http://www.youravon.com/mferguson1172 Michelle

    I already tried to send this. I have a Night Time Emotional Eating Habit. I
    need to chat with some other people about how they deal with it. Or, I need to find a really good book on how to deal with it. If anyone can help me, please post here.
    Thank You!

  • http://www.fearlessfatloss.com JoLynn Braley

    Hi Michelle,

    I totally understand your nighttime emotional eating because I’ve done that before, too.

    What’s really really helped me is doing my work outs at night because they give me that natural high – doing 30 minutes of cardio on my treadmill gets those endorphins flowing.

    Something else that has helped me is a program called Shrink Yourself – it’s an online program that helps you heal your emotional eating. I wrote a 12-week series on it when I did the program myself that you can check out.

    Dr. Gould also wrote a book called Shrink Yourself, which you could read. I personally would recommend the online program over the book because you must take action in order to learn new skills and move away from the food abuse but if you can do that on your own with the book then check it out. :)

    Let me know if you have any other questions!