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Tips to Stop Binge Eating at Night to Support ED Recovery

August 11, 2020 Hollay Ghadery

Trying to stop binge eating at night isn't solely a matter of willpower -- especially when you've suffered or are suffering from an eating disorder. I know firsthand how distressing this behavior can be for those of us who are struggling to take control back from this food-centric disease, but the tips I am about to share can help.

Stop Binge Eating at Night By Understanding Why You're Binging

Understand, even with these tips, you will have to work on mindfully thinking about your motivations about why you want food. The tips alone aren't going to cure you, and sometimes, even when you are thinking as mindfully as you can, you still might overeat. That doesn't mean you've relapsed or failed. It means you are human. Whether it's because you're tired, emotional, stressed or legitimately hungry, everyone eats too much sometimes.

You can read my last post to find out more about why binge eating happens. For now, let's move on to how you can stop binge eating at night.

How to Stop Binge Eating at Night

Eat Enough During the Day

This may seem obvious, but for those of us in eating disorder recovery, properly fueling our bodies is not always easy. For me, there was a time when I prided myself on how little I could eat during the day. It's no wonder I'd get so hungry at night. Sometimes, I could push my way through the evening without eating, but more often, I'd binge, purge, regret, starve, repeat. 

I've had to learn that if I don't want to eat at night, I need to eat enough during the day. When I do this, I am never hungry at night. I may get cravings for food, but I am not truly hungry. 

Ask Yourself What You Really Want

Food is one of the ultimate sources of comfort, and we often overuse it when we could, more healthfully, have used another coping mechanism. When you feel like eating when you know you're not hungry, ask yourself what you truly want.

  • Are you lonely or sad? Call a family member or friend.
  • Are you stressed? Have a bath or go for a walk.
  • Are you tired? Go to bed.
  • Are you bored? Read a book. Watch some TV. Distract yourself with a healthy distraction that is not food.
  • Do you really want some comfort from ingesting something? Then have a cup of herbal tea or fruit-infused water.

Understand: I am not suggesting you starve yourself. If you are hungry, you should always eat. What I am suggesting is that if you are not hungry and are simply trying to use food to fill the void, to try something else instead.

As I wrote in a previous blog, sometimes distraction is a powerful tool to get you through difficult urges. Yes, we should always reflect on why we feel the way we do, but after that, in my experience, it is good to move on to something else. There is a difference between reflecting and dwelling, after all. So, once you have determined why you are feeling like eating when you're not hungry, acknowledge it, and then move on from it. 

This tack has worked for me for years, and it continues to. 

Do you struggle with binge eating at night when you're not hungry? How do you cope? Share in the comments. 

APA Reference
Ghadery, H. (2020, August 11). Tips to Stop Binge Eating at Night to Support ED Recovery, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, September 27 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/survivinged/2020/8/tips-to-stop-binge-eating-at-night-to-support-ed-recovery



Author: Hollay Ghadery

Hollay Ghadery is a writer and editor living in Ontario, Canada. She has a book of non-fiction set to be published by Guernica Editions in 2021. The work dives into the documented prevalence of mental health issues in bi-racial women. Connect with Hollay on her website, Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

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