Evening binging is a common challenge that can leave you feeling frustrated, defeated, ashamed, and playing exhaustive mind games the next day.
Our clients often talk about feeling a lack of will power when it comes to nighttime cravings. They feel either success or failure from evening to evening based on whether they were able to "fight" or "resist" the urge versus "giving in". Maybe you can relate.
You are not alone AND it's possible with a few realistic suggestions, it might not be as difficult as you think to calm those cravings.
If you've listened to us before, you know we believe that cravings (evening or otherwise) are actually your body's brilliant way of trying to communicate something to you. Your body and spirit are asking for something from that craving. So instead of fighting hard to resist the urge, we invite you to soften your approach, put your guard down, listen in and be curious.
While we know from recent studies that sugar is as addictive as cocaine and cravings can be so elusive & mysterious, we want to offer you 4 practical solutions that will begin to help calm those evening cravings without relying on will power or keeping busy to avoid the "urges."
We meet a lot of women who believe that being "good" means eating less during the day, restricting calories and skipping meals and that this is their ticket to weight loss. On the contrary, this is not a sustainable (or fun) way to lose weight long term and it also LEADS to nighttime cravings and binge eating. If you skip meals or restrict calories or graze throughout your day, this will likely contribute to nighttime cravings. Here's what we invite you to do instead: eat three nutrient-dense meals a day. Do not skip breakfast or lunch. Instead, be intentional about eating a breakfast and lunch rich in proteins and friendly fats and nutrient dense fruits & veggies. Your body requires nutrient-dense food throughout the day to stabilize blood sugar and balance hormones. Without this approach, your cravings will creep up on you at night.
Eat foods that are full of friendly fat. What are friendly fats? Coconut oil, avocados, avocado oil, nuts, seeds, olive oil, grass-fed butter, ghee, and pasture-raised eggs to name a few. Friendly fat helps regulate your blood sugar and is an essential ingredient for slow burning fuel that keeps you satisfied for much longer periods of time throughout the day. If you adhere to the fat-free, low-fat lifestyle, this idea will throw you, but trust us on this. Like the hundreds of women we have coached in our signature Reset program, you will likely be AMAZED at how quickly your cravings subside when you add in friendly fat at every meal AND you'll lose weight! What's not to love about eating more friendly fats while also achieving those weight loss goals?!
Here's what one woman just shared yesterday in our RESET community regarding adding in more friendly fats:
"I have done a few resets and resisted adding too much friendly fat to my meals. Fat is bad has been ingrained in me. This time, at each meal ensure I check to see if there is enough fat. If not more is added. Then I noticed that I am not having problems with cravings and 'm staying full until the next meal."
For more ways than we can count, sleep is of utmost importance for our bodies to function properly. As it relates to cravings, when you lack sleep, you will crave sugar & carbs. Why? Sleep deprivation and stress alters the hormones related to hunger and cravings. When you are sleep-deprived the hormone ghrelin drives hunger up and the hormone PYY that makes you feel full, goes down. Instead of reaching for sugar at night, consider how your sleep habits contribute to your evening cravings. Head to bed earlier to get more rest and downtime, and notice how your cravings shift.
Nighttime eating and binging often a reflect the stressors we carry over from our day. Whether it's unprocessed emotions, tension from the day's work, stressful & challenging circumstances or you're just plain busy...they all produce contraction in the body. A tightness. And naturally, what do you desire at the end of the day? To unwind. To release. To seek relaxation and pleasure. To find ways to slow down and numb out to counter-balance the contraction and stress. Because of this, you need to find ways to relax and slow down your life in non-food ways.
First way to slow down is by sitting and eating at the table. Not standing over the counter. Not in the car off to the next thing; not over lunch checking emails or lounging on the couch completely checked out. Instead be present with your meals. Sit and eat. Get out of the perpetual rush and move into the slower pace for just 5-10 minutes while you eat. Try it.
Second, when your evening cravings have cornered you, consider this. You are not after the food itself - the ice cream, the wine, the brownies, the cookies - it's not what you're after. You're actually after the feeling you get from it. What is the feeling you hope to achieve by sinking your teeth into that craving?
Often times it's the feelings we describe above. The good news is that there are other things you can co that offer the same feelings to unwind and to release and relax and get present with how you're feeling. Chances are, what you really need is to slow down and find nourishing ways to relax after the days stressors as well as spend some time reflecting on the day. It's not always easy but we've seen time and time again that slowing down is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself as it relates to your cravings.
Here's a few examples:
- Soak in a bath with relaxing essential oils or take a long hot shower.
- Make some warm tea and relax. Light a candle and get quiet.
- Get cozy and read a relaxing book.
- Snuggle with your kiddos and ask about their day. Be present to them.
- Turn off devices and create more space for connection and intimacy with your parter.
- Find time to exercise and/or get fresh air during the day.
- Journal and do some deep breathing.
If you find yourself still going after the wine, the ice cream, the chips...then slow down WITH your craving. Put the food in a bowl or on a plate. Grab a utensil and a napkin. Light a candle and sit down with it at the table. Create an experience with your craving and be present with it.