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How Do I Stop Overeating at Night?

by Sarah Philipp

What's more disheartening than giving mindful eating all you've got all day, then feeling like it all comes unraveled at the end of your day?!

So, how do we overcome emotional and overeating at night?

Remember the two questions we always want to ask ourselves when it comes to mindless eating or eating for reasons other than hunger are

  1. Have I prioritized what I need physically (hunger, hydration, breath, and sleep)?

  2. Have I prioritized what I need emotionally/mentally (time in nature, natural light, time with people who bring me joy, leisure, and of course more)?

*Note, I’m not talking here about intentional indulgences. An intentional indulgence is usually something we are moving toward. Emotional eating is usually about trying to move away from something. Stress, feeling overwhelmed, and other kinds of discomfort.

If we find we are lacking in any of the above areas (and 9 out of 10 times we are), then let’s tend to that as quickly as possible. Down that large glass of water, pop outside for a deep breath, have a veggie, or just sit down and close your eyes for 30 seconds. If you are unsure, try at least two of these things FIRST. No exceptions.

When we’re hungry, dehydrated, anxious, tired, etc, we become masters at justifying what it is we think would make us feel good in that moment. This is true of course of anything food, substance, or otherwise. We’re more likely to act out with eating, shopping, etc.

Exactly what to do about evening eating and snacking STEP BY STEP:

  1. Know what’s happening? Awareness. Did you have dinner? What about lunch? How has hydration been today? Have I taken any breaks today? Gotten outside at all?

  2. Distance. Give yourself time to make the choice you want in the bigger picture rather than react in the way that is keeping you STUCK.

  3. Try at least two things first. You’ll notice vegetables as the only food item up there. This is because we don’t typically crave veggies when we’re not truly hungry. We usually find ourselves wanting something sweet or salty. If you ask yourself “would __(bell peppers, carrots, broccoli, etc)__ be acceptable right now?” And the answer is no, chances are, you aren’t actually hungry.

  4. Know that all cravings end eventually. I know it feels like it’s never going to let up while it’s happening, but it will. Think about how you want to feel after the craving and discomfort lets up rather than what feels easy/familiar in the moment.

More mindful eating resources:


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