How to Stop Binge Eating Alone At NightMar 02, 2022
You're heading home from work or class and all you're thinking about is...
Having a binge.
If you're anything like I was, you might even be ordering that takeout while on the train home so it'll be at your home as you get home - no waiting around! There's that sense of urgency.
You rush home and grab your binge food, make sure you're alone and dig in!
There's this high, this excitement that comes with it all. There is nothing else in your mind for these sweet, sweet moments other than the bliss of the binge. Everything fades away - all the stresses, your body disgust, your emotional pain, your weight loss plan.
Eventually you come to. You realise how much you've now eaten, doing those calorie calculations in your mind and begin to freak out. But you keep eating way beyond fullness. You know you're feeling uncomfortably stuffed but you keep going.
Once you finally stop, it all dawns on you: "What the fuck did I just do? ANOTHER binge?? How am I going to exercise this off?"
You're alone at night binge eating again. You really want to stop but just don't know how to break this vicious cycle.
This was me for 10 years so I really do get it. One of the most common factors I see amongst my clients is bingeing happening alone and at night. In my decade of binge eating I never binged in front of anyone. Out of my hundreds of binges - I managed to hide myself away for all of them. Whether it was locking my bedroom door so family/flatmates couldn't get in, or waiting until everyone had gone to bed to sneak back out to the kitchen. When I lived alone bingeing became so much easier because that barrier of having to hide from people was gone! Great for my binge eating, terrible for me and my social life.
So how do you stop binge eating at night and alone? Here are my tips:
NOURISH TO FLOURISH
Going right back to basics here but it matters! Make sure you start your day with a big, satiating, delicious breakfast. Eat plenty throughout the day so your body is not in a deprived state (as that is one driver of binge eating). Don't skimp on your lunch either! I would even encourage you to allow those binge foods (typically high-calorie, high-sugar, high-fat types of foods) during the day. Stop trying to be so 'good' all day only for things to fall apart in the binge at night. I like to say, 'spread the pleasure' throughout the day.
WATCH YOUR STRESS
While physical and mental restriction are key reasons behind binge eating, so is stress! That high during the initial moments of a binge is soothing! It relieves stress. So instead of letting your stress build up throughout the day unchecked only for it to explode into a binge in the evening, take care of yourself throughout the day. It doesn't have to mean 1 hour of meditation every day (though that's cool). I like to make it easy and quick by doing little self check-ins every hour or so - put an alert on your phone if you think you'll forget. Take a minute to assess your stress levels. What do you need? A couple soothing breaths? To go easier on yourself? To let yourself know you're actually doing great at your job? To shake your stress off with a quick dance or jump around? Find what works for you.
HEAL AT THE ROOT
I could go on about how to stop the urge to binge but we all know that urge sometimes feels unstoppable - like you're possessed! So how about heal at the root so that urge to binge stops showing up as much. Take each binge as a learning opportunity - find out what's going on and how you could improve bit-by-bit. I'd highly recommend checking out my 30 Day Reboot course where I teach you exactly how to get to the root and stop binge eating for good.
RELEASE THE SHAME
Why do we binge alone? Mostly because of shame, right? Who wants to mindlessly binge on 1,000s of calories while confused and maybe appalled friends/family watch? That loss of control that comes with bingeing is embarrassing so why would we want to put that on display? Here's the thing - shame thrives in secrecy. The more you keep your bingeing a secret, the more shame there will be around it. Start releasing that shame by taking small steps towards opening up. It could be telling a friend about what you're going through, or letting yourself eat your binge food in front of others (it doesn't have to be during a binge). It could be asking someone to help distract you during the urge to binge.
BREAK THE HABIT
Sometimes we've solved for all the reasons behind our binge eating - you're no longer cutting calories, you're allowing all the foods, you're taking care of your emotions and stress. But you're still going straight to bingeing at night on your own. What gives? Sometimes it can just come down to habit. After months or years of repeating this pattern, it may have become solidified into a habit. Good news though! Habits can be broken and new ones can be created! It takes awareness (noticing your patterns as they're happening) and choosing a new path. How would you LOVE to spend evenings? What would it look like? How does it feel? Can you practice this one time this week (try it when you don't feel like you'll binge). Show yourself that pattern. Keep trying to repeat it to normalise it. On a binge day - this is the challenging part - notice the urge coming on and do your absolute best to repeat your NEW pattern. Prove to yourself that you can break this habit at least once. Get that first win under your belt and things will start getting much easier.
Those are 5 ways to stop binge eating at night alone. Try each out one-by-one! As mentioned, for way more in-depth help on this check out the 30 Day Reboot course that's already helped 350+ others!
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