Night Eating Turns Habit Eating

By Robyn Priebe on 06/12/2013
12 Flares Facebook 4 Twitter 7 Google+ 0 Pin It Share 1 LinkedIn 0 Email -- 12 Flares ×

Behaviors that cause night eating | Breaking your night eating patternsDo you struggle with night eating?  There are lots of patterns that can set the stage for eating the majority of your calories at night:

  • chaotic work schedules – resulting in being poorly fed during the day
  • not having access to food during the day – either from a lack of meal planning and/or shopping
  • poorly balanced meals earlier in the day – lacking major nutrients such as carbohydrate, protein, or fat in meals/snacks
  • dieting during the day – intentionally cutting calories, resulting in being overly hungry by the end of the day
  • emotional triggers that come to a head by the day’s end
  • a lack of meaning, purpose, joy in your daily activities – resulting in eating being your primary source of fun/entertainment

No matter what the original trigger was for night eating, it can eventually morph into habit eating.  You no longer need to have any of the above triggers occur to have the desire to eat at night.  Breaking habit eating is a tough thing to do.  Changing ANY well-developed habit is a tough thing to do. To increase your chances of success with developing new healthier habits, try the following tip from the book The Power of Habit written by Charles Duhigg, which is, maintain the same cue and reward, but change the behavior. Let’s run through a few examples, shall we?

Habit #1 – eating in front of the TV at night

  • Cue: sitting in your favorite chair in living room, with TV on
  • Behavior: bring food into living room every commercial break
  • Reward: mind-numbing, zoning out

New Habit:

  • Cue: sitting in your favorite chair in living room, with TV on
  • Behavior: Listen to 2 minutes of guided meditation app during commercial break
  • Reward: mind-numbing, zoning out

Habit #2 – eating in the car.

  • Cue: getting in your car
  • Behavior: snacking while driving
  • Reward: entertainment during a boring commute.

New Habit:

  • Cue: getting in your car
  • Behavior: listening to audio books
  • Reward: entertainment

Habit #3 - eating chocolate mid-afternoon

  • Cue: afternoon break time at work
  • Behavior: eat chocolate
  • Reward: stress reduction via opioid production

New Habit:

  • Cue: break time
  • Behavior: step outside in the sunshine or spend a minute or two doing some deep breathing
  • Reward: stress reduction via opioid production

What habit are you looking to change?  Can you think of a new behavior to practice that would give you the same reward?

5 Responses (Add Yours)

  • alina says:

    Thanks for the info, I want to tell you that specially at nighttime I had more food as compare to noon time, now it became my habit and from last six months I am facing the problem.

  • Diet Elixirs says:

    I sometimes turn on some relaxing meditation music from youtube and just sit there listening to it. Sometimes is so relaxing and great that I continue for half an hour instead of 5 minutes.

  • […] Here are some tips for breaking a night eating habit. […]

  • […] Here are some tips for breaking a night eating habit. […]

  • I always liked a bowl of cereal, yogurt and fruit at night. Then I added choclate and now if I do not have this I wake up in middle of night and just over eat carbs and sugar.

    then of course not hungry in the morning. This was under control for decades — then my life took a major dive in health and emotional wellness. Yes, I eat because at night there is nothing else do to. I do not watch TV and I am lonely . Now I feel out of control and scared about my weight gain.

    I have not said these things before everyone says ” Oh you look fine. Don’t worry you need the comfort now”. But I know I am out of control. And the overweight drains my energy and self esteem.

Leave a Reply

12 Flares Facebook 4 Twitter 7 Google+ 0 Pin It Share 1 LinkedIn 0 Email -- 12 Flares ×
Ask a Question
×

Ask Us Anything!