The Morning After Overeating at Night

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Springing Back The Day After Binge EatingBinge Eating at Night

When you think “hangover,” you probably think booze! Waking up with that famous pounding headache, stomach flips and vision that is no longer 20/20. Your hair even hurts.

While it does have some similarities, “The Food Hangover,” which results from bingeing or overeating at night, runs a bit of a different course. For me, it looks a little something like this:

  • Throbbing in my temples (Dear Food Overdose…)
  • Rocks of undigested food in my gut (Thank you, Not Listening to My Body…)
  • Flu-like aches and pains all over my body (Flu season is…over?)
  • Balloon-like bloating (Oh…so this what “full” feels like…)
  • Hours of self-loathing (WHY did I eat that last piece…of…everything?)
  • Massive, uncontainable, horrifying amounts of GUILT (There will be zero mirrors in my future today…)

Our Choices Surrounding Eating at Night

Have you ever traded a girls-night-out on the town for an edible-night-in on the couch? I have. No matter how much I blamed it on the weather, my clothes not cooperating, or a stuffy nose I imagined I had, I knew I was trading in my plans for a date with my one true love: food.

Even though “he” never stood me up, he always influenced me to have one too many, and I woke up with The Food Hangover: a tightly woven cocoon of guilt that trapped me for a few moments, a couple of hours, an entire day.

My food hangover from overeating at night held me hostage while I weighed my options:

  1. Continue to belittle myself for eating at night…again.
  2. Get up, shake it off, take an honest look at my eating behaviors, move my body, and ultimately…move on.

3 Self-Care Strategies After Eating At Night

1 Don’t Punish Yourself, Nourish Yourself

The best way I kick The Food Hangover is to start my new day with something nutritious. Now, you may be thinking, “Right…like I’m ever going to eat AGAIN let alone first thing this morning after last night’s food overdose.”

Well, you may have spent the majority of your evening feeding your emotions, but there is a good chance that your body is craving some nourishment.

Punishing yourself by not eating breakfast (and/or lunch) means that you could potentially be setting yourself up for another food hangover tomorrow. If you restrict during the day, it’s as if you are rolling out the red carpet for a binge at night.

2 Calm The Gut Guilt

Something I’m still trying to grasp the concept of is that I cannot, no matter how firmly I punish myself, turn back time. It happened. We are stuck with the aftermath of our decisions. It’s how we turn the aftermath into a new equation for next time that really counts.

If you choose option two (getting up and shaking it off) you can feel what your body needs you to feel, locate the reason for its discomfort, breathe it out, and (like we said above) move on.

No, it’s not quite this simple, but if we boil it down, food is far less complicated than we give it credit for. We are the ones who put the pudding on the pedestal. And we are the ones who can take it down.

3 Think “In Between” Not “All-Or-Nothing”

As an all-or-nothing thinker, my justification has always been, “Well, you’ve already ruined the day as far as food goes. You might as well finish out the night with a bang.”

I forget that I have the power to say, “Actually, today hasn’t been one of my finest eating days, but I am no longer hungry, and there is no need to fill myself further.”

In fact, just the other night I did a little tug o’ war with some chips in my kitchen. I had just come back from dinner and I knew I wasn’t hungry, but I was bored. I took a chip, and then I said, “No, thank you,” as I bagged the rest up and put them away. This was an awesome moment. One point Jace. Zero points boredom eating.

Winning these small victories makes me feel like Superwoman. I avoided a Food Hangover by evaluating my body and channeling my boredom elsewhere.

Each time I say, “No,” to unnecessary late-night temptations, I am saying, “Yes,” to ME and “Yes,” to tomorrow. Now, who wants to say, “Yes,” to tomorrow with me?


At Green Mountain at Fox Run we find many women who struggle with overeating also struggle with eating at night. To find out if our binge & emotional eating program is right for you, contact our Program Advisors for more information.

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12 Responses (Add Yours)

  • Marsha Hudnall says:

    Another great post, Jacki! Thank you again and again for sharing your experiences as you find your way out of the struggle with binge eating. You give hope to many, as it should be because as you demonstrate, it IS possible to get to a better, much more manageable place where you can live without obsessions with food and eating.

    • Jace says:

      Marsha,

      Thank you so much for commenting. I love being able to share my journey. Hopefully, I can help others while continuing to heal myself, and the idea that I can spread some hope, is the best thing of all!

      Thank you again, Marsha!

  • Harriet Krivit says:

    Me? I say…o.k. you’ve got this condition/addiction whatever name a person chooses to call their’s….but immediately: “what can I do right now to make myself more comfortable…physically in particular. (which I do). As I never chose to have this affliction, guilt holds no place for me anytime/anywhere.Then I try to keep the memory of how awful this feeling is and how not wanting to feel that way will help keep (my) eating spasms down to a minimum.

    • Jace says:

      Harriet,

      Thank you so much for commenting and sharing your thoughts with us. “Guilt holds no place for me anytime/anywhere” what a powerful and incredible thing you have written! I strive to get to that point and I thank you so much for sharing these words with our readers and me.

      Jace

  • Me says:

    I v just done it. I can over eat with whatever I find out. Usually is not mine but my roomate’s. Right now is was : Fitness cereals, oats, wallnuts, peanuts, raisins, goji berries, sunflower and pumpkin seeds mix. It was in quantity of breakfast till lunch probably ;-(
    It is 4am.
    I didn’t plan it, was just 4 the toilet.

    • jackimonaco says:

      I’m really glad that you found this blog and that you felt comfortable sharing your very difficult moment with us. What an incredible and brave thing to do. This is exactly what this blog is for! Overeating is something I personally never plan – it just happens. And there are so many emotions that come along during and after. In my opinion, making sure that we don’t judge or guilt ourselves for overeating right after we have, is so important. That’s why it’s so amazing that you typed out your feelings here, on this blog, to help get some of those emotions out into the open. Thank you for your bravery and for sharing a very real moment with all of us. I hope that you can feel proud of this amazing step you just took.

      Jace

      • me says:

        Well, 1st of all thank u 4 ur noce words. I do not never plan it. I was just at the bathroom, then in the kitchen to drink some water. ANd then I started to taste one thing, then an another…We have only healthy stuff at home but at the night I am not able to control the quantity of the food. And I like to eat much more. I do not know why….usually when I am busy and tired and can sleep, it is fine. But once I do not have the good conditions around…like do not live alone, have some problems at work,….

        • jackimonaco says:

          Thank you so much for commenting. I completely understand feeling out of control with the amount of food you eat. I, too, have struggled with eating much more than I planned or that I thought I would. It can be frustrating when we repeat these behaviors – especially when we don’t plan to.

          But you are not alone! Others have the same struggles, including myself – especially when it comes to dealing with problems at work or conditions at home. Food can be very comforting (and frustrating!) during these times.

          I’m not a professional, I just speak from personal experience, so I’m not sure whether you do or do not have an eating disorder, but if you’re struggling with your relationship with food, it could be a possibility. When it comes to eating disorders sometimes we need more than willpower to help us. I absolutely did – which is why I attended Green Mountain.

          It may be helpful to see someone who can assess and recommend the best direction for you to go. When you’re ready, you could try going to edreferral.com to look for someone in your area who specialized in eating disorders. He or she may be able to help you further discover how you can work on finding a comfortable balance with food and your eating behaviors/habits.

          I hope this helps!

          Again, thank you so much for sharing with us. I’m glad that you found this blog and are using it as safe place to talk about this topic!

          Jace

  • hh says:

    hi , this is my first post anywhere ever .
    i had issues with my looks for so long , i went on a diet when i didn t need to and i ended up with 12 extra kilos and no longer got my period.
    i lost most of the weight , still have maybe 3 kilos to lose but i decided not weigh myself anymore
    the binges never stopped , few weeks ago i had liposuction but stayed on a very strict diet hoping to get even better results.
    yesterday i binged all day long and today i feel sick and sad and specially worried about my liposuction results.
    any advice as to stop doing that ? i know i need to eat more on regular days but i m so afraid of gaining weight again .
    thank you

    • Marsha Hudnall MS, RDN, CD says:

      Hi, hh. I’m posting this response from our binge eating specialist at Green Mountain:

      I applaud you for reaching out in this way. Many like you suffer in silence and don’t get help. Jacki’s blog on responding to a binge is very good advice, but I fear you may have more going on here. You may have developed an eating disorder. Your focus on your weight and shape has led you to extreme dieting and medical procedures to control your weight. It has resulted in a binge response often triggered by feelings of deprivation. This is a biological and psychological response and is helped through a pattern of predictable and nourishing meals. You may or may not be able to normalize your eating on your own. I recommend you find a psychotherapist or other health professional in your area that specializes in eating disorders to rule out a serious eating disorder. The focus will be more on your eating behavior, rather than the food itself.

      Kari Anderson, DBH, CEDS
      Clinical Director
      Green Mountain at Fox Run

  • Fay Leavitt says:

    I started binge eating at age
    12 As a latch key kid waiting for my parents to get home from work. I found sugar and bread and milk a very effective fix for my satisfaction and no one was there to stop me and no one knew. As a poor child I had watched my mother eat this concoction and refer to it as poor mans pudding. My mom lived through the depression years after WW 2.
    Much of what we do is learned behavior and when it works it becomes comforting then habitual. I don’t use that combination but it is always sugar salt and fat in some form! I have come to understand that this combo creates a chemical response in my brain and has become addictive to me. I am now 65 and living the consequence of my poor decisions. I am a type 2 diabetic I weigh 327 pounds and take 14 pills a day plus insulin. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t suffer physical and emotional pain. I worry about losing my sight, a leg , a foot, or toes or kidney failure or heart desease. All of my women family members on my mothers side also morbid obese and diabetic. They all either died of stroke or heart attack or cancer which I am at high risk for! Emotions are very very hard to conquer and the longer you wait the harder. I have had to soul search why such a big hole in my heart and soul? Through much reading and self journaling I have been able to come to that understanding so now it is a matter of how to handle fighting addiction.
    It isn’t easy and it never will be but through journaling my emotions( I call it purging) and much prayer and time in Gods word it has helped me but can still be very overwhelming. Food addiction is emotional, psychological and chemical and we are always around food. Other addictions can be removed from your home but you have to have food to live.
    It is important to find what has created the hole in your heart and work daily on feeling the feelings not burying them in food choices! One day at a time! One prayer at a time and one emotion at a time!

    • Jace says:

      Fay,

      I can’t thank you enough for not only reading this post but sharing such an intimate story with us. The more we share with each other, the more connected we become and the more we come to understand that we are NOT alone.

      Reading, self-journaling, and prayer are great self-care tools and wonderful strategies to use along your journey.

      I say the same thing about food… it’s the one thing you literally can’t live without!

      Thank you again for sharing with us. I hope that you continue to read our blog posts to find inspiration and make connections. I’m so glad that this post resonated with you.

      Here’s to taking it one day at a time!

      Jace

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