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Suggestions for Night eating

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    Sooo… as I have stated I am in recovery from Anorexia (1 year or so in ). I have this new annoying habit of eating at night when I am usually not hungry. Usually ice cream and PB. I don’t know why my mind says GO TO KITCHEN NOW. I am seriously 90% of the time not hungry. I know that this is sort of a F U to the ED and probably some residual backfire from the restriction. BUT, I am really ready to stop this and the weight gain isn’t helping. I know I know, I shouldn’t be focused on the weight, but the behavior itself is what is frustrating me. I need to eat more satiating foods during the day and I am super freaken close to finding a meal plan for active women. That could be bad for me though! Any suggestions?

    • This topic was modified 10 years, 8 months ago by BauerPower.

    This isn’t a suggestion, but I do the same thing! I eat right before bed even when I’m not hungry. I also wake up and go to the kitchen and eat even though I might still be full.

    However, my temperatures are getting higher, and i’m having less raynaud’s episodes (my hands used to be constantly purple). I am still gaining weight (about 9lbs in 2 weeks), but it looks like mostly muscle with a little fat/water weight. (but I’m naturally really slim and 19, so that might be why I’m not gaining a ton of pure fat.

    Yesterday my evening temps got up to 98.7! A first, but I was running around previously due to a water balloon fight! I have energy now to do that, :)! Today at 11:30am my temp was 98.4, so I’m seeing a lot of improvement!

    What are your temps? With you being in recovery for a while, Your weight could be muscle/organ! Is it visible weight, or just “on the scale” weight? Have you been exercising lately?

    Maybee you could list improvements you’ve noticed that could counteract the thoughts associated with the weight gain.

    Again, sory this wasn’t really a suggestion, but Mabey learning to think positively about the improvements can lessen stress and stop the night eating when not hungry. Maybee the stress of weight gain caused your cortisol to rise and caused you to subconciously eat more? I’m just throwing out a bunch of random explications, suggestions.

    • This reply was modified 10 years, 8 months ago by godschild.

    Hi BauerPower, I think you said what you need which is to eat more satiating foods during the day. Are you satisfied after your meals? Are you eating starch, salt, and sugar? You could try and make one meal more satiating at a time. For example, tackle breakfast first or an after workout meal or snack. Add a little more starch and see what that does, maybe add a cookie after or a bowl of ice cream? Maybe having ice cream and PB as a snack? You mentioned that you are bothered by the behavior but is there any chance you still feel like eating ice cream is “bad” and that you feel guilty? I remember Matt said something about that creating more cravings (or not getting rid of cravings) in DietRecovery2.

    Also, another thought is to take a break from exercise. Did you take a break in the initial stage of recovery? For me, I notice that I am hungrier after I exercise even if it’s just for a little bit. I would try your best not to stress too much about the night eating as your body may be telling you it wants something. Maybe it needs a little more fuel to help it heal your body and keep everything functioning. Again though, if the timing of the eating is what bothers you than I’d eat those foods at different times of the day and try and make your daily meals and snacks more satiating. I here you on having a meal plan but for me I think it would ruin the freedom of eating whatever and listening to my body and being social and not thinking if what someone’s cooking is on my meal plan.


    godschild, I have only taken my temp once just to see and it was 98.6. The weight is visible, but I also have a lot of muscle… I have always had muscle but since adding in more weight training I have seen a change in weight… 6-10 pounds.

    Saisrice, I am going to implement these ideas starting today. I never took a break from exercise… which is insane considering I was emaciated and jumping around like an idiot. I was only allowed a certain amount of time, but still. I am not sure if I see icecream as bad… I don’t even crave it! I just feel the need to eat it… really frustrating.

    I am going to work on real meals, instead of grazing. Thanks guys!


    I understand that this sort of situation is upsetting, because I’ve been there.

    I don’t want to say anything that could be interpreted as triggering, and apologize in advance if you interpret my advice as such.

    The reason why you currently engage in this night eating has a variety of variables. First of all, you repeatedly engage in this behavior likely because you have attached a (negative) emotion to this behavior. Because you respond emotionally to the habit, you have increased the likelihood that the behavior will be performed again by attaching emotional significance to it. Some find relief from habits such as these through attempts to remove emotion. You fear the night eating, which leads to the inevitable, and results in stress and unhappiness.. For example. Your emotional response keeps your higher brain focused on the behavior.

    The best way to beat the behavior is to simply stop. Easier said than done, I know. But the behavior has formed a habit that is neurological in nature, and its important to realize that YOU are in control. Your lower brain sends the signal to run to the kitchen, you respond with emotion, and the neurological pathways are formed and easier to repeat. A way to stop habits is to recognize them for what they are, a neurological habit of the lower brain that you have the power to resist in the higher brain. Now, if you do respond to the urge, do not fret!! Simply think of it as a lesson to practice detaching emotionally for the 10% of the time you really are hungry.

    Third.. Eat more during the day. You don’t need a meal plan. Simply increase the size of your current meals or snacks at the time of day that you are the hungriest.

    So in summary:
    1. Stop attaching emotional significance and responding emotionally to the night eating.
    2. Eliminate the habit by realizing that you have the power to control your behavior. When the urge arises, stop emotional and physical response, and the urge to respond to the neurological habit will dissipate.
    3. Eat until you are satisfied during the day.


    OmNomNom, thanks! I will try and implement these.


    Haha, I’m no expert that’s for sure.. But seriously, it was tough not to respond to the urge once it hit.. But passively ignoring the urge has helped and I rarely engage in this habit now!

    Brain over Binge may help. I know your issue associated with a history of anorexia.. But the book delves into the science of eating!


    @BauerPower- Here’s a post on Night Eating Syndrome on YourEatopia. Might be of some interest to you.


    Thank Rob. I have definitely read about that and thought maybe it could be an issue but my symptoms just don’t fit. I don’t meet the criteria. I really think it has to do with still restricting (not calories but types of food) and some type of ED rebellion. I am working on bigger meals and really eating what it is that I want. Thanks!


    Okay, so weird discovery. The past two nights, no night eating..YAY. But I woke up this morning to workout and got through about half and was so weak and really had to push to get through. I personally don’t eat before I work out in the morning because I am not hungry and have only a set amount of time before work. Could the night eating be a way for me to get through my workouts on an empty stomach? I’ve never felt that shitty during a work out in a looong time.


    BauerPower, as you know, hunger cues can be way off during ED recovery – even a year in. Have you considered eating first thing in the morning regardless of hunger? Remember that during the night if you don’t eat then you are going for 8+ hours without eating, which means that by the time you get up in the morning you will likely be in a catabolic state. So it is very reasonable and, in fact, a very good idea for you to eat right away. If you work out without eating first then you are probably just exacerbating the catabolism, which is definitely not what you want during ED recovery.

    Also, your wording implies that you have a ritual of exercising first thing in the morning. That sounds very counterproductive during ED recovery. You might want to reconsider.

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