‘WHY IS FOOD HARDER AT NIGHT?!’ This is a question I asked myself nightly for years! I was clear-headed, “strong,” and calm around food during the day, yet, like clockwork, I would spiral into food chaos every night. Sound familiar?
5 Reasons Why Food Is Harder At Night
It took me a long time to understand why, and the reason may not be what you think. (HINT: it’s not the food you eat at night!)
Reason 1: Not eating enough during the day
… catching up with you as you slow down. Why this makes food harder at night: Your body is smart. It will find a way to meet its needs. So, if you’re restricting yourself during the day, your body will be in a severe deficit by the end of the day. If you no longer have the energy to resist your body's hunger signals (because you just had a full day), that primal hunger will kick in and cue *food*.
Solution: Practice adding more nourishing meals and snacks throughout the day! (Struggle with hunger and fullness? Join the hunger and fullness masterclass, and I'll teach you how to reconnect to these cues!)
Reason 2: Unprocessed emotions
… coming up as you slow down. Why this makes food harder at night: You’re busy during the day and may not be tuning in to your emotions, but when there is nothing left to distract you from them, your body gives you two choices: address the emotions in a healthy way or cue *food*.
Solution: Work on addressing (and healing) the emotions.
Reason 3: Lack of pleasure
… manifesting as you slow down. Why this makes food harder at night: Pleasure is a biological need. If you don’t experience pleasure in your day, your body will look for pleasure through other means and cue *food*.
Solution: Practice adding in other forms of pleasure throughout your day. Need ideas? Click HERE.
Reason 4: Mental restriction
… coming back to getcha as you slow down. Why this makes food harder at night: If you are eating throughout the day, but there are rules/judgments around what you eat, how you eat, or the amount of food you eat, you will never feel satisfied. Your body will continue to see food as a scarce resource. When you get home at the end of the day, your body will act as if you are restricted and will do what it can to compensate for this deficit: cue *food*.
Solution: Work on healing your relationship around food.
Reason 5: Unmet needs
… asking to be met when you slow down. This makes food harder at night: We have three biological needs: functional, social, and emotional. If we are not meeting all three of these needs, your body will try to satisfy them on its own: cue *food*
Solution: Get curious about what unmet needs you are trying to meet with food, and then work towards meeting those needs through healthier coping mechanisms. Examples:
- Functional: prioritize eating enough and eating the food you enjoy
- Social: add in more social connections, set boundaries, or change your environment
- Emotional: heal emotions, process trauma, or add in emotion regulation skills
As you can see, there are so many triggers for nighttime eating, and (spoiler alert) none of them have to do with the actual food you’re eating at night. Any subtle physical, mental, or emotional restriction during the day can cause a nighttime binge. Identify and address your triggers, so you don’t have to worry about what happens when you come home to a pantry full of food.
Feeling hopeless in recovery? Dive Into The Podcast:
- 099. A Bulimia, Binge Eating, and Alcoholism Recovery Story; ft. Renae Saager (@renaesaager)
- 093. A Binge Eating Recovery Story; ft. Elena Kunicki (@elenakunicki_rd)
- 088. An Honest Story of Bulimia Recovery; ft. Jetty Nieuwenhuis (@trujetty)