Are you even binge eating? What if it’s just… eating?

If you're recovering from overeating, you may assume that eating in the middle of the night counts as overeating. But if you don't eat enough during the day, night eating might not be overeating. It might just be EATING. 

I try to make a strong case for being kind to your body by eating when you're hungry, no matter what time of day it is. And if you think I'm crazy, just read the post and decide for yourself. <3

This is a story on how to stop binge eating — and how to know if this even applies to you in the first place. Here we go…

It was 11pm on a weekday evening, and I was in the middle of an argument with my boyfriend. After some time, he left the house to go for a walk. And once he left, I had a big craving for Chex Mix. 

Chex Mix! We all know how this goes…

Or do we?

You see, I knew the desire was emotional. After all, I was in the middle of a fight and it was the middle of the night. But then I had a different thought: what if I actually needed food?

So I heeded my own advice:

I started by doing a classic Stop, Drop, & Feel. I set my timer for 3 minutes, and told myself that after the timer went off, if I still wanted the Chex Mix, I could have it. I was honoring Permission to Eat.

Then, I hit ‘start’ on my timer, closed my eyes, and dropped in. I was feeling how I expected: sad, heavy, depressed, exhausted…  My mind wandered a lot. That was also expected.

Then, when the timer went off, I still wanted the Chex Mix. And I was about to get up and grab it.

Then I remembered something:

In my upcoming workbook on overcoming sugar addiction (oh yeah, get ready, get excited, it’s coming soon!) I talk about looking at your eating through the eyes of a compassionate friend.

Would your friend think you were eating enough? And if not, maybe the desire to eat isn’t overeating. Maybe it’s just eating.

So I sat on my bed for a second before getting the Chex Mix, and I ran through what  I ate that day: a breakfast burrito (kind of late in the morning) and then veggie soup for dinner (kind of late in the evening) and… woah, that was it.

What is that, roughly a thousand calories? Definitely not enough. And if a compassionate friend had a look at my day, she’d tell me I was practically starving myself and would tell me to EAT.

So I ate!

I ate my Chex Mix with gusto and glee. I went hunting for the dark brown bits (which we allll know is the best part) at the bottom of the bag. It was pure FUN and enjoyment.

And here’s the kicker: the next morning, I woke up feeling LESS bloated than the day before. How on earth?! The day before my pants were fitting pretty snug, which I believed to be water, and I guess I was right, because that water retention was gone.

I gobbled down all that carby, snacky goodness in the middle of the damn night, and I woke up feeling LESS bloated than the day before. What gives?

My personal theory is that eating with enjoyment and pleasure does really good things to your nervous system.

As you’ll learn in my workbook on sugar addiction, many awful things happen when we eat food under stress. (And not just job- or relationship-related stress, but the stress of hating ourselves for eating foods that we don’t want to be eating yet we end up eating anyways!!)

Eating with joy helped that midnight Chex Mix do a world of good instead of a world of hurt.

Let me put it another way:

If I had not stopped to do the Stop, Drop, & Feel (which probably broke my momentum enough for me to think rationally) and I had not taken an objective look at my day, I would have judged myself for wanting Chex Mix at midnight.

And if I had eaten the Chex Mix without wanting to be eating the Chex Mix, it would have stressed me out. Because after each bite, I would be promising myself it would be my last bite, expect it wouldn’t be. And then I’d hate myself for continuing to reach my hand back in the bag for more.

I’d be busy intellectualizing it all, too. I’d be yammering on and on (in my head) about how eating at midnight is the worst possible time to be eating, and that nothing good would come of it.

All of this negative self-talk and stress would have made my body, well, stressed! And when we’re stressed, our digestion worsens. If I had eaten that Chex Mix while hating and judging myself for eating it, I probably would have woken up feeling gross and bloated again.

Fortunately, I didn’t. And not only did I save myself from that unwanted bloat, but I got to enjoy my midnight Chex Mix and give my brain and body a break from all the other emotional stress I was dealing with. (That fight was later resolved, by the way. ????)

I guess what I’m trying to say is, eating the “bad thing” isn’t always bad. In fact, the only thing that makes it bad is the way we think about it and the way we talk to ourselves about it.

The next time you struggle with a midnight craving, do the Stop, Drop, & Feel. And if you still want to eat when the timer goes off, you should already be giving yourself permission to eat. And as an added BONUS on top of that, take an objective look at your day. What would a compassionate friend say?

Sometimes we thing we’re binge eating when really we’re just eating. And the Stop, Drop, & Feel is an excellent tool for breaking negative momentum and meeting yourself with compassion.

In other words, it helps you do the kind thing.

And sometimes, the kind thing looks like a midnight bag of Chex Mix.

This post was originally sent as an email via my popular Tuesday newsletter. You can get on the list by grabbing the free ebook below:

Keep It Going: Get "The Spiritual Seeker's Guide to Stop Binge Eating" (Free Ebook)

The Spiritual Seeker's Guide to Stop Binge Eating

The Spiritual Seeker’s Guide to Stop Binge Eating will show you even more insight into the subconscious reasons why we eat past fullness — even when we really don’t want to! (It’s a free, 13-page, beautifully-illustrated PDF.)

When you sign up, you’ll also get a free 5-part crash course in Psycho-Spiritual Wellness to catch you up to speed. It’s perfect if you’re new to my blog. Sign up below:

You're On a Roll: Take the Eating Psychology QUIZ!

Even if you struggle with overeating, I bet I can guess your strength around food.

If you think food is your weakness, take the quiz and give me the chance to change your mind. There are just 8 questions.

Once you finish, you can either skip the email part (because I hate quizzes that force you to enter one!) or you can sign up to get a free 5-day crash course on Psycho-Spiritual Wellness. It’s perfect for beginners!

You're Really on a Roll: Get a Handle on Self-Sabotage

Bestseller: Why We Do the Things We Do

If you’re ready to take things even deeper, check out my most popular workbook, Why We Do the Things We Do: A Workbook to Curb Self-Sabotage.

By actually putting pen to paper, you’ll be surprised by what comes up. This is how you can discover your unique psychological blocks to compulsive eating.

I swear by workbooks!!! There is something about separating our thoughts onto paper that allows us to dig DEEP at our subconscious blocks around food and weight.

If you like everything you’ve read so far, this is the perfect place to make massive progress. (It’s my bestseller, after all!)

Since you're here, I would LOVE it if you dropped a comment on this post.

I read and reply to every single one! Just like I do with my emails. Since I don’t use much social media (outside of Pinterest and YouTube), I very much enjoy this opportunity to hear your thoughts and connect ✨

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *