Many of us feel in control during the day but when nighttime comes it’s very hard not to overeat or indulge.
Overeating and indulging is simply a way for us to change the way we feel. Or more so numb how we feel, so we don’t have to feel anything.
The only way to overcome overeating is to get to the root cause of our feelings.
The evening is the time many of us overeat because we’re emotionally (and sometimes physically) exhausted. It might be the first chance we have all day to actually think. We’re no longer running a million miles per minute. Our kids are sleeping, the emails have slowed down, everything is put away (sorta), we’re no longer at work…it’s just us.
How do we overcome nighttime eating?
Well, it’s important to ask ourselves some questions. Questions help us to change our perspective and that’s the idea.
Here are some to get us started:
What does the nighttime represent to me?
Am I lonely?
Do I wish I was with a lover?
Am I dreading another day of work?
Do I have anything to look forward to?
Am I overwhelmed by the stuff all around me?
Am I overwhelmed by all the stuff that needs to get done?
When is the last time I truly had fun?
Am I bored?
Am I intellectually challenged?
Does my significant other make me feel even more lonely because I don’t connect with them in a way that I want to be?
If we want to crack the code on why we overeat at night let’s start asking ourselves these questions.
Here’s the deal though: Deep down we may know (even though we might not want to acknowledge) the real reason. And if we don’t know the real reason, asking these questions will certainly help.
I get it. Making big life changes is terrifying.
But if we’re going to ‘stick it out’ whatever “it” is, and choose (because it is a choice) unhappiness over uncertainty here’s my advice:
Make the best of your situation and accept it. I mean this as sincerely as possible.
Let’s not fight reality, though. A reality that’s in our control to change.
Because we can change it. Or we can make the best of it. But complaining is useless as is teetering.
If we’re not going to change what is, we might as well love what is – otherwise, we’re going to suffer.
So let’s start thinking about these questions and if you need some help, let us know.
We’re right here with and for you!
P.S. The best way to change a habit is to replace it – rather than quit it. Instead of trying to go from eating dessert every night to eating nothing, it’s more effective to focus on eating something else.
For example, instead of eating ice cream, try eating frozen fruit. Instead of eating chips, try eating crunchy celery + nut butter.
Asking ourselves the questions above will help us identify why we want to eat and that’s critical. Because if we’re not physically hungry then we’re emotionally hungry and emotional hunger is never about the food. It’s about what the food allows us to avoid.
P.P.S. Are you an emotional eater? This is the tip of the iceberg of what you’ll learn as an MBT client. Consider joining my proven program to help you overcome emotional eating once and for all. If it worked for all of these clients, it’ll work for you too. (Guaranteed or your money back. That’s how much I believe in what we offer.)
Happy April Fools’ Day!
I’m not going to play any pranks on us MBT-ers, nor do I have any vegetable jokes, so if you have one please lettuce know. (Ba-dum tish!)
In all seriousness, I think today is a great day to talk about this. After all, April Fools’ Day is supposed to be a fun day…
It’s interesting, whenever I hang out with my two nephews, I always ask them, “Are you having fun?” All I care about is if they’re having fun. I hear others ask the same question frequently too.
I ask my son Zachary the same question as well. “Having fun buddy?”
“Having fun daddy!” as he nods his head. (This is one of the many things he does that instantly melts my heart.)
When was the last time we asked ourselves, “Am I having fun?”
When was the last time we scheduled fun for ourselves?
We schedule so many things for ourselves. Appointments, meetings, you name it.
But what about fun?
Tension relief is one of the top reasons we eat and/or indulge. Something is causing us to feel tense so we seek to relieve it. Usually, with food and/or drink.
In psychology there is a term known as the inner child. If our inner child is neglected, it finds a way to act out. Again, in our case it’s usually with indulgent food.
As we get older, we find less things fun. We have less time for fun as well. We just don’t make it a priority.
This leads to burn out. : (
I often ask what people are doing for fun. It might sound trite but there’s a real reason: The more fun we have, the less we’ll rely on food and drink for fun. The less we’ll feel compelled to eat indulgently.
As we get older, we have less outlets for true fun.
So here’s my question to you on this April Fools’ Day: What do you do for fun?
No idea? What did you love doing when you were a kid. What did you do for hours at a time? Maybe you can do exactly that. Maybe you can do a more advanced version of it?
It’s worth thinking about it. Like focusing on our diet/exercise, scheduling more fun, and actually having more fun, is a worthwhile investment that pays countless dividends in our quality of life.
It’s always fun when clients tell me they rediscovered their love for something. In turn, their desire to eat indulgently goes down, which helps us to eat better. That means we’ll look and feel better, and that’s surely fun! : )
The homo economicus view of human beings states that we think and choose unfailingly well, and we fit within the text book picture of economists.
In other words: According to economists we will always choose what’s best for us.
LOL! Do they live in this world?
Clearly, this is not the case.
Research in psychology and behavioral economics proves we are very irrational creatures.
On one hand (I like to call this our long term self / rational mind) we know what’s best for us. We know we shouldn’t overeat, and skip exercise.
On the other (I like to call this our short term self / irrational mind) we’re highly impulsive and succumb to temptations all the time.
A temptation then is anything we consume more of when we’re irrational.
My definition of a temptation is simple: anything that makes us think irrationally.
Here’s the challenge: Right now I feel good. No cravings. I plan on exercising in a bit, and I feel focused.
However, in a few hours I might feel tired…
Being tired helps our irrational mind get louder. So does being hungry. So does being stressed. So does being overwhelmed.
Research has proven (and I’m confident we don’t need research to prove this) we grossly underestimate how we’ll feel and act when we’re tempted – which in turn, wakes up the irrational part of our brain.
This is known as the hot-cold empathy gap.
That means when we’re focused and thinking rationally and long term minded, we totally underestimate just how irrational and short term minded we can and will become – because we’re so rational and focused in that moment.
Right now, junk food isn’t in front of me. I’m thinking rationally. I’m good to go.
But, if you put my favorite treats in front of me it might be an entirely different ball game.
A few lessons can be learned:
1. Don’t have any temptations near you. In your house, car, desk, whatever. Sounds obvious but it’s amazing how many people keep junk food around. It is always better to avoid the dragon than slay it when it comes to food.
2. Tell your loved ones / friends / etc., that you’re on a mission and that you’d appreciate if they didn’t bring you your favorite treats or keep them around. Tell them it doesn’t help you be the person you really want to be. Tell them it doesn’t support your goal of better health.
3. Protect yourself from getting irrational. What are the top causes of getting to that irrational state?
Being: A) Hungry without a plan (this is why eating every 3-4 hours is key), B) tired (sleeping as much as possible, and counter-intuitively exercising – exercise gives us energy), and C) anxious (figuring out what’s really bothering us, and choosing to bother with it vs avoiding it) are the top causes.
4. Don’t go where there will be temptations! “Thanks, Captain Obvious!” (Hey, just because it’s common sense doesn’t mean it’s common practice. Besides, the best advice always sounds like common sense because it’s actually practical.)
Sometimes we can’t control this but many times we can. A client just told me how she read an article about ice cream this morning, and all day long she’s been thinking about ice cream! Why do that to ourselves?
If we’ve decided that the junk at the party we’re going to isn’t worth it…why bother even looking?
If we’ve decided that we don’t want to eat the junk in the kitchen at home or at work…why bother even looking?
If we’ve decided that we don’t want to buy anything from the vending machine…why bother even looking?
If we’ve decided that we’re done eating for the night after dinner…why bother even going into the kitchen after dinner?
Don’t underestimate how tempted you can really get.
But see, right now, we’re cold so we’ll rationalize and say things like “Na, I’m good! I’ll be fine!”
Remember: #3 above, and let’s protect ourselves.
P.S. Do you find yourself saying, “Yes!” to any and all invitations. Do you find yourself taking on too much and feeling overwhelmed? (Sounds like the beginning of an infomercial right?)
Tip: Before you commit to an event, imagine it happening this week. Your future self will thank you.
Again, this is our short term selves trying to convince our long term selves we’re less busy than we actually are. If we’re usually up to our eye balls with things to do, why would the future be any different?
This is the same thing as resolution-ers thinking this will be the year they finally change without changing anything. Not us. Oh not us MBT-ers! We have an unbeatable system of support and accountability to protect ourselves from ourselves.
Temptations are everywhere! : (
What to do?
Here in lies the question we all face: Do we listen to our short term or long term self when it comes to cravings?
Our short term self tries to convince our long term self we want those cookies or chips or whatever (that aren’t even worth it)…
Our long term self is what motivates us to get out of bed. To evolve. To improve. To achieve. To eat healthfully. To exercise. To read these very words. To join my proven program. (Oh, see what I did there?)
So who the heck do we listen to?
Well, I believe when we listen to our short term self, we are being impulsive which usually leads to self-destructive behavior. We’re indulging in pleasure.
Big difference between being impulsive and spontaneity, in my opinion.
A life filled with short term pleasure (then again, all pleasure is short term by definition) is very different than a life filled with satisfaction.
I don’t think pleasure and satisfaction is the same.
First off, pleasure = fleeting. When was the last time you felt amazing ten minutes after eating something indulgent impulsively?
Let’s look at the person who only eats fatty, salty and sugary foods. (Notice how I said, “Only”. MBT is not about never indulging. That is not sustainable! We will teach you how to be fit and happy, not fit and miserable. We’ll teach you how to eat your favorite foods and still lose weight. That said, you can’t only indulge and expect to lose weight. That’s silly talk.)
Sure it tastes good on the way down. But, it doesn’t feel so good when your clothes no longer fit. Or when you hate how you look. Or when you avoid being in the picture. Or you can’t keep up with your children because you have no energy. Or when you avoid certain things because of your weight. Or when the doctor tells you what you already know.
Anyway, so how do we get over cravings? After all, cravings are what drive us to indulge in pleasure.
I think the challenge with cravings is that we entertain them to much. We pay too much attention to them! In fact, when we have a craving, typically, that’s all we focus on.
You know why? We’re stuck in our own damn head.
Let’s all try something next time we face a craving. It’s simple.
Ready? When a craving hits simply:
Think away from yourself.
Get out of your damn head! Think about someone or something else.
1) Text or call a friend and ask how he/she is doing
2) Catch up on some juicy celebrity gossip
3) Read something interesting/useful lately? Send it to a friend or family member. “Hey, read this and thought you’d enjoy it!”
You can do anything. But, ultimately, the key is to immerse ourselves in something else.
Without fail, whenever I meet someone and tell them what I do, the conversation turns to all of the diets they’ve done in the past, including the one they’re currently on.
We all know people like this…
One month they’re eating ONLY xyz. “Nope, I can’t eat any of that. It’s not a part of my plan!”
The next month, they’re only eating what they were just avoiding the month before. The next month, they’re only eating grapefruits.
“This is working so well! I lost 2 pounds in the first two days! Can you believe this?!?!”
The next month, “The best part about this is that I can eat as much fat as I want AND lose weight?!” as they’re chomping down on a triple bacon cheeseburger.
The next month, “Ya know, I’ve decided I’m going to become a vegetarian. I’m never going to eat meat again!”
The next month…
I can keep going if you’d like?
We all know these people…
…they go from one shiny new fad diet to the next without ever sticking with ANYTHING. Unfortunately, weight loss doesn’t come from “trying” things. It comes from sticking with it. That’s the hard part.
1. Consistency isn’t sexy, but it’s ridiculously effective. And because it’s not “sexy” or the “it” diet of the moment, people might feel bored or even left out while some of their friends are following some crazy diet. Because of this, they’re always in search of the newest fad diet, instead of focusing on what actually works.
We all know deep down, the secret to success is —–> doing the right things over and over and over and over again. And doing the right things over and over and over and over again.
No matter what diet we follow, or what ‘magic pill’ we take (they don’t exist!), if we want to be successful, eventually, we’re going to have to do the actual work.
And the actual work means eating well, eating less, and moving more…consistently. (Easier said than done, of course!)
There is no escaping this.
We can’t escape the work if we want results. While the majority of people are searching for the “latest and greatest fad diet” our clients are doing the right things day in and day out. While the majority of people are searching for the “new and shiny diet” our clients are staying consistent week after week with a healthy and practical diet – because they have the support and accountability in place to ensure they stick with it. While the majority of people are trying to avoid cravings, we’re figuring out why our clients are getting them in the first place.
2. The temptation to quit is greatest right before the results happen.
Why? Because right before we see results, we have to push through some discomfort. And our natural tendency is to remove that discomfort. How? We quit the diet! “Eh, this isn’t working” two weeks into a program we rationalize. “I’m too busy!” we rationalize. But then we’re right back to square one, of course.
3. Change by nature is uncomfortable.
If we’re doing what we always do like give into those cookies (that aren’t even that good!), we won’t feel any different. But, if we don’t give into those cookies, we’ll feel discomfort…until it becomes comfortable. (And this isn’t about never indulging. That’s not sustainable!) Discomfort means we’re doing things differently. It means we’re changing, and therefore getting closer to where we want to be.
Hence, discomfort is our compass.
We can’t escape the discomfort. Change by nature is uncomfortable. Nor can we escape the day to day consistency, which isn’t sexy whatsoever – even though, it’s ridiculously effective.
It’s so easy to avoid the inevitable: being consistent and sticking with a sensible eating and exercise plan. I know (in fact, I’m 100% convinced, though I’m admittedly biased) daily and personal accountability and support is what makes all of the difference. It makes the discomfort way more tolerable and dare I say – enjoyable. It makes the consistency very doable, and it’s why we get the results we do.
“There are two mistakes one can make along the road to truth. Not going all the way, and not starting.” – Siddartha Guatama
Next time we’re tempted to jump on the “it” diet of the moment, let’s remember nothing beats the tried and true. We all know this, but our short term / irrational mind will always try to trick us into taking the path of least resistance.
However, taking the path of least resistance now when it comes to our health and fitness always leads to way more resistance later on.
P.S. If you need help “going all the way” and sticking with it, consider joining our proven program. I offer a 100% guarantee because I know it works. You have nothing to lose. Join the countless people like you who were finally able to stick to something and get amazing results because of it.
P.P.S. Want more reasons why consistency is so hard? Read this powerful post.