Imagine a typical day in your life.
As you think about those 24 hours, list everything (besides food) that creates feel-good feelings for you.
Is that list short…or maybe even non-existent?
If so, no wonder you’re overeating at night!
A Hungry Spirit
You are much more than your body. We all are. Although it seems we often forget this.
When your body is hungry — of course you feed it.
But what about your spirit? Are you feeding it too? If eating quickly turns to OVEREATING, maybe not.
Nighttime overeating is usually a last-ditch effort to nourish the spirit. It happens after a day of feeling deprived of good feelings. Maybe you tell yourself, “nothing good’s happened so far today.” OR “I need something to look forward to.”
But it doesn’t really work. When the food is gone, the void is still there.
The bad news is, food doesn’t truly nourish most spiritual cravings. But that’s the GOOD news too.
The spirit craves feelings.
Think about a time you were almost too happy or excited to eat. That was the feeling of a fully nourished spirit. And when the spirit is filled up — food goes back to being just food whose #1 job is to fuel the body.
When We Overeat
So why would anyone ever eat to the point they experience physical discomfort?
It begins with the attempt to satisfy a spiritual craving with food. Maybe it’s a craving for connection, creativity, celebration, or even rest. No matter how many chips or cookies are eaten, the craving continues because food can’t fill it.
Or think about it another way. Imagine a crying baby. If the baby is crying because it’s hungry, no amount of diaper changes will calm that baby.
It’s a simple equation :: Food fuels bodies. Feelings feed the spirit.
What to Do Instead
The good news is, not only can you overcome nighttime overeating — but you can actually feel better by NOT overeating.
1. Begin by staying present with your food. When eating, enjoy and think about each bite.
2. Then work on just noticing. Next time you sense you’re heading toward an evening of overeating, ask yourself the following question :: “What’s my truest hunger right now?” Start looking for (non-food) ways to fuel these hungers.
3. Start a JOY Journal and record all the things that light you up. Write a description or include a photo. Also note the feelings associated with each entry. Add new joys as they come up.
4. Find ways to experience the feelings you’re craving on a daily basis. Get creative!
The truth is, these things don’t have to take up a lot of time. Fit in bite-size chunks where you can and see how it feels.
All my best to you.