rfischer17

Late Night Compulsive Eating - HELP!!

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Hi Everyone,

I love Whole30 and have completed 2.  I am starting my 3rd and it goes very well, until...about 9:45pm.  

We go to bed early (9 ish) and I always wake up about 45 minutes later.  Either, I have a night terror and then eat something or I just wake and compulsively want to eat something.  Usually it's like bread and butter or crackers and butter and maybe some milk. 

In reading It Starts With Food, I see that the nighttime snacking is super bad for hormones, sleep, everything but I am having such a hard time kicking this habit. 

I'd really like to reset my hormones especially for sleep and weight loss which, I think, means getting rid of this habit (which has been happening for over a decade). 

My question:

Should I just muscle through (TRY TO!) and resist the cravings? If so, how long will it take to reset?

Should I do a protein/fat snack at about 7:30 (we usually eat supper closer to 5:30-6)? 

Should I eat way more at supper? More fat?

This feels important but it's also very hard and very deeply ingrained.  I also sleep like crap, have night terrors, etc.  I think it's all connected to hormonal patterns so I really want to fix it. 

THANK YOU!

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I think before we can say what you should do at night time with your food (aside from not getting out of bed to eat) we need to see what you've been eating... to me it sounds like you're potentially  nutritionally deficient throughout the day so you end up with cravings/desire to eat later on.

Go ahead and list out what you've been eating for the last few days in meals that have portion sizes, specific veggies, fruit, fat and protein, workouts, any workout meals etc... 

 

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Ok, thank you!

For breakfast, I eat 3-4 pastured eggs with tons of veggies (probably 2 cups cooked - 4-5 different veggies a day - typically onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, spinach or other greens, brussell sprouts, bell peppers, zucchini).  I also eat half an avocado.  (I could do this meal slightly earlier - right now it's about 1.25-1.75 hours after waking).

For lunch, I usually eat a couple big handfuls of spinach, a full cucumber and about a cup of shredded chicken (cooked with Whole30approved salsa) or a can or two of wild-caught tuna.  I do olive oil and/or Whole30 approved guacamole.  Perhaps a spiralized zucchini with olive oil and salt and pepper or a few sliced tomatoes in addition. 

For supper, I do a serving of protein (at least a palm's size, sometimes 2) and 1-3 servings of veggies.  The other night it was 2 approved brat/sausages, sweet potatoes (1/2 cup or so) and brussell sprouts (1 cup).  Last night it was 2 small chicken cutlets breaded in almond flour/egg and covered in whole30 approved tomato sauce.  With this I ate green beans (about a cup) and a small white potato. HOWEVER, I am realizing I usually do almost NO FAT at supper.  (This is usually about 5:30pm).  

I usually go to bed about 9-9:30 and I wake up 45 minutes later (like clockwork) with a night terror and/or just intense cravings - for bread, crackers, dairy, etc.  I'm certainly awake but it feels automatic.  Last night I really paid attention and I truly did feel hungry.  This is not always the case. 

At the beginning of my Whole30s (which is now) - I may add another smaller but similar-compositionally meal into the day when I'm hungry because of adjusting to fat burning.  I am not currently doing much fruit.  I had knee surgery so am not exercising much but chase my kids around all day (rarely sit down) and do yoga regularly.

I've been researching leptin, cortisol, etc and wondering if it's all related and, perhaps even more, contributes to my terrible, terrible sleep.  

I am 34 years old, female, lightly breastfeeding (my youngest is 2.25 but I've been nursing continuously since my first was born 4.5 years ago), I am fairly healthy and have probably about 30-40 pounds to lose, my weight is very evenly distributed throughout my body.  I have seasonal allergies, some depression/anxiety, aches, but nothing major (yet). 

THANK YOU FOR YOUR INSIGHT!

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3 hours ago, rfischer17 said:

Ok, thank you!

For breakfast, I eat 3-4 pastured eggs with tons of veggies (probably 2 cups cooked - 4-5 different veggies a day - typically onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, spinach or other greens, brussell sprouts, bell peppers, zucchini).  I also eat half an avocado.  (I could do this meal slightly earlier - right now it's about 1.25-1.75 hours after waking).

For lunch, I usually eat a couple big handfuls of spinach, a full cucumber and about a cup of shredded chicken (cooked with Whole30approved salsa) or a can or two of wild-caught tuna.  I do olive oil and/or Whole30 approved guacamole.  Perhaps a spiralized zucchini with olive oil and salt and pepper or a few sliced tomatoes in addition. 

For supper, I do a serving of protein (at least a palm's size, sometimes 2) and 1-3 servings of veggies.  The other night it was 2 approved brat/sausages, sweet potatoes (1/2 cup or so) and brussell sprouts (1 cup).  Last night it was 2 small chicken cutlets breaded in almond flour/egg and covered in whole30 approved tomato sauce.  With this I ate green beans (about a cup) and a small white potato. HOWEVER, I am realizing I usually do almost NO FAT at supper.  (This is usually about 5:30pm).  

I usually go to bed about 9-9:30 and I wake up 45 minutes later (like clockwork) with a night terror and/or just intense cravings - for bread, crackers, dairy, etc.  I'm certainly awake but it feels automatic.  Last night I really paid attention and I truly did feel hungry.  This is not always the case. 

At the beginning of my Whole30s (which is now) - I may add another smaller but similar-compositionally meal into the day when I'm hungry because of adjusting to fat burning.  I am not currently doing much fruit.  I had knee surgery so am not exercising much but chase my kids around all day (rarely sit down) and do yoga regularly.

I've been researching leptin, cortisol, etc and wondering if it's all related and, perhaps even more, contributes to my terrible, terrible sleep.  

I am 34 years old, female, lightly breastfeeding (my youngest is 2.25 but I've been nursing continuously since my first was born 4.5 years ago), I am fairly healthy and have probably about 30-40 pounds to lose, my weight is very evenly distributed throughout my body.  I have seasonal allergies, some depression/anxiety, aches, but nothing major (yet). 

THANK YOU FOR YOUR INSIGHT!

Your dinner looks oddly small in comparison to your other meals...you might try increasing everything around your dinner plate including adding the fat (go to the higher end of the template for fat and see if that helps.  If you're breastfeeding, you should really be eating more, altho I don't know what 'lightly breastfeeding' means so... 

You could also try having something about an hour or so before bed... experiment with that... hardboiled egg, sweet potato with ghee... not a ton, but enough that psychologically you would know you weren't hungry and then just muscle through the cravings... once you've gotten through the cravings, cut back that night time snack and keep muscling through... we don't normally suggest people eat before bed but in this case, it might just bridge the gap so you can get this under control.  

Also, yes, for you especially, eating within an hour of waking would definitely be something to work on!  Try these suggestions for a few days and come back and check in... make note for yourself of how long you stay awake, how strong the cravings are etc... as you work through this for a couple days... it might not resolve it completely in a day but hopefully you notice some diminishing sypmtoms of this and that would be a great sign!

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Maybe when you do wake up in the middle of the night, if it's really way to overwhelming to try to muscle through the craving or that horrible feeling from the night terror, you could try tweaking that craving into making a small cup of herbal tea? (something warm and without caffeine may be soothing enough, or the act of making something can help slow you down and get control of the craving)

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