April 20, 2021
Wow, I was blown away by people’s responses to my post last week about comfort eating! There are so many kind-hearted, generous and smart people in our community.
I learned a ton about nutrition and different practices and perspectives. And it helped me reflect in so many different ways and made me feel so loved and connected to so many people around this small world.
Here are of ALL of the gorgeous responses I received via email and social media regarding my current challenge around comfort eating at night:
Thank you for sharing this. I hope that you won’t mind me sharing some thoughts; you are always so generous with your knowledge and gifts and desire to help, I would like to do the same.
I think night-time snacking is one that many of us struggle with and I can totally relate to the evening munchies. I wouldn’t say that I’ve completely cracked the code, but I can say that for me there’s been a strong habit and association component, as well as a self-nurturing and self-pleasuring aspect.
As a stay-at-home mom, after a long day of taking care of others, sitting down on the couch and relaxing with something satisfying to eat while watching a programme became a habit. It was something easy, immediate and soothing that brought me pleasure.
Making time for myself and including activities that are nurturing to me and bring me pleasure has been helpful, like reading while enjoying a detox bath and more regular meditation and daydreaming and visualization.
Connecting more intimately with my husband has also been helpful - stopping to make eye contact when talking with each other and gentle caresses as we pass each other in the house.
You mentioned that you want to be liberated of the wish to be completed by another, but perhaps the truer wish is for more intimate connections and contact? A natural and fundamental human need. We come into the world complete, and we come into the world needing human contact, love and connection. Asking oneself to not need or desire those human needs feels like a self-denial or a self-punishment.
It feels good to see the love and appreciation that one feels for oneself reflected within the eyes and actions of others. Partnership, and love and connection from other-than-self sources can exist within the same space as self-love, self-support, self-nourishment and self-appreciation.
I recently learned that dopamine is released in the body when we engage in activities like eating something we like or watching a programme we enjoy, but that it’s effects are temporary and cause short-term pleasure. Oxytocin on the other hand, is released in the body when we share intimacy with others through touch and meaningful connection, and its effects create long-term satisfaction and pleasure.
Responding to your inquiry on curbing your appetite at night. Hydrate! Craving food close to bedtime is usually connected to either dehydration or craving emotional comfort.
If former, drink a clean, crisp glass of water. Yes you may have to get up and use the bathroom at night but that is still more nourishing that having to offset sugar peaks from that piece of chocolate. If the latter, still hydrating is the answer however prepare a comforting tea. I finish each night with Roasted Dandelion tea. Perhaps a nice cinnamon tea would be more your vibe or a spearmint could bring gorgeous soothingness.
The dark chocolate at bedtime is magnesium craving. I had that a bit when pregnant, as my body needed lots of magnesium for that process.
You can substitute Natural Calm magnesium drink at bedtime as part of your nighttime ritual. It will satisfy the magnesium craving, and also help sleep. It can be found at health food stores and on Amazon. I like the raspberry lemon flavor. Beware not to start with the serving size it says on the side... or it goes right through you.
The yogurt craving is probably actually a fat craving. If we don’t get enough fat throughout the day our bodies want it before the fasting period at night. In my house we make our own whipped cream with grass fed heavy cream just whipped in a stand mixer, nothing added, no sweeteners or anything. And we have it after dinner as our “dessert”. Sometimes we add a couple berries or a drizzle of honey but plain is quite delicious too.
The vinegary salty crunchy daytime cravings are probably a need for salt and trace minerals. Try sprinkling Redmond real salt (full of amazing trace minerals) on anything you’re already eating. Or even sprinkle some in water especially if running in sunshine!
I frequently eat greek yogurt with honey from my bees before I sleep. The protein grounds me in my body to sleep better, the vitamin B12 calms my nervous system, and I always need potassium and calcium at my age, and the probiotics from both honey and yogurt help digest anything Ive eaten during the day. The fats are always satiating to me, even though Im over weight, I find these to be good fats for me as the better the sleep I get the less likely I am to eat non productive foods the next day. So its a good trade off in my case. I feel nutritionally topped off and am able to sleep more contentedly, grounded in my body.
Otherwise I find myself taking B supplements, drinking coconut water, eating cheese, meat, popcorn, maybe even shortbread cookies right before bed, which can accomplish almost similar benefits but not as good and more fattening.
I have made attempt to avoid evening to night eating but sleep is only hours at a time with chaotic, nervousness, frequent intrusions, flightiness, crazy, most uncomfortable to say the least. I'm sure each persons constitution and the season is a big part of what works for each.
Here’s a link about benefits of greek yogurt.
What a lovely message. As I’ve been coaching women interested in weight loss, another question has come up for me: why do women believe it is wrong to put on or hold weight? Why do we believe we can’t trust our hunger? These questions led me to a lovely book I’d like to recommend called eat to love. It has helped me to see the water we are all swimming in a little more clearly and unravel some of the body shame that perfumes all parts of our culture. It could be about protein or minerals or a soul hunger for you. I hope this book inspires you on your quest.
Actually you probably are snacking at night bc your body needs it and the age old bullshit that you shouldn’t eat before bed is a myth. Don’t worry about it and maybe try an adrenal cocktail - orange juice, coconut water, a pinch of salt or organic vanilla ice cream is ideal.
Thank you for the vulnerable share. I'm reading The Body is Not an Apology right now and it may be helpful as you explore the why behind your late night eating. :) Sending many blessings.
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