Midnight Munchies

InsomniaMy pledge to only eat when seated hasn’t been working.

I haven’t eaten in my car (save for chewing a piece of sugar-free gum) but every night for the past week (except for one night) I’ve woken and eaten … standing up.

As you know, this has been a problem I’ve been dealing with for over three years now, on and off.

My doctors have no explanation, my therapist doesn’t see it as a problem (and moreover, she wants me to not view it as a problem, either).

But I am sick and tired of not sleeping through the night. Of restless nights and stressed-out mornings because I “didn’t make it through the night.”

I have no logical explanation. I’ve gone to bed happy, after a good workout and a good dinner every night. I’m eating plenty (not too much, not too little). I’m hydrated. I’ve had minimal stress at work. I take a long hot shower or bath at night. And, I’m getting plenty of sleep (since I am working out after work now) so I’m not waking up til almost 7 now (vs. 5:15)!

But yet each night without fail, I’ve woken to eat. Right now, I’m less than a week from that lovely time of month and I have noticed the correlation over the years. Dr. G thinks it very well could be hormonal, and maybe that is why this is happening yet again (it’s cyclical).

Whatever the case, it drives me nuts. I track the Points towards the next day, and technically I am still “OP” (on program) because I haven’t touched my Activity Points and have just been eating Target Points and Flex Points … but it frustrates me to no end. And the frustration leads to more anxiety.

If I were just eating mindlessly or even emotionally during “normal” hours (i.e., not the middle of the night) I wouldn’t be as frustrated; that I could control, even though it’d be tough.

But it’s happening at 2 a.m., on auto-pilot. And I just can’t stop it once it starts.

So all I can do is “soar with my strengths” of measuring and journaling — even at 2 a.m. — and just hope that in time I’ll sleep soundly.

How about you? Are you having trouble sleeping lately? Do you ever wake and eat?

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24 thoughts on “Midnight Munchies

  1. I used to wake up and eat when I went to bed hungry-because I get anxiety at night about breakfast (love that meal) and i would be worried if i ate a night time snack then i would not be hungry for breakfast. LIE!!!!!

  2. woops, pressed submit too soon. on a better note, i think it’s a great tip to simply “not think of it as a problem”. its funny how we judge ourselves so intensely–we really do not need to!

  3. I hear you. A lot of times I’ll wake up and binge, almost self-consciously. It’s not even on good stuff usually but really dry foods (pita chips, melba crackers, triscuits).

    Just curious: why does your therapist think it’s not a problem?

  4. Hey Lee, the thing is, I’m eating plenty … if I weren’t, I could understand it. It’s a habit now … the waking and eating … and it drives me insane.

    Kelly, it’s usually dry foods or, las tnight, sorbet (sore throat, kinda made sense though water would have probably been sufficient). She wants me to try to see it not as a problem because if I view it as “it’s just food at 2 a.m. and it’s on my plan” (b/c it technically is) maybe I will have less anxiety associated with it. In reality, it’s still within my WW plan so it’s not EXTRA food. I’ve just been eating less at bfast to compensate (counting the pts for the morning) but it annoys me b/c I love bfast. It happened again last night. Her point is, if I were diabetic or had some other condition, I’d have to maybe eat at irregular times; it’s not a “bad” thing. But it FEELS bad to me. I just want to sleep!

  5. So interesting, Jason. I am not crazy-exercising anymore though — although when I WAS (3 yrs ago) is when all this began. It’s so annoying! I didn’t even work out last night so I can’t blame it on that (took a rest day)

  6. Yes, I have this problem. Sometimes I would eat right before bed even if not hungry to try to avoid it.

    I finally decided to just listen to what my body needs. If it wakes up at midnight or 2am and is truly hungry, then I eat a little snack, drink a little water, and go back to bed.

    I had no problem Monday and Tuesday of this week. But last night I woke up at 11:30 (I went to bed before 8 as I have to get up at 4-4:30am for work). I laid there for about 10 minutes, but the hunger pangs persisted, so I got up, ate, returned to bed and slept soundly until the alarm clock went off.

    It takes a lot of work to trust that my body will know when it needs to eat. Conversely, I have to work on not just immediately eating when I get up. Usually I’m very hungry upon arising. Other times, I’m not, but the habit was to eat anyway.

    I have finally broken that habit too.

    Just trust your body.

  7. Hi Gadgetgirl, that’s just it — I’m NOT always hungry, but I still wake, pee, and inevitably end up in the kitchen 😦 Hungry or not. and I don’t believe in being too hungry before bed; I’ll just toss and turn. So I try to have good, balanced dinners but nothing is working. The tough part is, it’s like I’m on autopilot.

    Maybe I need those Post-Its again!? (I kept them on the cabinet and fridge and they could say “Go to bed”)

    I do want to trust my body and am glad you have been able to — and break the habit, too!

  8. One part of your post in particular caught my attention: “If I were just eating mindlessly or even emotionally during “normal” hours (i.e., not the middle of the night) I wouldn’t be as frustrated; that I could control, even though it’d be tough. ”

    I wonder if your body/mind is telling you something about CONTROL…maybe that you need to let go of something, or maybe there’s some area of your life where you need to take more control…maybe it doesn’t have anything to do with FOOD, but that’s how your body/mind is manifesting it.

    I don’t really know, but the way you worded the last part of that sentence really stood out to me.

  9. Me neither i dont understand why it happens. I tried to find the reason, but like you, i tried everything : drinking enough, eating more, work out, bath, sleeping pills… There is no pattern.

    For the past few weeks, i’ve been waking up a lot less than before. And i almost dont eat when i wake up. I dont understand why. One thing for sure, i dont check my weigh as often, i eat more different kind of food and im not as stressed as before about my weight or food. I used to weight myself every morning, now, i do it sometimes… 1-2 times a week max. And it feels good, cuz i dont stress for 0.5 lbs or so 😛

    I would have the same suggestion as Auntie : lose control. But i know its not easy, i dont even understand why i did it and how long its gonna stay like this 😛

    PS I’ll think of you at 2 am lol me too, its my snack hour 😛

  10. Auntie you are so wise … I didn’t even catch myself saying that, but you’re on to something. I think maybe I need to let go of my obsession with the night-time eating; then maybe it wouldn’t happen. I think if anything, my life is in tight control — which, being anxious is a good thing … but I am sure you’re right, it’s not about the food. I wake to pee and then end up eating. I’ve tried drinking water early in the night (vs evening) but I still wake. I might need some kind of noise to stop me!

    Hi Nikita glad to hear you’re doing better with the midnight eating. I wonder if my preoccupation with this stuff (even via blogging) is sticking in my subconscios? (I blog at night) … HMM. But this has happened for 3 yrs, long before blogging.

    Thank you … I need to pull a Dr Beck and say NO CHOICE. Tomorrow is my weekly weigh-in so I need to tell myself NO CHOICE!

  11. I absolutely never eat at night. Maybe its because of the fact that I grew up in a house where my bedroom was upstairs from the kitchen, and then lived through college in houses where my room was upstairs from the kitchen, and now live where our room is upstairs, but I am TERRIFIED of falling down the stairs. If I do wake up hungry, I tell myself that morning isn’t that far away, and I go back to sleep.

  12. You’re VERY lucky, Mara. I think if I had to travel up or down stairs, it wouldn’t happen, but our kitchen isn’t too far from our bedroom and those are on the same level.

  13. Meliss, what I find counterproductive is that you purposely leave room in your diet for the nighttime eating – clearly your body is anticipating more food in the middle of the night! Maybe you could try exhausting your points during daylight hours – then you really wouldn’t have a “choice” in the middle of the night.

    (and I know I owe you an email – Gaza has taken up all my energies – I’m sure you understand!!)

  14. Hey sweetie and I TOTALLY understand about Gaza!! I am lucky to have such important friends — when this crisis ends (if ever!) you know I’m here! 🙂 (And lord knows I hope it does).

    Well, I don’t exactly leave room for it — it just counts toward the next day. And the whole “choice” thing is something no one seems to really understand and I do realize how ridiculous it sounds: I’m on autopilot and not always able to choose to eat or not; it just happens. Sometimes I can tell myself “NO you aren’t hungry/don’t need to eat now.” But it doesn’t always work.

    And trust me, I realize how insane and silly this sounds. I so wish it could end. (I have been eating 25-27 pts pretty much all week – dipped into 1 AP last night and probably some today). GRRRR.

  15. Hey Missy, so glad I’m not alone!! This week I did step up my workouts, but I also wasn’t waking hungry … just waking and eating. So it’s like I can’t blame it on the workouts. I agree, NOT FUN!

  16. Hi have you tried EFT (emotional freedom technique). It is tapping on accupresure points and it eases the craving/desire. I’ve been using it with C/S and it seems like it is working.

  17. i started night eating when the hot flashes got me up and I wanted a cold diet soda. Being in the fridge and kitchen, just started a habit I want to break. If I sleep through the night, no problem. I have reserved points for this activity and if i dont use them, points saved. Its not hunger, just habit at this point. when i take a midnight bathroom break, and dont go near the kitchen or other places where there is food, no problem

    I would love to break the habit and sleep through the night.

  18. Hi Mercy, it is so frustrating, I know. I haven’t had an incident in a long time based on habit … but I know it could happen at any time. Cheers to restful sleep …!!

  19. This has been a major issue for me. I used to wake up with the stove flaming up to the ceiling. Sometimes I would wake with food I didn’t remember eating on my bed.
    This slowly morphed into a conscious eating, but a driven feeling. Like you could not stop me unless you chained me down.
    Now I don’t so much wake up to eat (after many years), but I do find that I MUST have something to eat right before sleeping, or I am riddled with fear. Such a baffling phenomenon.

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