How To Stop Yourself From Nighttime Bingeing

by | May 18, 2018

“’This will be my last ice cream ever’ is a thought I have had so many times I’m embarrassed by it.” – Paul

Late night bingeing is an especially tough habit to break.

You repeat the same destructive behavior over and over, knowing it’s wrong, but stopping feels impossible because it doesn’t seem like something you can control. Rationalizing the behavior becomes second nature, and you don’t see a way out.

This is Paul’s story. Paul knows his bingeing habit is the reason he is overweight. His late night episodes alone in the kitchen are something he looks forward to, but also wants to stop.

It doesn’t matter if it’s celery sticks or potato chips, it’s being able to eat as much as he wants–with no one around to judge him–that’s such a relief and so rewarding.

Sometimes behavior patterns like these can be changed by identifying and avoiding your triggers or finding an alternative outlet for whatever it is your brain is craving. But, those solutions are only useful after you’ve unraveled why you are using this behavior as a source of relief in the first place.

Today I help Paul find his “why” so that he can find peace and enjoy indulgences without regretting or overdoing them.

Wish you had more time to listen to the podcast? I use an app called Overcast (no affiliation) to play back my favorite podcasts at faster speeds, dynamically shortening silences in talk shows so it doesn’t sound weird. It’s pretty rad.


Related links:

How To Stop Overeating When Emotional Eating Combines With Food Moralizing (Foodist Podcast)

How To Stop Moralizing Your Food Choices (Foodist Podcast)

How To Stop Moralize Your Food Choices 2 (Foodist Podcast)

The 4-Hour Body by Tim Ferriss

Nintendo Switch

Super Mario Odyssey

Thinking Fast And Slow by Daniel Kahneman



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Show details (links don’t work on mobile devices):

2:51 – Paul has a habit of binge eating before bed.

4:48 – It’s not a hunger issue, how to tell.

6:05 – The “What-the-Hell Effect” struggle is real.

6:31 – Paul has plenty of other healthy habits, so his bingeing episodes are most likely the reason he isn’t losing weight.

7:30 – The trigger? Paul needs a reward at the end of the day.

8:25 – The only person who knows what your triggers are is you.

8:50 – Rest and enjoyment are essential for a healthy life.

10:13 – Food moralizing also fuels Paul’s commonly leads to bingeing.

11:27 – How food moralizing works.

13:58 – Specific locations can trigger bad habits.

14:46 – It’s good to know what your triggers are, so you can recognize and avoid them.

16:20 – Food moralizing is a Jedi mind trick played on yourself.

18:23 – There can be multiple factors involved in undoing a bad habit.

19:56 – Question your assumptions.

20:16 – Paul doesn’t feel sick or physically bad after bingeing, it’s more the guilt that behavior this is why he’s overweight.

26:56 – When Paul indulges in front of other people he feels judged and embarrassed.

29:45 – It’s less likely that you will overindulge if you are actually enjoying your food.

30:03 – The scarcity mentality can also lead to bingeing.

32:13 – Recognizing your limiting beliefs gives you the ability to redirect your behavior.

33:12 – What is missing in your life that you are trying to fill with this behavior?

36:40 – Classic thought patterns of binge eaters.

41:33 – Find a powerful motivator that makes you want to stop.

45:52 – Find an alternative form of relief and indulgence.

47:55 – How to break a habit.

48:33 – Are you a fundamentally flawed person if you binge?

51:52 – How to make a lasting behavior change (Darya’s method).

55:14 – Is it helpful to think of bingeing as an addiction?


If you’d like to be a guest on the show, please fill out the form here and tell us your story.

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11 Responses to “How To Stop Yourself From Nighttime Bingeing”

  1. Josh says:

    Great podcast, Darya. It’s the first I’ve listened to and I really enjoyed it. I’ve struggled with hardcore bulimia for 13 years and despite 13 years of seeking help in myriad modalities, I’ve been unsuccessful. It truly mirrors any other addiction; I’ve lied, stolen, lived on the street, done things I never in a million years thought I would. All to keep the binge/purge cycle going. On average, I’ve spent 6-12 hours daily bingeing and purging. I’ve gone though 10+ stints in rehabs that were completely unhelpful and taken moralized eating to another level, feeding me meals and snacks comprised solely of processed foods. That was helpful…hahaha. Also CBT, DBT, all the psych meds in the world. On paper, I look alright–I’m an RN, currently in school to be a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, plan to practice integrative/functional/orthomolecular medicine. If I make it to that point! I’ve run myself into a multitude of health issues. Lately, I’ve been a bit enamored with psychedelic therapy and the possibility that it may be of help to me (psilocybin, ayahuasca, LSD, MDMA, etc) but wish there were options for working with these in a supported environment. Intuitively, I feel like so much of my behavior, pain, and suffering is related to unconscious stuff. Anyway, thank you so much for your great work. It’s inspiring, engaging, and is helping many people for sure!

    • Chris says:

      I have found Kathryn Hansen’s Brain Over Binge (free ebook) to be helpful. In her words: “…I aim [to] be an alternative voice in the field of eating disorders—teaching brain-based reasons for why binge eating occurs, and departing from mainstream ideas that say eating disorders are the result of underlying emotional/psychological problems and require years of therapy to fix. I do not believe bulimia and binge eating disorder are diseases, but instead very natural, but ‘primitive’ brain responses to restrictive dieting and the repeated overconsumption of highly stimulating foods.”

      • Josh says:

        Thanks so much, Chris. I read “Brain Over Binge” roughly 5 years ago and it did resonate with me more than everything else I’d been inundated with prior to it. That said, for some reason, it wasn’t enough. Maybe I need to get back to it. My thing is, I’ll be totally aware of WHY I want to binge but it doesn’t seem to matter anymore. My “lower” brain is telling me I don’t care and I wanna do it anyway! Haha thanks again for the suggestion.

    • Darya Rose says:

      Someone I know who had severe bulimia was able to stop bingeing after TMS treatment. Might be worth looking into.

  2. Monica says:

    I’m 55, somewhere in menopause. Struggled with #30 for over a decade. Tried addressing mental attitudes etc but nothing lasted. Read about a study where the test group took 900 mg of 5 htp divided into 3 doses of 300 mg with each meal and lost a lot of weight. It worked because their neurotransmitters were low-something that no amount of willpower/counseling can overcome. Also taking CLA. And no I can’t eat anything and everything I want-I’m actually doing ZC and sometimes Uber low keto. I’m satisfied and glad to be losing weight. I don’t think this is what you want to hear but it worked for me after years of struggle. Many thanks

    • Josh says:

      Monica, not sure if this was directed at me but if so, thank you so much for the feedback. I did try a very low carb diet for awhile in combination with some intermittent fasting it seemed to tank my thyroid. I’m going to try to get back to it, hold off on intermittent fasting, and if I can actually get into it, throw in a day or two of higher carb days throughout the week. That’s the plan but the bingeing and purging kinda throws that plan on its head haha. Also, I’m very attached to having large volumes of vegetables at meals. While they’re low carb vegetables, I still don’t think continuing to eat that way will allow me to get into ketosis. And it’s a habit so tough to move away from it. I appreciate the feedback, especially since you struggled for so long!

    • Darya Rose says:

      Hi Monica,

      I’m thrilled to hear you’ve found something that is working for you. I didn’t mean to imply during the show that every single case of bingeing can be solved with emotional work. There are certainly biological conditions that require medical treatment. I just don’t think this applies to most low-grade bingers, and the idea that bingeing is a permanent personality flaw can be disempowering for many. I don’t think anything that I say applies to 100% of people.

      I know that weight loss can be a conundrum for many. Still, in my experience the far harder and more important work is maintaining the weight loss for 3, 5, 10, 20 years. The primary reason I encourage people to avoid strict diets is because it almost always backfires and results in weight gain in the long run. That said, everyone’s path is different and I truly hope you continue to have success. Please keep me posted.


  3. This is so helpful thanks

  4. Marc Granger says:

    HI Darya
    I love all your podcast. Ive listened to so many that Im trying to solve the issues with you. I try to predict what your advice will be and sometimes I get it right (sometimes). I enjoyed your podcast with Paul. Hes very smart individual. I too struggled with snacking after the family went to bed feeling I needed to have a reward after working all day. I felt I deserved some time for myself but I would snack during my alone time. So now what I do is just got to bed when everyone else does. I found Im not hungry when Im laying in my bed reading. Now my reward is how good I feel the next day having the extra sleep. I now look forward to going to bed 🙂 Hope this helps Paul.
    Thanks Darya for all your great advice.
    See you next podcast.

  5. Danielle says:

    This was an awesome podcast and I could relate to so much of what Paul says and does. I really admire how he is such an excellent thinker on the spot. He asks some really good questions, as does Darya (but that’s sort of a given). Overeating at night is by far the biggest obstacle between me and my goal weight.

    I ageee completely that being “fried” at the end of the day (work, kids, pets) is a huge trigger for me. Bingeing is my “treat” to myself.

    I related to the idea that I moralize my food. I often think, “I’ve been ‘good’ all day, so I have some calories to play with.”

    Like Paul, I don’t feel ill when I eat too much at night. Though I have noticed that my intensities are sometimes on overdrive the next day.

    I wondered if Paul regularly plans for a treat? From the interview it sounded like he only plans to eat healthy and treats happen accidentally. I find that I’m most satisfied if I plan for one treat at the end of the day.

    My current struggle is that I eat dinner around 6 and find that I want my treat right then. However, if I do that, I’m hungry again before bed. If I eat dinner, wait an hour and a half, then have my treat, I can make it to bed without additional food.

    Lastly, I just recently separated “my” food from all the kid food. I just CAN’T be looking for options in the pantry at night. No good has ever come from that! I’m looking at you: honey roasted nuts, chips, crackers, cereal, and teddy grahams.

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