I have found I do better if I avoid evening eating, so with the rare exception, I do. It's still a bit of a problem for me mentally sometimes, because I have to go downstairs for evening chores (feed the fire, feed the cats), which takes me through the kitchen, which reminds me about food.
Some of the things that help me are to make a practice of doing things that give me joy. For me, these are swimming and playing music; everyone's going to have their own list. Doing these things daily help me manage the emotions that I have dealt with in the past with food.
Another thing that helps me is cleaning my teeth. By the time I've brushed, used the waterpik, and flossed, I usually throw in washing my face and it seems to signal to me that the eating time of the day is over.
I also keep an electric tea-kettle up on a dresser with a box of tea, sweetener, a container of sliced lemon, and a big mug. Having everything together and easily available means I don't have to go into the kitchen and I don't have to search for these items, so a cup of tea is just a minute away. This can settle the odd tummy rumble and satisfy hunger on several different levels.
I also remind myself that I will be hitting the scale in the morning, and by that point I've usually got the evening in the bag. It's about creating routines, like a scaffold that will allow me to climb to safety, and whose routes I know by habit.
This might seem a bit silly, but I also have a practice of planning my outfits. After years of `does it fit/is it clean/is it in good repair' being my only standard, I've got more clothing options, which I found kind of overwhelming. So taking the time in the evening to try on clothing, see how this skirt looks with that blouse or sweater, etc., gives me more confidence about my appearance, serves as a distraction from the kitchen, and reinforces the progress I've made in weight loss.
I like your `colic' analogy. Like the crying child, our pain is real even if the cause is not apparent. And like the crying child, we are worthy of compassion, in this case from ourselves. Keep looking for ways to support yourself through this, analyze the problems and look for your own solutions, and you will look back on this with gratitude that you gave yourself this gift of restraint.
There have been many times I have faced my eat-or-not-to-eat choice, and frequently ate in response to the opportunity. Several months ago I realized that, given the opportunity to choose, I make crappy choices. So why put myself through that? Don't decide in the moment.
A few days ago I ate things available at work that weren't optimal for me. So--mega-choice? I don't eat it if I didn't bring it from home. Next day someone popped in my office with a menu and said, "We're ordering out . . ." I didn't even look at the menu this time, just said that I'd brought lunch, thanks.
There has never been a time when confronted with the late-night eating decision and having said no, that I regretted it the next day. That's my biggest tool right there--how will I feel about this later if I eat it now? After the pleasure of the moment has passed, will I be happy that I ate this?
There have been many times I've look back and thanked myself for having made a compassionate and clear decision to avoid the food. And slowly, that is the person I am becoming, one choice at a time.