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  #1   ^
Old Thu, Oct-17-02, 08:33
orchidday's Avatar
orchidday orchidday is offline
Posts: 3,589
Plan: Atkins
Stats: 286/261/160 Female 5'8"
Progress: 20%
Location: Florida
Default Nocturnal Eating

This is a tough thing to talk about but I was hoping that others here in the Triple Digit Club might be experiencing the same thing.

I often get up in the middle of the night and eat. I think I did it twice this last week. Usually I remember, but sometimes I forget until I see a spoon or something. Thankfully, my household is on Atkins so there is NOTHING in this house that is not on Atkins. But I feel really bad about this behavior. I think I have done it most of my life. I remember as a teenager (all 140 pounds of me), I got up and took some chocolate chip cookies out of the kitchen and was going back to my room when I ran into my father, in the dark, in the hall. I started screaming it was such a shock. I was put on two weeks restriction for taking the two cookies (we were never allowed to get into the frig or cupboards without permission). This nightime eating really disturbs me. I don't think I am hungry. I remember other periods of my life where it was worse than it is now.

To my friends here on the forum - It has been two weeks since I did the interview and I still haven't heard anything. I am not taking that as a good sign. I haven't gotten the rejection letter yet. I have been extremely depressed about this. Everyone in my life offers advice and I just don't want to hear it. I feel like crap. Thanks for listening. Cindi
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  #2   ^
Old Thu, Oct-17-02, 09:11
wantolose wantolose is offline
New Member
Posts: 16
Plan: adkins
Stats: 240/225/150
Progress: 17%
Location: Indiana

orchidday -

please don't be so hard on yourself!!!!

With your strict upbringing, with regards to food, it doesn't surprise me that your subconcious (sp?) acts out once & awhile. I'm not a Dr - but it is plain to see that - and it may be the root of something more serious - but the main thing right now is to not beat yourself up over it!!!

Have you tried a bed-time snack? maybe this will 'satisfy' your need and you won't have these episodes....

When I wasn't LC-ing - just normal dieting - pure hell - I would get up in the middle of the night - and be awake - and go into the kitchen and find something sweet - lofat Hostess cupcakes - frozen mostly! - I think I did this because I felt 'deprived' - like everyone else got to have a treat - why can't I.......

I wish I could help more, but you aren't alone, and I'm sure there are others that can offer more/better advice.

Good Luck!
Take care,
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  #3   ^
Old Thu, Oct-17-02, 09:48
Sherry B's Avatar
Sherry B Sherry B is offline
Registered Member
Posts: 485
Plan: Atkins
Stats: 282/220/166
Progress: 53%
Location: Santa Rosa California
Default two weeks?

Two weeks restriction seems pretty harsh to me for taking 2 cookies! It sounds to me like you were pretty harshly affected by that as a child. Parents can create in their kids all sorts of problems by having "weird" rules.

It sounds to me like you are subconsciously "rebelling" against the deprivation of being on a diet, with the sort of background you have had with your family it isn't surprising that being on a diet right now would be bringing out those old rebellious tendancies.

I don't eat in the middle of the night, but I dream about it. I'm not sure if I'm dreaming and feeling guilty about something I "shouldn't have had" or if I'm enjoying the pleasure of eating in my sleep that I deny myself in waking life.

Last night in my sleep I had a "fruit smoothie" at least that was what it was supposed to be, in the dream it was some sort of liquid with a scoop of ice cream in it, and some fruit on a stick underneath. The lady at the store handed it to me and after I had the scoop of ice cream in my mouth she told me "Oh I was going to blend that up for you".

Too late, I had already eaten it. and the liquid was some sort of coffee which I hate the taste of anyway. So I'm dreaming "Why am I even eating this? It's nasty."

Probably had to do with food that I had yesterday and didn't need, didn't particularly want, but it was given to me and I ate it and then wondered why I had done so when it wasn't low carb food.

I think that while we sleep our minds work out conflicts, sometimes they work them out as dreams, sometimes as actions while we are still half asleep.

It sounds to me like you deeply resented the tight rein your family had on the food at your house when young, and your mind worked out the solution while you were asleep.

Eating is a natural thing, children shouldn't be made to feel like they are doing something wrong by eating, but you were made to feel that way, so a conflict developed in your mind toward food.

Now that you are trying to restrict yourself, that conflict is coming out again while you sleep. And since you said yourself that you don't always even remember getting up in the night to eat, it indicates to me that you don't get up to eat because you are hungry, but more because your mind percieves it as the solution to the "restrictions" of the diet.

I had a friend once who described to me a sleep walking episode she had. A woman had moved in with them to help with the housework and as a result Ruth lost her own bedroom to this woman. Her sleep walking episodes involved going to the door of her former bedroom and knocking, waking the woman up and then just standing there. Obviously she deeply resented this woman's intrusion into her space.

It is my guess that something similar is happening to you. Being on this diet has triggered childhood memories and reactions are similar. I'm sure that you don't "need" the food in the middle of the night, you just need to feel like you can control what you can and cannot eat.
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  #4   ^
Old Thu, Oct-17-02, 10:11
Zuleikaa Zuleikaa is offline
Posts: 16,850
Plan: Mishmash
Stats: 365/320.0/160 Female 67
Progress: 22%
Location: Maryland, US


Have you thought that the feeling could simply be thirst?

Reports have said that we are constantly underhydrated and that we don't know our bodies signals for thirst and take it as hunger!

There is a thread here that drinking water up to bedtime has actually helped some lcers lose more weight!

I drink a gallon of water or over a day but I'm going to drink more water a night and see what happens.

Just a thought.
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  #5   ^
Old Thu, Oct-17-02, 12:04
Tigra1965's Avatar
Tigra1965 Tigra1965 is offline
Senior Member
Posts: 396
Plan: May 03 CAD
Stats: 233/231/150
Progress: 2%
Location: East Yorkshire, England


Like the others on this thread I would say - dont punish yourself over this nighttime eating.

I am also a night time eater. Sometimes I can go for days without waking up, then other times I wake up every night at around 3.30am ish. For this reason I always make sure I have something low carb in the fridge - I've even been known to eat Jelly and cream at that time. but hey as long as its low carb I'm not worried.

After all if you were a night shift worker - what would you do ? You'd eat !!! I really would not worry about it, especially since you have an Atkins household - which is more than I have.

Give yourself a pat on the back for getting through all of this, including your interview and remember that you have friends here.

Take care and best wishes
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  #6   ^
Old Thu, Oct-17-02, 12:54
suze_c's Avatar
suze_c suze_c is offline
Registered Member
Posts: 1,082
Plan: SuManKins
Stats: 321/249/221 Female 64 inches
BF:Let's not go there
Progress: 72%
Location: Midwest Flatlands
Post Sleep-Eating Info & LC'ing

Sleep eating or nocturnal eating disorder is a parasomnia,or a disorder that disrupts sleep, sort of along the same lines as sleep talking or sleep walking. I have found several references and articles on it, browsing the web, and have included a few of them here.Stress seems to play a high role in this... maybe keep track of what stressors are going on, and the relation to the incidences of sleep eating.There are also several other causes,and it may be that one would fall under another category, including medical conditions and hypoglycemia. I have also heard that sleep eating occurs when the person is not getting enough caloric intake in the daytime hours. Anyhow~ I hope that some of what I have found may be able to give you some answers.

Sleep Eating Article info Nocturnal Eating Syndrome Sleep Eating Discussion

Sleep eating: Disorder victims hide deeper issues
Published on Thursday, April 11, 2002

Susan Powell
Kansas State Collegian

Ever stumbled out of bed, gazed at the mirror and noticed a chocolate mask covering half your face? No, you weren't the victim of your roommate's boredom. You were probably sleep eating.
Sleep eating is a parasomnia (a disruptive sleep-related disorder). It's basically sleepwalking with a side of fries.

In fact, sleepwalking and sleep eating are similar in many ways. Sleep eaters, like sleep walkers, are at risk of self-injury during an episode. They might feel excessively tired during the day and they tend to be emotionally distressed, angry or anxious, states the Web site

Sleep eaters, like emotional eaters, use food to cope with daily or deep-seeded stressors. The only difference between these compulsive eaters is sleep eaters are unconscious while they binge.

Sleep eaters not only are prone to consume those precious calories we work so hard to shed ("we" being that small percentage of health conscious Americans), they also are at risk of choking while eating and cutting or burning themselves when preparing their food.

The type of food these somnambular chefs prepare are usually either high-sugar or high-fat content and often strange in combination. A sleep eater might spread peanut butter on her hotdog, or dip potato chips in mayonnaise (oh wait, that's my dad).

So, who is possessed by nocturnal noshing tendencies? The average sleep walker is a young woman in her mid to late 20s.

It's best to lock up your toiletries underneath the bathroom sink if you suspect your roommate is stricken with this unconscious hunger. Sleep walkers don't confine themselves to the kitchen, or to food, for that matter. reported many sleep walkers eat non-food items as well. A woman was found cutting a bar of soap and eating each slice as if it were cheese.

Sleep eaters are unaware of their behavior; so much of it goes unnoticed. So, if you're wondering where your keys are, I have an idea where to look.

Although this disorder affects only 1 to 3 percent of the population, that population is concentrated on college campuses around the nation.

Although the disorder still is somewhat mysterious, episodes of sleep walking usually are linked to stressful situations. Also, since many parasomnias run in families, sleep eating might be genetically linked as well....
And I thought that the following, that I copied out of the last link, is especially of importance to LC'ers.
For an adult, it is important to first recognize that the behavior is not normal. (If the pattern of eating at night has been persistent for a long time, a night eater may only complain of insomnia and weight gain.) Secondly, a night eater should schedule an appointment with a physician. Night eating may be the result of a medical condition or hypoglycemia, both of which can be treated. If not, the habit of eating in the middle of the night can be broken with behavior modification and/or stress reduction. Eating frequent small meals during the day beginning in the morning, reducing carbohydrate intake, and increasing protein intake before bedtime are diet patterns that may help. Protein metabolizes slowly and will stabilize blood sugar levels during sleep. Contrary to protein, sugary snacks raise the blood sugar quickly, then cause it to plunge. So, avoid sweet foods before bedtime.

Last edited by suze_c : Thu, Oct-17-02 at 13:03.
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  #7   ^
Old Mon, Oct-21-02, 07:27
orchidday's Avatar
orchidday orchidday is offline
Posts: 3,589
Plan: Atkins
Stats: 286/261/160 Female 5'8"
Progress: 20%
Location: Florida

I have really been thinking about the replies to my post, some excellent things for me to think about and digest. I really value the triple digits club as a place to be genuine and discuss things that really matter. Thank you all for being there! Cindi
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  #8   ^
Old Mon, Sep-27-04, 01:51
cognito cognito is offline
New Member
Posts: 1
Plan: none
Stats: 63/54/50 Female 1,60
Default suffering from nocturnal eating

Hi guys,
I am also suffering from nocturnal eating since I was 15. First of all, I'd like to say that everybody in my family is nocturnal eating. They consider it quite normal but I think that this behavious is not normal at all. So I am trying to stop it. Now , I am trying to discover how and due to which reasons I took up this habitude. If I didn't feel a bloating stomach and severe pains in my stomach,I could have considered it normal. However, these pains are killing me in the morning. Most of the time, I am dehydrated and my sleepiness is extended throughout the day. and also I sleep more than I need when I binge in the middle of the night. In fact, I read this discussion site a month ago and many other sites on the web with redars to nocturnal eatign and I figured out the main reasons which breed this kind of behaviour. Thus, for one month I didn't really eat in the night. However, these days I am feeling over stress and it began again.
I had been always chubby since my infancy. I really love eating. In my childhood, my family started to warn me about my weight. So thereafter the will of eating is associated with a sense of guilt in my mind. While I was preparing myself for university entrance exam, the amount of stress doubled. Accordingly,the number of nights when I binged increased and I gained lots of weigh. Then I broke up with a guy, who I regarded as the love of my life. Then he started to go out with a girl thinner than me. I was thinking like that: "Oh, I am a very succeded student, I can achieve anythingbut ı can not achieve to lose wight"
ın view of all these points, I reason that this reaction is due to many reasons. And I believe that it is quite psychological. All I need to do is sto relieve all the things that I stuffed in my subconscious and discover my symbols. If anybody would like to share his/her idea about this matter, you are welcome and I will appreciate your efforts in communicating your views to me
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