Do you have a hole in your soul?
It’s that dark, empty, ravenous feeling that has nothing to do with actual hunger.
It saddens you on sunny days and drives you to your bed on rainy ones.
It makes you lash out at your loved ones, or retreat into isolation.
It tells you that it would go away if you only you managed to shrink your waist/tighten your booty/get rid of those wrinkles/snap up those awesome boots/snag that ideal job/land that hot, successful mate.
Here’s how I know:
You manage to slim down, or buy those great jeans, or jet off on that expensive vacation. Or you become emotionally healthy enough to find, and keep, a healthy relationship. Temporarily, the hole feels like it’s filled. You have a couple of minutes of satisfaction, or even a couple of months.
But then it comes back. That feeling of STARVING.
Because all of those other things are band-aids. They’re not what you really need.
Here’s why overeating and the hole in your soul go hand-in-hand. If you are emotionally starving, insatiable, feeling like nothing is ever enough, your feeling of lack will translate directly to binging.
For some people, it’s binging on drugs, or shopping, or sex. And for others – we know who we are – it’s food.
Have you ever felt that feeling of hunger that you know isn’t about physical hunger? You keep opening your refrigerator door, hoping you’ll see something there that will satisfy it. You don’t. You eat a handful of this and that, trying to assuage the feeling – a couple of almonds, a few spoonfuls of yogurt, some peanut butter, half a bag of chips. On bad days you find yourself driving to the store to load up on foods that will get you high.
That’s when you’re trying to fill the hole in your soul.
And filling it with food just doesn’t work.
What does it need instead?
How do you deal with the hole in your soul?
Do you find yourself regularly digging into pints of ice cream at 9 pm, or busting open a bag of chips at midnight?
I’ve got some news that you’ll want to hear. There’s a small, easy step you can take in the morning to kick that nighttime snacking habit to the curb.
Picture this – you’re rushing around frantically all day, arriving home in time to snarf down a hasty dinner and collapse on the couch.
Around 7 pm you hear the fancy chocolate bar in the cabinet calling to you. “Come to meee….” it says. “I’m the only fun thing in your day! You’ll feel so happy if you just take me out and look at me!”
You try to resist, but the calls get louder.
Within a couple of hours – or maybe a couple of minutes – you break down. You had planned to have just a taste, but before you know it, the whole chocolate bar’s gone. Then, whaddya know, the popcorn next to it is starting to look good too. By bedtime you’ve made a pretty good dent in the contents of your cabinet. You crawl under the covers beating yourself up, vowing to do better tomorrow.
There may be a very simple reason you’re driven to eat like this at night: you didn’t eat enough during the day. Here’s why eating the right kind of breakfast can eliminate the late-night munchies.
Your body is programmed to require a certain number of nutrients, and a certain number of calories during the day.
If you skip breakfast, your body is going to need to make up for it at some point – by forcing you to snack later on.
I promised you a 10-minute trick. Preparing breakfast, eating, and cleaning up can take even less time than that. Follow these three tips for a hearty and nutrient-dense breakfast, and notice whether your urges to nosh decrease.
1. Breakfast like a queen.
If you front-load your day, food-wise, you will probably not find yourself hungry after dinner. Try to eat breakfast like a queen, lunch like a princess, and dinner like a pauper. Remember, queens have both quantity and quality in their meals. Which brings us to…
2. Protein and fat are your friends.
Protein stabilizes your blood sugar and gives you energy. Fat keeps you fuller for longer (and it does NOT make you fat!!). In contrast, your body burns through carbs quickly, leaving you hungry an hour or two later. Use lots of protein and fat sources in your breakfast – try eggs, bacon, yogurt, cheese, milk and nuts – along with a side of carbs such as fruit, veggies, or grains. After breakfast you should feel full for at least 3-4 hours.
3. Plan ahead.
Do you head straight from the shower to work ’cause your fridge is empty? Simply planning ahead can make a huge difference in whether you end up on a late-night binge. Make sure you have good smoothie ingredients on hand, or hard boil some eggs the night before. Even a hunk of cheese, a handful of almonds, and a pear can make a great breakfast on short notice.