If I knew how to stop bingeing at night, I wonder if I would have needed gastric bypass RNY weight loss surgery.
I never understood the importance of having a night routine that was also a ritual. People who did that were high maintenance, or so I thought. Boy, was I wrong.
In all of my research on weight loss, self-care is the most repeated treatment. For mental health, too.
Maybe we should pay attention?
I’m usually last to the party, so you’re probably well aware of the benefits of self-care. But let’s also look at it from the perspective of how we can use it to help us reach our weight loss goals, too.
What Is Self-Care?
Self-care is the act of spending the time to replenish personal, non-food related needs.
If food fuels the body, and knowledge fuels the mind, then self-care fuels the spirit. Self-care, then is anything that you do that refills your cup.
Self-care can be a luxury trip to Aspen, or something as mundane as doing the dishes.
Whatever it is for you, it can really help you to stop bingeing at night. You just need to figure out what is your thing.
As we talked about in the post, I’ll Never Take Another Antidepressant Again, cortisol is the enemy and we can lower our levels through self-care.
In fact, when I’m in a deep depression spiral, doing the dishes might just be more beneficial to my spirit than that trip to Aspen. I’m always up for going up the mountain, though.
What Is Not Self-Care?
Self-Care is not selfish. It is not for people who are narcissists. Ironically, the narcissist’s may be the ones punishing you for self-care. We’ll explore that later, though.
For now, just know that self-care is a basic need for human beings – right up there with drinking water and breathing air. Successful people practice self-care regularly, and you should, too.
One of my favorite practices for self-care is in doing my night-time routine.
What Is A Night Time Routine?
A night time routine is made up of a series of seemingly insignificant tasks, that when done regularly, help reduce the effects of stress, promote healthy sleep, and ultimately, help with weight loss goals.
Small change can affect big results. So, in doing each task whenever you are able, and spend time really working to find joy in the smallest detail, this nightly ritual can be incredibly soothing.
This is because in treating each normally mundane task like it is the most important thing in the world sends a signal to your brain that You are important.
Spending quality time on yourself, to the smallest detail, and making even the most insignificant task worthy of your focused attention creates a foundation of worthiness.
That worthiness can help in just about everything, from keeping promises to yourself to how to stop bingeing at night.
If you think you are important enough to spend quality time with you give others permission to think that, too. It starts with you. And it will affect positive change in the weirdest places in your life.
I wish I’d known this sooner.
What Does A Night Time Routine Do?
A night time routine feeds the spirit. Food feeds the body. And knowledge feeds the mind. The mind often knows that the spirit is starving, but the body only knows how to eat to fuel itself. When we get confused, the spirit gets overfed with food it cannot even use.
There are three parts to each of us: body, mind, and spirit.
The spirit doesn’t seem to have the same importance as the other two, for many of us. But if the spirit isn’t calm, we can find ourselves trying to find peace through food.
A good night routine that we love and find real joy in will soothe the spirit, and drastically reduce the need to self-medicate with food.
Taking the time to go through every detail, as if each were the most special thing in the world, will force your mind to stop obsessing over the food. Transfer that ability to focus over to the task of your night time routine.
How Does A Night Time Routine Help Me Stop Bingeing At Night?
I can’t tell you how many people I’ve come across in either a gastric bypass support group or a food addiction support group where night bingeing is keeping them from their goal.
It’s Ok, you’re not alone. Not even close. That little fridge light calls us like moths to a flame. And here we come, fluttering as quietly as possible so we don’t give ourselves away.
All of the external distraction from the day is gone, and it’s just us. Alone in our heads, hoping for the sweet bliss of sleep. Instead, we get a nagging hunger.
Nagging? Burning? Scorching hunger? Yes. That’s the one.
It calls out for comfort. It needs something to soothe it, like an angry beast.
It wants ice cream.
But, then, when the pint is gone, we’re still not satisfied. And now we’ve got guilt and shame, and maybe a bit of an upset tummy. And then, we just can’t stop bingeing at night.
Why does this cycle go on every single night? How do we say no more?
Instead of giving our nights to food, let’s give our nights to ourselves.
I’ve finally accomplished this, after gastric bypass weight loss surgery and 5 years of practice. It might take you a few tries, but you’re a smart person, so I think you’ll do much better, faster than I did.
Here are the 8 steps in my night time routine:
1. Take A Shower or A Bath
Every single night, I take a shower or a bath. If I miss a night, then there is a high likelihood that I am depressed. And I have even more reason to take a shower or a bath.
Personal hygiene is one of the basic pillars of health, so even in a crisis, or especially in a crisis, take a shower daily.
You do not need to wash your hair every day, though, as I know there are some tender scalps out there and the verdict is out on a daily hair scrubbing. But that’s ok. You can wear a shower cap, or take a bath instead of a shower.
When you wash, go for the best smelling soaps you can find that you like the most. They do not need to be the most expensive. I like Vidal Sassoon body wash, and that goes for just around a dollar for a bottle.
This is not the antibacterial soap you use to actually cleanse your body. That step comes first, and then the smelly stuff you love comes second.
If you’re not feeling the shower, you can get a set of bath bombs. When I get to have a bath, there’d better be Bath Bombs involved.
And if I get variety in choice, even better! That’s why I love this box set from LifeAround2Angels Bath Bombs Gift Set 12 USA made Fizzies. There’s option, and every option is amazing.
2. Wear The Uniform
My son is only three, but just found the joy of slippers. He insists on having them on, and I wholeheartedly approve, because the floors are cold!
Personally, I think the sillier or more over the top, the better. These are your slippers, guys. Make yourself happy. You have no one to impress with them but your own self.
After the shower, I love pulling on my fluffiest robe, and slipping my toes into a pair of slippers.
If you’re supposed to dress for the job you want, then put me in the most glam robe and slippers, folks.
There is something to be said about wearing the uniform, though. When I am just in a towel, I don’t take my self-care as seriously.
When I’m in my robe and slippers, everyone knows it’s Mom Time.
Do something fun and get a fluffy pair like these from Crazy Lady. Maybe I just like the name, and relate too much to it? That’s ok with me…
The ensemble isn’t complete until you have a fluffy robe to go with. Jammies optional!
3. Pyromania? Check…
There is nothing better than a scented candle. Except one with a crackling wick. I heat the house with firewood, and there is something primal about having the wood burn that a wick just can’t compare.
However, any candle is better than no candle when doing self-care. The goal is to engage all of the senses, here. And bringing in an element like fire is just next level awesome.
It’s so easy to do! We all have candles just collecting dust in the house. If not, grab this Woodwick Vanilla Bean candle… with the wood wick.
I also love the candle collection at World Market. They have seasonal candles and the smell is just so potent for such a tiny, little thing.
4. Brush The Pearly Whites
I will probably never have white teeth. I love coffee too much for that, but the best toothpaste I’ve ever used is the Crest 3D White Brilliance 2 Step Kit.
This toothpaste literally gets my teeth 2 to 3 shades whiter. And I like to put it on first. I need to give that toothpaste the best chance possible to work.
There is something amazing about not being afraid of smiling with all of your teeth. For decades I had a dead tooth in the very front part of my mouth. Thankfully, I finally had a cavity, and was able to get the filling to cover it up. I smiled with all my teeth for weeks.
Knowing you have a great smile is one of the small changes, big impact things. Especially for such an affordable price.
5. Tingly Face Time
I’ve used Noxema for years and years. I love the way that it feels, and the eucalyptus proves it is working.
It is also incredibly effective at removing dirt and makeup.
And I get to scare the kids with the white face mask, so, there’s that fun aspect, too.
I like to put the Noxema Classic Clean Cleanser all over my entire face. On the eyelids, and under the nose. What a tingly treat for the senses! And that’s the goal – to satisfy the senses so the stomach shuts up.
6. Shave All The Things
I really hate razor burn. I mean, I REALLY hate razor burn. I would rather let me leg hair grow long enough for me to braid a pretty pink ribbon into than tolerate razor burn.
So, I spent a long, long time researching razors. And the winner? The best of the best?
This is fabulous! And it’s portable. Most of the time it lives in my purse. I’ll shave my legs in the car or in my office at work. I love this little shaver, and I think you will, too.
Bonus: They have one for the face that I use to clean up my chin whiskers! It doesn’t leave that 5 o’clock shadow, either.
7. Wash It All Off
Now, it’s time to scrub the teeth, and wash off the face cleanser. Everything should have had plenty of time to do the good work. And so now, I will get my washcloth wet with the hottest amount of water possible, and scrub my face.
By this time, I’m usually very relaxed. Nearly every piece of me is ready to go to sleep. It’s all been tended and received loving care.
It’s time for me to put my jammies on. I like the silky kind or the flannel kind, depending on the weather. I really like it when they match, but I’m not fighting any battles right now. So, if I have a clean pair, great. If not, a pair of pajama pants and a t-shirt do just fine.
The bathrobe and slippers come in really handy to go out to the kitchen really quickly for one last thing…
8. The Last Thing…
I am a little bit of a tea snob. So, you drink what you’d like, but I’ll be having Harney & Son’s Paris tea to take to bed. I like two lumps of sugar, and a splash of creamer in my hot tea.
Don’t knock it till you try it.
The sugar is good, because I’m telling my body that we are having something sweet. The tea helps to solve that final missing piece, which is the taste and drinking sensation (don’t forget there are taste receptors in the stomach that want to be satisfied, too).
I will sit in my bed, sip my tea, and look at my day-planner to see what I’ve got going on in the morning.
I’ll write in my journal if I feel the need, set my alarm, and roll over and go to sleep.
Create Your Own Night Time Routine To Stop Bingeing
This is my routine, and the things I use.
Your routine may look entirely different. We likely have different factors of our lives that will require you do something else.
The point here is to show you an example of how to turn a night time routine into your tool to stop bingeing at night.
It’s not going to happen immediately.
You’ll have to practice this over and over again until your brain understands.
Check out the blog How To Reprogram Your Brain For Weight Loss for more on that topic.
As always, Happy Weight Loss <3