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Hi! I am 36 yrs old and I have a real problem with binge eating in the evening right before I go to bed.  This is the majority reason I have gained weight.  I am seeing a counselor for this..
I have read that people shouldn't eat anything after 7pm.  That would be very hard for me to do at this point because my stomach growls around 10pm.  My primary care doctor suggested I eat some fruit at the same time instead of the snacks.  Do you agree with this..or do you think one should go "cold turkey" and not eat after 7pm?  If I don't eat at 10..I get so hungry that its difficult to sleep since my body is used to eating a meal.  Any comments suggestions are appreciated.

Answer
Hi Donna,
It is really great that you are seeing a counselor to help you reclaim your power over food!  The key to recovery is to begin to trust yourself again.  You must learn to listen and respond lovingly to your body’s hunger and fullness signals.  In terms of your bingeing at 10:00 at night: if you are physically hungry (and not thirsty) it is important that you satisfy, but not stuff, that hunger.  Some things to consider:  are you eating enough during the day and early evening or do you restrict during the day and then get too hungry at night?  Are you eating enough protein and complex carbs to keep you satisfied? If you are actually physically hungry at 10:00 do you eat more than what is necessary to make you feel physically satisfied or do you eat past the point of satisfaction? Another thing to consider is to be ever mindful of the consequences of different foods.  Food is not good or bad or right or wrong; it just has consequences in your body.  I often suggest that my clients keep a food and feeling chart  noting how hungry (on a scale of 1-10) they were before they started eating, check in with their hunger and fullness signals during the meal and stop eating when they are comfortable. Then rate their hunger/fullness levels again.  I also have them note how they feel physically, emotionally, and mentally half an hour after they are done eating.  This way they start to become very aware of how different food affect them and they can start to make food choices based on how they want to feel after having eaten. If you find that you are eating when you re not physically hungry or past the point of satisfaction that’s when you need to sit and ask yourself “What would I be doing if I wasn’t thinking about/eating food? What kind of nurturing do I really need right now? What was I thinking/doing/feeling before I started eating?” Also if you are eating high carb/sugary foods at night and you have a “sensitivity” to those kinds of foods,  it could be that your body’s blood sugar rises then drops too quickly and then you actually end up physically craving more sweets/carbs… it’s kind of like you keep eating and feel full but empty or not satisfied if you know what I mean??  If you are really having a hard time with getting your actual physical hunger under control it may be helpful to consult with a nutritionist.  (I like to refer my clients to a nutritionist who works from a non-diet/ mindfulness approach.) You could ask your pcp or counselor for a referral.
I hope this was somehow helpful….
All the Best!
Louisa

Bariatric Surgery

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Louisa Latela, MSW,LCSW

Expertise

I can answer questions related to emotional eating.

Experience

I have been working with persons struggling with food/body/weight issues for nearly 2 decades. I assist people in understanding the role compulsive eating and excess weight has played in their lives, developing new self-nurturing living skills, and learning to see themselves through kind and compassionate eyes. I facilitate a support group for persons who have had weight loss surgery and are at least 10 months post-op. I also run an in-person and telephone support group for anyone struggling to gain control of compulsive eating behaviors (for more information you can visit my website www.louisalatela.com) I am also a My Self Design Program provider (www.myselfdesign.com). I speak to Bariatric Support Groups throughout the tri-state area.

Organizations
National Association of Social Workers Alph Delta Mu: National Social Work Honor Society Academy for Eating Disorders

Publications
I have a column in WLS Lifestyles Magazine: Soulful Living I am an expert blogger for www.lapbandtalk.com and www.wlslifestyles.com I have also had articles published in Beyond Change I've written an e-workbook Live Your Highest Good: Make Peace With your Body and Food. (www.liveyourhighestgood.com)

Education/Credentials
Masters of Social Work from Rutgers University

Awards and Honors
Recognized by Philadelphia Magazine as a "Top Doc for Women in Eating Disorders".

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