Overpowering eating attacks at night, just before bed

Hi!

I am a very overweight T2 using insulin+every other diabetes medication imaginable.

This started a few months ago: I get an overpowering urge to eat the most dangerous high-sugar and high-carb garbage every night before going to sleep. This started a few months ago, and I don’t remember any obvious trigger. There is no obvious nightly trigger either. I invariably end up giving into it and all Hell breaks loose, both as to my BG for the next half-day at least, and also emotionally.

Has anyone ever been through this? Does anyone have any ideas?

Thanks.
M.

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Before I was diagnosed, I’d tried, over many years, all sorts of diets – and found they all “worked” (in terms of losing weight) and they all failed (in terms of keeping it off). For me, the failure was due to the diets being so opposed to the eating patterns I liked that, like you, I inevitably gave in to cravings and things fell apart from there.

Still before I was diagnosed - by about a dozen years, I decided to get my weight and, I thought, my health under control by following a diet of all the foods I liked - in “moderation.” What I decided up front that when I had a craving for an unhealthy or high-calorie (I wasn’t thinking about diabetes or carbs at the time) food that I would GIVE INTO the craving at the start – before it became an overwhelming desire – so that I could keep the amount of the treat in check. That worked great for me for weight-loss without backsliding. I lost all the weight I’d wanted, slowly, and kept it off for years. (Unfortunately for me, my healthy-weight and active lifestyle didn’t prevent the later diabetes diagnosis, but that is not the point here.)

While there are many that promote the idea of “carbs-addiction” and the idea that going “cold turkey” on a fully restrictive diet is the “most effective” approach, that may not be a universally successful method. For many people, completely restrictive diets result in the kind of cravings you describe. There is no one-size-fits-all solution. Sure, these foods are not the best things for your health; however, a small amount of a planned treat, even every day, is a LOT better than finishing off half a chocolate cake, because you cannot overpower the craving. I managed my weight for many years having a small ice cream sandwich every night before bed – it worked for me at that time and satisfied the need.

In my opinion, it’s better to have a well-considered treat (of course, a reasonable portion) that you can enjoy guilt-free, rather than letting the cravings build into a binge that will be both more harmful to your health and make you feel bad about yourself too boot!

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I think you will find it’s the carbs, the 10 minute video will explain it
This is what I would have liked to have known from day 1. I would cut the Sugars including fruit/juice and Starches, including breads, pasta, rice, potato etc
This gives a simple overview to how it works for me. The more carbs I eat, the more carbs I want. They don’t give up easy and it’s biochemical
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cEayi6IBjZw&list=PLCD72F4109EDC4BD8&index=6

an introduction to low carb

what to expect the first week, besides being hungry for the first 2 days, then it stops
https://www.verywell.com/getting-through-the-first-week-2242037

you may not need to go this low, but it will help

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There could be any number of sources for your hunger. Eating a large or carby dinner can result in high insulin levels and that can cause hunger. You could try eating a very low carb dinner such as meat/seafood and non-starchy veggies and see if that helps.

Since you are overweight you may have problems with Leptin, particularly if you have been following a calorie restricted diet you may have become leptin resistant. If you experience high leptin levels, this can be a source of hunger. Some people argue that eating a really large meal once a week can help improve leptin resistance. Others say that making sure you get a good night’s sleep helps. Do you sleep well? Do you have sleep apnea?

And finally you might fine certain medications help, the GLP-1 drugs (like Byetta, Victoza, etc) have been found to tamper down hunger and Smylin may help as well.

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I try to limit trigger foods in my house. My husband likes ice cream,. I told him stop buying chocolate flavors I love. And chips. Keeping them out of the house is very helpful to me. He has done this. I also make sure I exercise everyday. Nancy

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This video has a good section on leptin resistance

This rings a bell wirh me. I would always do great all day long. Morning and lunch. Through my work day I would chew gum. But I think I would not intake enough calories through my day and by the time I got home from work I would eat sometimes 1 hour. I would just eat and eat. This would cause so much emotional distress. I would feel bad with my sugars and then feel down. I try to have that evening snack just to catch me before I feel that way. That has helped. And the Boost Glucose Control drinks do help as well. Morning or evening snack.

Thanks for all the help, everyone!

What I have decided for the moment is as follows:
I’m going to try to be more strict about eating the four square meals a day which were the centerpiece of the original program recommended by the dietician/diabetes educator I had then,
I will try to keep some less harmful snack foods around,
I will try for the umpteenth time to persuade my family not to bring home the very most harmful trigger foods,
I’ll look at the movies (and maybe other sources) on leptin resistance, and
I may increase my dosage of Victoza from 2.4 to 3mg per day.

I’d rather wait to talk to the diabetologist/endo about increasing the dose of Victoza, but it’s considerably easier and faster to get an audience with the Pope than an appointment with my d/e. We have already talked about Victoza’s tendency to lose effectiveness, but his solution sounds very unpleasant.

Just because people asked:
I am morbidly obese, and
I don’t sleep well for many reasons, although my sleep apnea seems reasonably controlled.

Thanks again,
M.

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LOL, but I get it. I also live in an area which a genuine shortage of HCPs.

For me the cravings don’t seem to line up with a particular time of day; they can (and do) intrude whenever they feel like it. I follow most of the strategies here—not having the stuff in the house and available, frequent exercise, etc., etc.

The only thing I would add to the discussion is to fight the temptation to beat yourself up for doing it. It isn’t your fault. As the discussion illustrates, you have a lot of company. It’s something we all struggle with.

Is your BG low at the same time? Lows can drive hunger.

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Whenever I get the urge to eat something carb-packed (I have lost 16 pounds and counting since early June following a LCHF “lifestyle”), I take a walk around the block during which I think about how far I’ve come and how far I have yet to go, and how important it is that I keep myself as healthy as possible because I took on a responsibility to do so when I had my two wonderful children. Remembering that they are the most important reason I am doing this helps me immensely.

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It’s ridiculous, but it just didn’t occur to me to measure. It didn’t happen last night, but I assume that I will remember to measure next time it happens.

I think that I know the principle, and I’ll try to think of a way to apply it to myself. Thanks.

It is nice to have a little cheese last thing at night, it helps you sleep and might fix the munchies.

Nothing ridiculous about having a life that comes first. YDMV.

I know when I was having late evening lows, I had cravings.

I agree @BadShoe that was happening to me. I’m sure I was spiking after dinner then went low by bedtime, had to get up and eat becuz of cravings. I didn’t know at the time, wasn’t checking BG back then. Actually became hypo-unaware and still am, lost the cravings and shakes, now just get a little spacey if I get really low like in the 40s.

Hi MapleSugar,

I can only speak for my own experience, but I used to experience cravings–however–since adopting a low carb/ketogenic lifestyle, I rarely feel hungry. That said, I like the idea of “finishing” a meal with something sweet. This is usually a SF jello, a couple squares of dark chocolate (on rare occasion) or a herbal tea with stevia. I think another thing to do with my success is ensuring I drink 2 liters of water a day. I truly believe that makes me feel less hungry. With meals, I ensure the low carb veggie portion is very decent (flavoring it with good quality Parmesan cheese and butter), and keep the protein accurate to my personal needs and weight goals. It’s no exciting, but I basically eat the same things each day, and have sort of removed the need for food to fulfill some desire other than nutritional needs (to some extent–I’m still human!).

Best of luck to you in finding what works for you!!

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Please do, I agree entirely with BadShoe’s statement.

Check your meds, Ambien did that to me and I didn’t remember the binge until I noticed the evidence in the trash the next morning.

Wow, that is great weight loss!! :slight_smile: I’ve been doing LCHF since May (taking a month off in July) and have lost nadda. In fact, I’ve gained a few pounds. Not sure if that month off did a lot of damage or if I’m doing something wrong.