Written by Jenn Hand, Holistic Nutritionist, Board Certified Health Coach, NBC-HWC

How can you stop overeating at night without using tons of willpower?

Let’s talk about how to stop overeating at night.

First, do you get to the end of a “good” day with food and it all seems to go downhill after dinner?

That used to be my biggest problem….

I’d try SO hard to be good and conscious of what I was eating during the day and then all hell seemed to break loose at night. No matter what I did, I didn’t know how to stop overeating at night!

This is one of the biggest struggles I hear from clients, too. So how do you start to “control” your cravings at night so you don’t end up bingeing?

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Here are 3 things you can do to help stop overeating at night:

1. Make sure your meals during the day are satisfying.

There is a direct correlation between satisfaction and eating “balanced” aka eating “normally

If you’re restricting at all during the day or eating a lot of light or diet foods, you are much more likely to binge at night.

Why is this? Because when you are restricting, it is freaking HARD.

It’s like walking on a tightrope…rigid, punishing, no room for error. And realistically, it’s just not possible to sustain the pressure you put on yourself to stay on that tightrope! But here’s the deal: if your meals are satisfying, you don’t need willpower to stop overeating at night.

How can I take care of and nourish myself right now?

Restricting isn’t necessarily a full-blown diet. It can be verrrrrry sneaky and can come in the form of thoughts like…

“I need to eat really healthy today”

“Today is it. I’m getting back on track, I swear!”

“I’ve gotta eat perfectly today because I have to fit into this outfit on Friday”

“I need to eat as clean as I can”

“This weekend, I’ll be out of town and know I’ll have a lot of junk. I’m going to eat only health foods today/this week”

None of those thoughts are that “diet-y”. But they are forms of restrictions. (I told you it can be a sneaky little bugger!)

So be on the lookout for these thoughts. If you catch yourself thinking something restrictive, replace it with “how can I eat balanced today?” Shifting into a mindset of balance automatically takes you out of restriction!

You no longer look at it as good and bad, but shift into “how can I take care of and nourish myself right now?“

When you are truly satisfied with what you are eating, you are much less likely to entertain the idea of overeating after dinner!

So now is a good time to see whether you need all those food rules, or whether they might be holding you back.

2. Look at the emotional component of food: What do you want the food to do for you?

Looking at the WHY behind eating is a great start to begin to let go of bingeing. 

What are you really wanting from the food?

There are a million reasons why we use food. But look at this situation specifically. What is the big reason you are using food?

Hint: for a lot of women, it is reward.

Rewarding yourself for the day being done, working hard, meeting deadlines, cooking dinner, putting kids to bed and finally, finally, finally…the food becomes a way to reward yourself. To actually spend some time on YOU instead of catering to everyone else in your life every minute of the day.

It could also be comfort.

Soothing your frazzled nerves from a stressful day. It could be relieving loneliness, filling an emptiness or unhappiness inside, or wanting pleasure. 

What is the big reason you are using food? Hint: for a lot of women, it is reward.

You see, you don’t just stop bingeing, you do something else instead.

You uncover WHY you’re using food and begin to experiment with learning how to fulfill those reasons with something else.

Does that happen overnight?


But if you commit to exploring the reasons why you’re using food and looking at how to get what it is you really want…this is a huge part of the transformation in this journey!

My view of bingeing is that it ends up falling away as it no longer serves you.

You don’t just make another rule to stop bingeing…you learn how to get your needs met on a deeper level so that you don’t NEED to overeat to fill the need anymore.

3. Make time to transition.

In the Normal Eaters Club, we talk a lot about the importance of transitions.

If we’re in the flurry and chaos of the day, we continue to feel frazzled, overtaxed and stressed out.

If we never stop and pause, it seems like the day is just one long, endless day of chaos.

We need time to move into the different components in our days. This is how you begin to switch habits. So maybe your transition is to come home from work every day and instead of jumping into making dinner and cleaning the house, you sit on the couch with a cup of tea for 10 minutes.

Or  you go for a walk, snuggle with your pet, read a few pages of a book or listen to a soothing song that you love.

Whatever it is for you, it can help to create some sort of ritual to transition into the next part of your day. Creating a few minutes to transition allows you to move from work mode to home mode. Or mom mode to me mode. Or busy mode to relax mode.

It gives you some breathing space to pause and get in touch with what it is you really need. It gives you a few minutes to let go of the day and move into evening.

Many women who are trying to figure out how to stop emotional eating or overeating at night, get stuck thinking that it’s all about discipline and rules.

But in fact, you often need to be gentle with yourself rather than more strict. Making time to transition from one activity to the next is a gentle way to take care of yourself and prevent a binge later in the evening.

If you’d like to explore deeper, check out the “How to Stop Overeating at Night Challenge” by CLICKING HERE!

I’d love to hear from you. Which one of these 3 most resonates with you and how can you incorporate it into your week? Share in the comments below!

⚪ How to Get Off the Diet Roller Coaster
⚪ 7 Myths of Weight Loss
⚪ If You’re Not Dieting, How Will You Lose Weight?


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About the Author: 

Jenn Hand has been helping women like you become normal eaters since 2015.

She’s worked with thousands of women, helping them to balance their bodies, end bingeing, stop obsessing over food, and start feeling amazing again.  As a board-certified health coach and holistic nutritionist, Jenn knows how to support you in making real positive changes that last.

Her articles have been published on Mind Body Green, Tiny Buddha, Thrive Global and other local and global media platforms. She’s the author of How to Be a Normal Eater and the creator of The Normal Eater’s Club program. Listen to Jenn’s advice and tips on the Cake Doesn’t Count Podcast, or read more of her articles for free on the Food Freedom Blog.


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