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Why women with eating disorders go to bed early to avoid temptations

Posted by Mandy Donnison
on 10 May 2024

Roughly 1.25 million people in the UK have an eating disorder. This disproportionately impacts women, with the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence claiming this is around nine in ten of eating disorders. 

Binge eating disorder is the most common eating disorder and it is often brushed off as something that can be easily controlled if only the person would simply ‘find some motivation’ or ‘show some restraint’. This ignores the fact that all eating disorders have psychological issues at their root driving behavioural complications, and creating all kinds of physical health problems. Like any addiction, an eating disorder, like binge eating, can result in the feeling of guilt and shame.

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People who binge eat might feel a lack of control over their eating, often eating rapidly, impulsively, and until they are uncomfortably full. They may also feel strong negative emotions in regards to their eating, such as feeling depressed or disgusted with themselves.

Binge eating is often done in secrecy and can be an extremely lonely time in a person’s life, so the signs can be hard to spot. This is why it’s unsurprising that many people struggling with this disorder find it particularly difficult at night and choose to go to bed early to avoid the cravings. As it is a psycho-physical disorder, you’re unlikely to fully and healthily recover with just a physical ‘treatment’.

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As this week is Women’s Health Week, here are six tips on how you can beat your cravings at night:

Tips to beat your cravings (at night)

Use the evenings for a hobby

This can either be a new one that you have wanted to try, or one that has slipped through the eating disorder behaviours taking over. I personally used my evenings to work on my art and painted my way through some of the easier cravings. 

Share your cravings

You are not alone in this. When you feel a craving coming, try to talk to people about it. Sharing your feelings and emotions can make the problem feel lighter, and make you feel less alone in this.

Try to eat with company

Eating disorders are a mental as well as physical condition, so someone struggling with these issues is likely to be distant, detached, or isolated in group settings. Try to plan meals with friends and family to help you control the situation.

Practice self-care in preparation for the tough times

When you’re craving, you’re experiencing constant battles in your head, especially at night. Arm yourself by practising self-care and self-talk, so you feel more confident in making the right decision in response to your next craving.

Structured meal plans and times

Sounds simple, but having set meal times and knowing what you’re going to eat ahead of time can help you prepare yourself for those cravings. This also helps remind you to not miss key meals during the day.

Celebrate wins when they come

This is hard to do when battling with addiction. Every successful day in recovery should be celebrated and shared. Only you know how much goes into beating your cravings every day. It should be celebrated.

How can Delamere help?

At Delamere, we use a variety of techniques to work with cravings, but one that worked well for me in early recovery was the ‘3 D’s’: Delay, distract, decide.

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Cravings, although intense, only last a short period of time (generally 15-20 minutes). By delaying the decision to either binge or purge for a set time, you can take control. You can do this by using a distraction technique, such as calling a friend, going for a short walk, or reading a book before coming back to make the decision on whether to act on the cravings or not. 

Often, the craving will have passed or lessened and you will be able to make the decision not to binge/purge.

Need help?
Call us confidentially at any time to speak to a member of our team.

Call us now: 0330 111 2015
Understanding Valium addiction and its impact
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Understanding Valium addiction and its impact
Delamere’s holistic therapists discuss Valium addiction and its impact with advice on how to get help.
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Delamere Health Ltd
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About the author: Mandy Donnison

Mandy manages our admin, HR and finance functions here at Delamere. Find out more about Mandy on our team page.

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