Ah. This is an excellent question, and it really gets to the heart of transitioning to a life free from dependence on excess food. What we’re really craving is comfort and connection. Excess food is a horrible stand-in for genuine comfort and genuine connection. It feels like it “fills the hole” because it numbs us and distracts us from our true selves. Plus, we typically have formed quite a habit of heading to the refrigerator multiple times between dinner and bedtime.
Breaking those habitual patterns is key. Each of us needs to think deeply about what truly comforts us. Perhaps a bubble bath. Or curling up with a good book. If it’s winter time, a heating pad is nice. Or a cup of herbal tea. If it’s summer time, sitting outside can be lovely. Going for a walk. Painting, creating music, doing food prep for the week…these can be comforting activities. And what provides true connection? Invite a friend along for that walk. Call a family member or a dear friend on the phone. Pray. Meditate. All of these will fill the hole with something real—genuine connection. You could always go to bed early. When all else fails, make a gratitude list. Grateful hearts don’t eat.