Emotional eating, the morning after

Emotional eating, the morning after

In victory, you deserve champagne. In defeat you need it.
– Napoleon Boneparte

Ever noticed mood changes on the day after the night before a few too many drinks? Perhaps you’ve been out a few nights in a row. You feel off kilter and not just because you’ve got a headache.

Somehow the aspirin doesn’t quite sort you out… you need something else. 


The reason why you’re feeling low is likely to be your serotonin levels are a mess – alcohol is basically sugar-in-disguise – you’ve been bingeing. 

Now you’re crashing and your mind is working hard to get your body back somewhere near balance.

The mind’s job is to move you away from pain towards pleasure and so that’s why you’ll crave sugary drinks. And food. Lots of food. Not broccoli either. Funny, that.

Of course sugar does have a practical purpose – it boosts serotonin. This is why you crave carbs around your period – hormone fluctuations can mess with your serotonin too. So perimenopause and menopause will impact on your serotonin levels when estrogen drops.

Of course, the problem with white carbs is they only work for a few hours, like pain medication. Three hours later and you need more.

It’s not just the wine and Netflix evening that messes up your healthy eating aspirations, it’s the day after too.

So how do you boost your serotonin levels effectively without plunging off into sugar spiking bingeing.

There are complex carbs that do the job. Sweet potato, oatmeal, quinoa, lentils are all ideal. All you need is 30g, according to Dr Judith Wurtman, author of The Serotonin Power Diet.

If you want to get them into your bloodstream fast, eat them without protein or fat, as this slows down digestion.

Nutritional cures for a hangover are one thing. But addiction recovery expert and yoga teacher, Tommy Rosen, has linked poor diet to other addictions. He has first-hand experience of dependency. In conversation with Dr Mark Hyman, medical director of the UltraWellness Centre and best-selling author, Tommy Rosen linked his own progression into addiction with a poor early diet. Plenty of highly-processed preserved meats, lots of sugary foods and absolutely no vegetables were his staples growing up.

Dr Hyman said there is certainly evidence that while some people are satisfied with one glass of wine, others need far more to achieve the same level of satisfaction and that may be linked to a sugar-heavy childhood diet.

If you’ve grown up eating all the wrong foods it doesn’t mean you’re destined to be an addict, but it’s likely that your brain is more familiar with the highs and lows associated with sugar rushes and crashing and so you may even find the highs and lows of alcohol, cigarettes or drugs more familiar than frightening.

Not having your cake and eating it too

Not having your cake and eating it too

‘Pour some sugar on me, in the name of love,’
Def Leppard

Doughnuts… ice-cream… black forest gateaux… cookies… Belgian triple chocolate chip cookies dipped in chocolate…

If your mouth is watering just reading those words then you’ll have a thing for sugar. I mean who doesn’t, right?

But for some of us, sugar-lust can get out of control – and never more so when we’re feeling low.

Emotional eating is rarely triggered by having a great day. It’s triggered by feelings that bring us down. Like feeling judged, feeling sad, feeling lonely, feeling less than in balance…

Sometimes the strangest things can throw us – and before we know it we’re stood in the kitchen, fridge door open and scanning for the foods that satisfy our personal craving needs.

Of course, a Rapid Transformational Therapy (RTT) session will help you identify what happened in your past that created these associations. 

Reframing these associations in hypnosis can be incredibly powerful because the subconscious is then on board with what you want. It stops the ‘go on, eat the cake, cake makes you happy’ mantra because the whole of the mind – conscious and subconscious – understands that it was never really about the cake. 

The mind’s job is to move you away from pain towards pleasure. Once the mind understands that the craving is triggered by a memory, the need for the cake evaporates.

Let me give you an example. On my 18th birthday my mum took me to London. A big treat. We had lunch in a pizzeria in the Brompton Arcade and in the afternoon mum bought me a glass necklace in Harvey Nichols as my present. There, we went to the cafe for a drink. 

While I found us a table she bought us three slices of cake each, plus fizzy drinks. I remember remarking on the amount of cake she’d bought, but I also felt duty bound to eat it all with her. You never left anything on a plate in our house. My parent were World War II children, food had been rationed in the UK and going hungry was not unusual. Food was not to be ‘wasted’. Besides, leaving any would have made me ungrateful and I didn’t want to spoil the day.

Children look to their parents constantly for cues on how to behave. ‘Food as a reward’, ‘over-eating as a privilege’ are both powerful messages.

Did this one incident turn me into a cakeoholic? Not entirely, but it was key and it was reinforced with lots of ‘cake = rewards’ messaging over the years beforehand and so my ‘sugar = reward’ thinking was a sealed fate.

Now I understand that these scenes are really about love. The cake is merely the messenger. Connecting to the memory of love is just as powerful. And my subconscious understands that now too.

The need to binge can be complex, but it is invariably about recreating an emotion or sometimes pushing one away.

Understanding is power, but understanding in hypnosis is a phenomenal power because the whole mind is engaged in your desire to change.

I now hear myself say ‘No thank you, I don’t really like cake.’ Because really it’s just a mush of sugar and fat that makes me feel a bit giddy and then slightly sick.

If you want this kind of change for you, contact me for a free first consultation.