The No Late-Night Snack Experiment: Part III

Friday, June 9, 2017

DAY 6 9:30am

I keep expecting something to happen with this experiment. Like I’m going to have some big realization or revelation about myself. But I don’t know.

Wednesday night we didn’t drink. We ate dinner around 7:30pm and went to bed at midnight. I didn’t write because I didn’t get hungry or even tempted. Last night was even easier. Maybe because we didn’t end up eating until about 8:30pm. After dinner, we split a bottle of wine. I was a little nervous that it would make me want a snack. It sort of did, but again, not to the point that I needed to write about it. I was totally fine. I’m also surprised that I’m not more hungry as soon as I wake up. I just thought, since the last time I eat is 7:30pm, I’ll be starving as soon as my alarm goes off.

Because I think I should be hungry or maybe because I deserve something, since I still have that mentality, I’ve been popping five apricots as soon as I come downstairs in the morning. Today was the first day I didn’t, because I really want to honor my hunger. And I’m just not hungry yet. I don’t feel any different, physically. But it’s only been five days. I do feel a little better, mentally. Because after Day 1 I was afraid. I thought I might not be able to last a full week. Now I’m thinking that this might have to be my new way of being. 

But tonight will be a challenge. Steve and I are going to a friend’s birthday dinner. It’s a late dinner – we’re not meeting at the restaurant until 8pm – so like Tuesday night when we had Steve’s parents over, I know that I will not actually be hungry when I get home tonight. It would be different if I didn’t eat enough at dinner, but I won’t do that. I love going out to eat.

The factor that worries me is the drinking. I’m sure that I will have at least three glasses of wine tonight, and at most four. I’m giving myself a limit. I truly never need more than four glasses of wine, let’s be serious.

My plan (because my plans always work out so well) is to head right upstairs when I get home. Gotta get through that kitchen. I’ll immediately get ready for bed. Once in bed, I’ll write if I’m feeling anxious. I’ll even put my notebook right next to my bed before I leave. But I have to stress to myself, again, that if I write for a bit and I still feel hungry, I am allowed to eat. Even if I don’t think I should be hungry after such a late dinner. This should not feel like deprivation or a diet or punishment. If I write and I still feel hungry, I can eat something. Then I can see how I feel about it the next day. This is an experiment. This is learning. Whatever happens is OK – as long as I write first.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

DAY 7 1:15pm

Last day of the experiment! Feeling good. Last night could not have gone better.

Steve and I split a bottle of wine at home before we leave for dinner. During this time, I tell him my reservations about the evening, the anxiousness, and my plan to go straight to bed when we get home. As always, Steve is completely supportive and understanding.

At dinner, there are 10 of us, and there’s a lot of talk and catching up before we finally sit down to dinner. I’m almost finished my first glass of wine, which is really my third, and feel too hungry. And starting to feel a little drunk. I reel it in. I slow down. I stop drinking.

Steve orders me another glass of wine, but it sits there for a while. I take my time with the first one. We all split a bunch of appetizers, then Steve and I split an entree and an appetizer. I eat the stuff I really like, and don’t finish the stuff that is just OK. Eventually, I finish my second (4th) glass of wine, and it’s a little after 11pm. Time to go home. I feel fine. Not fine, I feel good. Not drunk, not overly full but still full, and a little tired.

Once home, Steve asks if I’d like another glass of wine. Sure, I say, before heading into the bathroom. While I’m in the bathroom, I realize that I really don’t want another glass of wine. When I get out, Steve is sitting on the couch, watching the basketball game. Did you pour the wine yet? “No, not yet.” Oh, good. I don’t think I want a glass. “OK, I’ll just have a beer.” Steve grabs a beer while I head upstairs to change and get ready for bed. I come back down to watch the rest of the game with him. I’m very aware of the fact that I’m not hungry and I don’t want a snack. But I am tired. We go to bed as soon as the game ends.

I did it! And it was easy! Even after four glasses of wine! I really can’t believe it.

This morning, I wake up easily when my alarm goes off at 9am. Steve and I go to our respective gyms for a 10:30am class, and I feel great.

But today is another drinking day. We’re going to head down to the pool around 2:30pm to drink in the sun. A perfect Saturday afternoon. Then we’ll make dinner together and probably go to bed early. I’m a little nervous about the late-night snack attack, but only a little. I’m not terrified of it anymore. I think the thing that has been the most helpful is that I’m not depriving myself. I haven’t once said, I’m not allowed to eat anything after dinner. I know it’s totally mental, but it’s taken so much weight off me. Knowing that I will honor my hunger and eat when I’m hungry is such a comforting thing.

At the beginning of this, I was really hoping for some kind of revelation. For something inside me to break open and for me to realize, all along, this is why I’ve been doing this. That it would all make so much sense.

But there has been no moment like that. No revelation. From the beginning, Steve said that it’s just a habit. I tried to explain to him that yes, it for sure is a habit, but it’s more than that. I still believe that it is much more than just a bad habit, but it seems that the power of habit can be an incredibly strong thing.

My success this week has been thanks to writing down my feelings (vomiting them onto the page, really), honoring my hunger, and the support of my incredibly loving boyfriend. I haven’t seen any physical changes, but mentally, I feel so much better. Stronger. Hopeful.

Similar to how I can’t go back to dieting, I don’t think I can go back to mindless late-night snacking. I think that this experiment will become a life practice. It feels a little daunting, but exciting.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

2:45pm

Well, I made it. Seven whole days. Yesterday Steve and I drank by the pool in the late afternoon.

We have dinner at about 7pm, and then at about 9pm we have some dessert. There’s a couple bites left each of the Jimmy Fallon Tonight Dough (ice cream), so we go bite-for-delicious-bite on that. We have leftover carrot cake in the freezer, so we decide to have that, too. Steve gets it for us while I set up a movie for us to watch.

Steve starts to walk over to me with one tiny plate of one tiny piece of carrot cake. Are you serious? We’re sharing? Steve laughs at my reaction. “Yes.” We’re sharing that tiny little measly piece of cake?! “What, you want your own?” Yes! Of course I want my own. “You only need a few bites.” I know I only NEED a few bites, but I WANT a whole piece. “Do you want me to get you your own piece?”

I practically growl at him as I take my fork. No. This is fine.

I rarely eat dessert unless it’s a special occasion. Tonight we were both in the mood for dessert and it felt especially warranted after a somewhat light dinner of homemade chicken caesar salad. So since I am having dessert, I want to go big.

But it’s true, I don’t need to. Infuriatingly, Steve is right. Four bites of ice cream and four bites of cake is a perfect dessert. Physically, I’m perfectly content. Emotionally, I want to throw a temper tantrum because I didn’t get as much as I wanted.

Steve and I settle in to watch a movie but 30 minutes in, Steve is out cold. I’m wide awake with my last glass of wine 10:30pm, so I stop the movie and continue the show I’ve been watching on Netflix: 13 Reasons Why.

I watch for about two and a half hours while Steve continues to sleep peacefully on the couch. I think about opening another bottle of wine, because I’m still so awake, but decide against it because I have yoga at 10:30am. And besides, I must be tired. Even if I don’t feel like it.

I also think about a snack. But a quick check-in tells me that I’m not actually hungry. Plus, if I want a snack, I have to write first, and I really just don’t feel like it right now. It’s also helping that Steve is here, even though he’s asleep. If he went upstairs to bed, I might.

So I continue to watch TV a bit longer, and finally feel tired. I wake up my sleeping Steve, and we go to bed.

…The Late-Night Snack Experiment was a success!

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