How to Stop Overeating When You’re Feeling Tired.

Do you lose all self-control and overeat when you are tired? 

You may be stuck in a “fatigue cravings” cycle, finding yourself on the couch, most nights, mindlessly munching on anything you can get your hands on. 

And you may be struggling to understand how you are able to eat so healthily during the day and then cave in to your cravings when you feel tired.  

Why you overeat when you’re tired. 

Decision Fatigue

Your brain has limited capacity to make “good” decisions when you are tired.  

Decision fatigue  is the idea that your willpower is finite, like a muscle that gets tired when you use it too much.  

Good decision making is not a trait of the person, it’s a state that fluctuates depending on the amount of times you used your will power to make decisions during the day and is further affected by physical fatigue. 

And secondly you are fighting your hormones. 

When you’re tired, your levels of ghrelin (your hunger hormone) – increases, while leptin – the satiety hormone– is lowered. 

This can leave you feeling hungry, even when you are not physically hungry. 

And the reason you are craving carbohydrates and sugar, when you are tired is because your body is looking for quick and simple energy sources to increase your energy levels. 

Carbohydrates also encourage the secretion of serotonin, the hormone that makes you feel better. 

So, let’s look at some ways to help you break this overeating habit: 

Sleep hygiene: 

  • I believe that the first step is to address the underlying cause of your tiredness and/or fatigue. 
  •  For example, if you know that your tiredness is a result of not getting enough sleep, then address your sleep hygiene first.  

Break the cycle: 

When you feel tired, try the following steps: 

  • To free yourself of any tasks that need doing 
  •  And give yourself permission to go to bed, providing this is not in the middle of the day 

You will feel so much better the next morning, after a good night’s sleep, and by doing this a few nights in a row, you will break the “fatigue cravings” cycle. 

Take time-out:  

When you feel “fatigue cravings” coming on simply take a time-out. 

Here are some helpful tips: 

  • Stop making decisions 
  •  Stop being productive 
  •  Stop engaging on all electronic devices 
  •  Limit your interaction with people 

Plan Ahead: 

This eliminates the need to make spontaneous decisions which require willpower you won’t have when you’re tired! 

Here are some helpful tips: 

  • Write down a plan considering upcoming challenges and plan for them by 
  •  Reflecting on your past experiences, where you may have had success, in delaying and giving in to your “fatigue cravings” 
  •  Brainstorm some delay tactics 

For example: instead of running to buy and/or eat what you’re craving, write it down.   


Taking preventative measures eliminates decision fatigue. 

Here are some helpful tips: 

  •  Make all your food decisions in the morning when your willpower is strongest. 
  • Prepare and Pack your food in containers or bags, so that you have healthy options when you feel tired.  
  •  You could prepare healthy snacks for work to eliminate afternoon “decision fatigue” 

And finally – try to get more sleep, it’s the best gift you can give yourself! 

Now I would love to hear from you… 

  • Which one of these techniques would be easiest for you to tackle right now?     

Please let me know in the comments below. 

Irena Geller

Irena Geller is a Sydney-based health & wellness coach specialising in the 🍓food and 😃 mood connection. She loves helping professional women to find the motivation and energy to eat healthily and exercise regularly and be consistent with these habits.

Have you tried every diet you can think of and lost confidence in yourself that you can be successful?

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