Tired and Hungry: How to Handle Exhaustion & Not Overeat

Exhausted. Long day. Gotta push through. How did I do it for decades? Eating my way through the day! Choosing the pastry at Starbucks seemed logical! Two Pastries? That makes even more sense! And the combo meal at the drive-through to boost my energy? Another very logical decision!

After a day like described above…when I would wake up the next day (after a good night’s rest)… I would look back on yesterday, and I couldn’t even believe I ate what I ate. It was like Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde. While this was a very common theme in my life for decades (so happy to be on the other side of it), it’s the same story I hear from my clients on the regular.

So in today’s episode (also recorded on an incredibly exhausting day) we’ll dive into:

  • Why this isn’t your fault
  • Why exhausted overeating will likely be the very last piece of the emotional eating puzzle you’ll figure out.
  • How and why your exhausted physiology is literally designed to crave more food (and the hacks that will help you overcome it!)
  • The main tool that I still use today on exhausted days to ensure I don’t overeat

Resources and Links:

[00:00:33] Exhaustion and overeating habits.
[00:04:34] Feeling tired and exhausted.
[00:09:42] The best reason to eat.
[00:10:45] Emotional eating and its impact.
[00:16:44] Putting boundaries around sleep.
[00:19:25] Ending Emotional Eating Puzzle.
[00:23:41] Self-care in regards to rest.

Full Episode Transcript:

Hello, hello, everybody. How is it going? Welcome to another episode that I was not going to record. And that is the truth. So let’s go out, give you a little backstory on that. It has been an  epic weekend. Our daughter went to college and we all got on an airplane together and dropped her off in Philly one of my new favorite cities on the planet.

And yeah, , it was four straight days of I’ll just give you guys some just understanding. And you’ll get this because what we are talking about in this episode is around the habit of just being tired and feeling exhausted. And how that looks for a lot of us in relationship with food.

How many times have you noticed when you’re just incredibly exhausted and tired and you just automatically are reaching for food as the fix? And I’m curious if that is something that you struggle with. If it is, you’re definitely in the right place. If you have absolutely zero issues with overeating when you’re exhausted, then just turn this podcast off right now.

But if you like every single one of my clients that I’ve worked with for two and a half decades, including my own journey out of that hell,  which is to eat obsessively when you are absolutely exhausted and then you wake up the next day and go, Oh my God, what the hell did I just do? Then you’re definitely in the right place.

And I’m just prefacing this entire episode with this insane weekend that we just had. And just to give you guys some real context here our flight left at 5 15 in the morning, which means that of course you have to be like at least 4:15 checked in, which meant that we had to get there at the very latest we needed to be walking in the doors at 345.

And even that felt a little like hour and a half didn’t feel like, ah, it’s like DFW airport. I don’t know if anybody knows DFW airport, but as far as I’m concerned, DFW airport is a shit show. And that belief proved very true with our experience that we had. And so that would have meant that we needed to wake up at 2:30 in the morning in order to leave the house, like around three, 3:15 AM.

And so I’m just prefacing all of this with yeah, we started off very tired as we did this. And so we landed in Philly at 9:30 in the morning, which was perfect timing because we needed to have her moved into her dorm. I think her move-in time was like 11 or 1130 a.m. So we had just enough time to figure out logistics, to get to the place, to unload the enormous amount of luggage and stuff that we had.

And all of that to say, then it was just, it was like high. Everybody’s just excited and high as a kite and just Oh my God, let’s go check out this. Let’s go check out that. And we did not stop until we finally got back to our Airbnb much later that evening and of course she decided that she wanted to spend the night with us and so all three of us were just chilling and hanging out and having the best time.

Totally delirious and exhausting. You know when you’re so tired you’re like laughing at nothing and then you just keep, everybody’s crying, laughing. We don’t know what we’re laughing at because we’re just so tired. That was Friday night. And the fun just didn’t stop, meaning that we like woke up way too early on Saturday.

And then it was just nonstop of getting the dorm ready and running errands and then sightseeing and all the things. And this happened all day Sunday as well. And by Monday, which was yesterday for me it was just like levels of exhaustion. We’re just palpable all over the place. And our flight did not leave until 9 PM.

So it was very early in the morning, all the way until the flight, we get back into Dallas area, like around midnight and did not get home, and to sleep and all that stuff until about  one or 2 a. m last night. So, it has just been like I’m just trying to set the stage and the scene for the level of exhaustion That I’m experiencing right now, and I’m saying all of that because I was just like no There is no podcast recording. This isn’t gonna happen. But I made a promise to myself that I was gonna do it and I was gonna break that promise because that’s how tired I am and that’s the thing. Whenever we get really tired It’s just a lot of intensity in the body.

Emotions can run higher and all that good stuff. And so I’m sitting here going, I’m so exhausted. I don’t want to do this. And Josh was like maybe that’s what you should talk about. And I thought that’s probably the only thing I could talk about. So let’s talk about feeling tired and feeling exhausted and what that does to us in regards to our relationship with food.

So I’m going to give you a little story that is my story, but this is not just my story. This is every client I have ever worked with, they finally are working on the relationship with ending emotional eating. They’re working on how do I use food? How do I get into right relationship with food where, the main reason I’m eating food is because I’m actually hungry and I’m stopping at enough.

That right there is the very tenants to the hello body freedom, food freedom formula that we use. It is also what you might just call a normal way of being in a relationship with food. But what a lot of us have learned is we’ve learned to use food for a quadrillion other things. I’m lonely. Let’s eat.

I’m sad. Let’s eat. I feel like being comforted. Let’s eat. Oh my God. It’s a party. Let’s eat. Ooh, high celebration. Let’s eat. I’m bored. Let’s eat. There’s a trillion reasons why we use food. And this is why women come to me, it’s because we get to this place where we realize food feels like it’s in control and we’re not in control of food.

And we feel like we’re eating for a trillion reasons. And then we try to stop and then we can’t, and it just flat-out feels really scary. And so that’s a thing. And so we want to get to the other side of that. And this is what we do inside of Hello Body Freedom and a really big deal. We untangle this relationship with food.

So I will be on coaching calls with clients and It will be Audra. I got no sleep last night and then I realized all day today, I just am impulsively reaching for food because I’m trying to get my energy. I’ve got to get my energy up. I’m getting my energy up. And I’m just wondering if you can relate to that.

If anybody here can relate to that for me, this is the story I was going to tell you earlier, just like my own personal antidote. I would be so exhausted like I didn’t get enough sleep. I’m remembering like my mid-thirties to late thirties or something like that. I’m really like, actually it was early, it was like early thirties to mid-thirties where I’m trying to figure all this out.

But I would be so exhausted. Where you just didn’t get enough sleep and quite frankly, I’m reaching for food because it seems like I need to eat. Eating just seems, Oh, I got to eat that. I got to eat that. And then what do we end up craving when we’re really exhausted? Of course, we’re craving carbs because carbs are like fast energy for the body.

So your body is physiologically craving energy. It wants to feel energetic, it does not want to feel this exhaustion and tired, but that’s what’s going on. And so it feels like your body’s playing tricks on you because it feels real. It’s Oh my God, I really need that food or, Oh my gosh, I really need that.

And I really need this. And in the moment on no sleep, it’s very logical. Like in that moment, of course I need to eat this food. Of course, I need that. And so for me, for a long time, this would be a story and then I would get some good sleep and I wouldn’t be so exhausted. Maybe I get a, maybe 10 hours or nine hours just feeling great.

And I’d wake up the next morning and literally I would just be like, What the hell did I do yesterday? It was like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. It was like, not even the same person. And I’m remembering back to yesterday and I’m just like, I can’t believe I did all that stuff. It felt so true. It felt so real that I needed all that food.

And now that I’m on the other side of exhaustion and I’m feeling refreshed now, it’s so obvious that I really overdid it with food that day before. I don’t know if you have that same example or if you have that if you have had that same experience, tired. So this was a big problem in my life for a very long time.

And so if you recognize that you have this as well, the very first thing I want you to know is that this is a physiological situation. Your body is literally reaching for energy in any way it can. And the carbohydrates is a quick fix. It is quick energy. And it makes sense that you would be reaching for it because from a biology standpoint, that urge and that craving to get the food in right now feels so real in the moment.

And quite frankly, whenever you’re really exhausted, it messes with your hunger and enough cues as well. And so it really does get wackadoodle. This is why when I would wake up the next day and be like, I like cannot figure this out. So in my journey to ending emotional eating and getting to a place where I’m not overeating food, where I’m not dieting, where my weight stabilized and then started sustainably going down to where I’ve been now for like over a decade.

Like I handled a lot of things. I was really able to, feel lonely and not eat food. I was really able to just be with boredom and learn not to eat food. So what we teach at Hello Body Freedom is that the best reason for food, it’s not the only reason, but it really is the best reason.

To eat is because you are experiencing physical hunger. There is something like your tummy is empty. It’s definitely, you can feel what the, what physical hunger feels like in the body. And then when you eat, especially when you are physically hungry, it tastes good. It tastes better than  when you don’t have hunger at all.

And there is a satisfaction that happens on the other side of it, right? There’s a real like level of Oh yes, this was wonderful. This was exactly what I need. And physical hunger is finite. There is a physical hunger and it’s finite because there’s a finite amount of food that fixes physical hunger.

But when we’re using food to try to fix other things, so I’m not saying that if I’m lonely and I comfort eat that doesn’t have some level of feeling good. Of course it does. That’s why we do it. Or I’m bored. So I go eat and it has some level of feeling good. Of course. Yes. But food isn’t actually the answer.

For the sensation of boredom, food is not actually the answer for the sensation of loneliness. That’s not actually what your body needs in that moment, unless you’re physically hungry. That’s a different story. But what happens is when we’re eating for all these other reasons, let’s, I’m just using boredom and loneliness as an example here, the amount of food you can eat is infinite.

You just keep eating it and eating it because you’re trying to like itch a scratch with the food, but the food doesn’t ever get the scratch itched. It doesn’t work. It does not work. It works, but it really doesn’t leave that level of satisfaction, which is the problem, which is why when we get stuck in these emotional eating loops, we get really frustrated and struggled because food feels like it’s in control of us and in actuality, it’s just It’s not the answer.

It’s just not the best answer. So this is where we have to really look at physiology, right? So the body’s like reaching for it from anywhere, but also really coming into and learning how to untangle feelings. So how to be able to give yourself what you need in that moment when you’re feeling a certain thing, which is not physical hunger, right?

And when you learn how to do that, then food finds its rightful place in your life. So that feels like a really important story to tell so we can have a conversation about exhaustion and tired. Okay. The reason why exhaustion and tired are even a little bit more challenging than lonely and bored.

Are because again, lonely and bored, you might have like real strong loops going on in your head and in your body of I’m lonely. I eat. They’re like strong habit loops, but the exhaustion part is like biological. Your body is like physiologically reaching for any kind of energy. And so the wires get crossed because reaching for the energy is like reaching for the carbs or reaching for the food.

And that’s when it gets a little wacky doodle. So let’s go ahead and talk about what I do and what I have done and what I teach my clients to do in order to get to the other side of overeating when you’re exhausted. This is a podcast, we’re on all the podcast places, but I also, this is on YouTube as well, right?

So you can go on YouTube and listen to the same thing. And I’m just staring behind me. Like I was so tired. I have All of my like mail sprawled out because we were out of town for so long and I was like going through and doing all of that. I didn’t even clean that up. I’m just like, Oh my God, it’s just one of those days.

It’s all good. We’re going to just keep rolling. So here’s the situation. The very first thing you have to realize when you wake up in the morning or when is a lot of self-awareness around, I am exhausted. That’s number one. If you are not really, truly having that level of self-awareness, it’s going to be really hard to move through the day and actually win if you will.

So that way you get to the end of the day and you didn’t just. So the very first thing we have to do is get a lot of clarity and wisdom and high levels of consciousness, even in a moment that you’re exhausted. Okay. So when I woke up this morning, I knew I didn’t get much sleep. I knew it was going to be a mess.

I knew I had a day and I’m like, all right, here we are. It’s been a long time since we felt this tired. So here’s what I know. Here’s what I do. Whenever I have that number one hyper-awareness, number two, hyper-awareness and consciousness that my body very well will want to reach for food.  When it might be trying to trick me where I might experience something that might feel like hunger. But, I know that is my body playing games on me in this moment.

I know I’m not hungry because I just ate breakfast a minute ago.  So this really is important. So you understand I’m exhausted. And I also understand that my body is very likely going to be skewed with the hunger and enough cues. And when I can get clear with that, then what I do is I get very clear before I move into my day of what my eating is going to look like and feel like, and be like, and what I do is I look at a normal day when I am not exhausted and what that normally looks like for me.

What that very common normal day of eating the days when you just you have habits and behaviors of eating certain foods and the same foods that make you feel good or this or that, and the amounts that you eat. And so what I do is I plan and I go, okay, I know that I’m going to feel wackadoodle and all the things, but this is the plan. This is what I’m going to eat. This is when I’m going to eat it.

And I’m going to hold to this particular way, because if I don’t, then the reason why I would want to skew away from that is probably because I’m exhausted. Do you know what I mean? So number one, hyper awareness of the reality of the situation.

I’m exhausted. Number two, very clear understanding I know that my body is going to be playing tricks on me today, trying to get energy from anywhere that it can. Therefore, number three, I am going to have a plan in place that is not crazy restrictive but is a normal way of eating something that feels like a normal day, a common normal day amounts and times.

Like pretty common breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Pretty common. What do I normally have for breakfast? What do I normally have for lunch? What do I normally, like something that feels normal and stable? And then that’s the trick. Now, those are the first three things. The other piece that I make as a promise to myself when I wake up very close to the early part of the morning is

I’m going to put boundaries around my sleep tonight. I will not be staying up late.  I set alarms on my phone that will, and they’re already set. So the first one will go off at nine o’clock tonight and it will ring and it will say Audra, you have to go to bed early tonight, you’re really tired, and then the next one will go off at nine 15, nine 20, something like that, and it will be yo Audra,

you’re exhausted and you don’t need another episode on Netflix. You need to get to bed. And so why do I do that? Why do I do that? Because exhaustion, you are not at your highest self. You’re not, it’s very easy to give up on yourself. It’s very easy to not do what you say you’re going to do.

So at the very beginning of the day, I’m conscious of all of this. And I know that at nine o’clock at night, it’s going to be real hard for me to show up as my best self because I’m just going to be like, Oh, who cares? I’ll eat the thing. I thought that the truth of the matter is what really, truly fixes exhaustion is rest, right?

The cookies aren’t going to fix my exhaustion the chips aren’t going to fix my exhaustion the snacking, the Starbucks, the, whatever the things, this isn’t actually going to work to dump like a bunch of sugar in my body. That doesn’t fix exhaustion. What fixes tired and exhaustion is rest.

Full stop period. I’m giving myself what I need. Emotional eating, ending emotional eating 101. Okay. I know that’s what I need and therefore I will put parameters in place because I know I’m not in my higher self-energy on a day like today. Okay. And I know that in this moment that I’m feeling more like five-year-old energy where I’m like, eh, I want the candy, right?

That is so important that I have these parameters in place, the alarms for sleep. And it’s not just that. Here’s the other piece about the sleep piece. Going to bed early means I’m not going to stay up all night eating my face away, right? So there’s so many reasons why these parameters exist inside of Hello Body Freedom You can reach out to your coaches.

They can help you can have accountability partners to hold you accountable to all of this. There’s all of these things that we have in place in order to make this a little bit easier for you And what I will say Is that this whole piece of exhaustion, y’all, it was the, it really was the final frontier for me.

It was the last piece of the ending emotional eating puzzle, I would say, that I finally really started to get down. The one, so here are the big ones for me. First off, just emotions in general, once you really start to work the food freedom formula, you’re eating because of physical hunger, you’re stopping at enough, all of these pieces, you’ll notice you’ll feel bored.

So you’ll want to eat or you’ll feel, because I deserve it or because I want it. There’s all of these other reasons that we’re eating outside of physical hunger. But the more that you practice that, the better you’re going to get at giving yourself what you need when you’re not physically hungry.

And then when you’re physically hungry, knowing that food is the best solution for that, right? And now we are now on a path, whenever we can get that down, we’re on a path to a normal relationship with food, right? It’s a very normal relationship with food. I’m so tired. I can’t even keep my train of thought right now.

That whole point I was going to make. Oh, come on, Audra. You can do this. Let me think. That is, oh yeah. So that piece of emotional eating is once you start to get the hang of it, and people are, some people are different. It can be a stress level, but for me in particular, that particular way of learning how to feel what I’m feeling, giving myself what I need instead of the food when I’m not physically hungry.

These started to come to me as they do for all of our clients. But the two hardest for me were right around my cycle. The couple of days leading up to day one of my period were an emotional shit show. And I would notice that I would get like voraciously hungry. And then I would realize my period would start and then I’d realize, Oh my God, I really overdid it.

So that was also another big one for me. And again, the more that we do this work, like it’s just not a thing anymore. I can have my cycle and food is just not even a thing. Now I will want what I want, but I’m eating because of physical hunger and I’m eating at enough. And I have that level of connection, that inner attunement to my body.

So that got handled, but I’m making this point. Because the sleep piece and the overeating when I was exhausted, it was just the last thing that I figured out. It really was.  I would wake up and I’d be like, I wonder if it’s even possible to get to the other side of this. Like I’d wake up after getting good sleep and I would think about the day that I had where I just ate everything I could imagine because it was in that tired space.

Like duh, of course I’m going to eat. It just made all the sense. And then when you wake up and you’re more logical and you’ve got your shit together and you’ve got a really good sleep, it’s, none of it was logical. It was all emotional eating. It was just exacerbated eating and eating and it mostly, high carb, high sugar.

I’m not overeating broccoli when I’m exhausted, it was the last frontier, but it has been years upon years since being this tired has triggered me into overeating. And I can say the same even today. I still have the evening ahead of me, but we have dinner planned and I’m going to bed in a few hours after that anyways, and it’s going to be just fine.

And I know that because I’ve been practicing it for a long time. I’m saying all of this to let you know that 1000 percent you can get to the other side of exhaustion, eating, tired eating, right? But the way you get to the other side is to give yourself what you really need. And what you really need in that moment is not food.

Food isn’t the best solution in the moment that you’re utterly exhausted. You need rest. So I hope that helps you and learning how to give yourself what you need in these moments in time when we never learned. How to give ourselves what we need. We never, Oh, my daughter is so sad.

Let me just bake her cookies to make it better, which is very different than having a heart-to-heart conversation and helping her process her sadness. Very different than let’s shove some cookies down our face. Yet so many of us were raised that way. So many of us, we just know we feel a thing and the food is the thing that makes us feel better because that’s what mom and grandma used to do it for us or something like that.

But this is the work, my friends, this is the work. And I really, anybody that’s made it to the end of this podcast, I’m impressed. Maybe you’re as exhausted as I am, which is why I can talk loops and I’m a little out of my mind. And you’re like, yeah, that makes sense to me because I’m just as tired. So self-caring in regards to rest.

So many of us believe that, man, we just believe that we don’t have enough time and, that staying exhausted and being exhausted is just like the way you wear it like a badge of honor. And it’s just bullshit. It’s just absolute bullshit. What you need is good sleep consistently over the course of days, months, and years.

And when I finally started to get that level of consistent good sleep, it’s like everything changes in your life. It is the ultimate healing bomb for so many things for emotional turmoil, for immune health. There’s a lot of evidence of, Sleep being the absolute healing bomb for trauma, right?

We need rest. Our body needs time to repair and recover. And so I just want to encourage everybody to go to sleep early tonight and make a plan to make sure you’re not going to overeat whenever it gets a little crazy out there. And I’m just going to go ahead and end this podcast. Woo. Woo. I’m going to go to bed early tonight.

I’m going to be feeling better tomorrow. All right. My loves. See you next time. Bye everybody.

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