In the spirit of Halloween and things that go bump in the night, I relay a real story with real characters that go bump in the night.
My girlfriend came over to my house on Tuesday to do some laundry. (she has no washer/dryer) While we were waiting around for the clothes to dry, I suggested we make some cupcakes. ( I'm back on the "crack-cakes" as I call them. They are soo good, I swear they are just like crack-can't just have one. Definitely fodder for a future post; with a recipe) So we whipped up about 2 and a half dozen of cakes, she finished her laundry and went on her way, crack-cakes in hand. Yesterday, while talking to her on the phone, I asked her if there were any cup-cakes left at her house.
She replied, "I had to take what was left into work. I have been eating them in the middle of the night."
To which I responded, "Are you still night eating?"
I had to laugh. She has been telling me for a few years now how she thinks she eats in the middle of the night. She has no recollection of the actual act of eating, but wakes up occasionally with gummi bears clenched in her hands or with wrappers strewn about the kitchen counter that weren't there when she went to bed. Once, she was having a conversation in the morning with her boyfriend when he suddenly asked, "What the hell is all over your mouth?" When she went to the mirror to inspect, she found dark, chocolate rings around the corners of her mouth from what she later deduced had been from night-eating more than one ice cream sandwich.
I know it is terrible to laugh because apparently this is a real affliction that affects 1 to 2% of the population. But I couldn't help but think it hilarious- shame on me. I have even seen this on Oprah or Dr. Phil once or twice, so I cannot claim ignorance on the subject.
According to Albert Stunkard, MD, of the University of Pennsylvania’s Weight & Eating Disorders Program, "People who fall prey to this syndrome are not simply indulging in a bad habit. They have a real clinical illness, reflected by changes in hormone levels.” Night eating syndrome, as it is called,was first described in 1955 but has only been recognized by the medical community since 1999. Wikipedia states, " to be considered a bona fide disorder, this pattern should continue for two months or more." Research also suggests that night eaters also have a preference for carbohydrates, which trigger "feel-good" neuro-chemical production in the brain. The theory is that it is an unconscious attempt to "self-medicate mood problems and relieve stress."
Apparently she has gained a few pounds over the past couple of years, but nothing alarming as her night-eating episodes are few and far between. Thank goodness for her.
So on this All Hallows Eve, when night has fallen and the house is quiet, except for a thump from the kitchen. Beware... it could be your, spouse, significant other, or roommate indulging in a little self medication. Happy Halloween.
ps-this picture is of my little pug, Jingles. Her expression reminds me of that famous 70's quote from a bumper sticker, "I'm so happy I could just S--T"