I remember the days when I was in my early twenties and wore a size 2. Those days are long gone and I’m not going to sit in front of my computer and pretend I don’t know how it happened. I know how I gained all the weight that I now own and am proud to call my own. I really do know why. There is no excuse for it and I won’t make any. You may have heard me mention that whenever I’m depressed I tend to eat and it calms me. I do feel better after I’ve had that big bowl of ice-cream along with the bag of Doritos and the entire package of Oreos. Yes, I admit it. I do pig out when I’m down and it brings me up along with my weight of course. That’s why we’re sharing with you six reasons you may be overeating.
Obesity is a growing epidemic in the United States and around the world. 2.8 million people die every year as a result of being overweight. 1.5 billion adults are overweight, and even 42 million preschool children are overweight. Obesity is typically caused by an imbalance between calories consumed and calories exerted, or overeating without adequate exercise. Below are the top 7 reasons why people overeat, and how to not fall victim to the siren call.
A lot of people eat just because there’s nothing else to do. Watching TV is more enjoyable with a bag of chips at your side. Unfortunately, most people don’t pay attention to how much they eat while watching TV and eat too much. Eating itself can be seen as a form of recreation, and many eat just for the sake of eating.
Solution: Be aware of how much you are eating. Set limits on how much you can eat during each episode of your favorite TV show. Or, you can learn new baking or cooking skills and take the time to home cook a meal or treat before you eat it.
It’s a habit
People grow accustomed to overeating, as every day for years they’ve eaten just a little too much. Their bodies have learned that they will get more nourishment, and sometimes people begin to feel like they want food not because they are hungry or because their body needs nutrients, but because they are just used to eating. Some people feel like they have to eat everything on their plate, because that’s what their mother taught them, and eat too much if they served themselves too much food.
Solution: Use a smaller plate at mealtimes, and serve yourself smaller portions. You will be surprised at how quickly you can stop overeating. Realize that you have a habit of overeating and consciously make a decision to eat less.
You’re an emotional eater
Food is comforting, and many of us eat after emotional moments in our lives. Eating releases positive hormones in our bodies that help us to feel a little better. Sugar is processed quicker than other foods and so it creates an immediate reward in the body. People tend to overeat after a stressful day at work, after a breakup, or when they are feeling depressed.
Solution: Find other ways to decompress after a stressful day, like going for a walk, putting together a puzzle, or instead of opening the fridge, open your mouth and talk to a friend. Begin eating food as a celebration rather than a compensation. The association of the food and positive events will help you stop overeating when you feel sad. Or you can buy healthy snacks like fruit rather than donuts to eat when you do feel dejected.
You’re overcoming an addiction
Many people, especially those who have oral addictions such as drinking or smoking, replace their addiction with food. Eating releases dopamine, the feel good endorphin that is also released while consuming drugs. While overeating is less harmful to a body than most addictive substances, there are better options to keep your mind and hands busy.
Solution: Since you need to replace addictions with something positive, pick up a new hobby like cycling or painting to help you replace the addictive habit. Be careful not to pick up any other bad habit in trying to overcome your addiction. Overeating is just one bad habit you might pick up.
You eat to be social
Our society is based around social eating. Many friends go out to eat to catch up, have food at every party (We’re just there for the food, right?), or eat while watching sports. Most of these foods, however, are unhealthy and contribute to weight gain.
Solution: Try to plan activities with your friends that don’t involve food, such as hiking, biking, or playing sports in the park. If you are planning to go out to eat with your friends, eat a small home-cooked meal before leaving and order an appetizer when you are out. If you can, encourage your friends to provide healthy options at parties.
You don’t realize how much you ate
Probably the most common reason why people overeat is because they just don’t realize how much they ate. This could be caused because either they don’t count calories, they eat while watching TV, or they have snacks available to them and they don’t keep track of their intake.
Solution: Keep a food journal to track what you eat throughout the day. You don’t even have to write the total calories for each item, just being accountable for what you ate can be enough to stop overeating. Throughout the day, if you get the munchies, instead of reaching for a snack, chew gum or drink water to fill that craving.
Let’s discuss: If you tend to overeat what is your reason?