Overeating is a common problem and is responsible for many, many health challenges. Struggling with this problem, too? Don’t worry. In this article, I will take you through possible reasons for your overeating and how to stop overeating:
Have you noticed that you eat a lot more when you are stressed? Well, this happens because a hormone called Cortisol may be influencing your appetite, [1.] causing you to eat a lot more than you normally would. To deal with overeating caused by stress, all you have got to do is take out the stressor. Take breaks from stressful tasks. Meditate. Keep your mind stable.
A lot of people may turn to overeating as a response to being bored. This is common amongst people who are snack lovers. They get bored, and it’s time to munch some snacks.
If you fall into this category, it will help to get a bit busier. Do not allow yourself to fall into the loop of boredom. Read a book. Go out with some friends. Pay more attention to your hobbies.
When you take your mind away from food, there is little chance that you’ll want to eat that much so often.
3. Food Addiction
Food addiction is an eating disorder often called a ‘binge’ eating disorder and can develop due to a number of reasons. This addiction, like other addictions, is mediated by the neurotransmitter dopamine, the body’s reward system.
Some foods and drinks, particularly soda and energy drinks [2.], contain elements like caffeine which can be the building blocks of addiction, creating some dependency and making you always want to eat or drink them.
If you find that you compulsively eat certain foods and that you can’t seem to control your ‘craving’ them, it is possible that you are overeating as a result of classic food addiction.
Food addiction can be relieved by therapy. A visit to your dietician or nutritionist is recommended. He or she will guide you on how to deal with this.
4. You Skip Meals
When you skip a meal, you most likely are going to ‘compensate’ for the calories skipped when you eat your next meal. This means you are going to eat two portions for that portion lost earlier because you will be twice as hungry.
If you find that you overeat whenever you skip a meal, then you should try not to skip meals. Eat all your meals on time. Especially your breakfast. You shouldn’t skip breakfast. This meal provides you with the calories you need to start your day.
One of the most common symptoms of diabetes is polyphagia. This means a pathological increase in your appetite. If you are a person with diabetes or prediabetic, then the condition is most likely one of the reasons you are overeating.
Polyphagia is usually due to fluctuations in blood glucose levels. Polyphagia in diabetes can be improved remarkably by paying more attention to your sugar level.
Try as much as you can to monitor your blood sugar. And be meticulous in taking your medication. Talk to your dietician or nutritionist about your overeating problem.
Read: 15 Eating Habits That Will Help You Shed Pounds
6. Empty Calorie Foods
Empty-calorie foods are likely one of the reasons you are overeating. Some foods, especially processed ones, are so low on the nutritional value that they don’t keep you satisfied for long.
You find that barely minutes after eating them, you are hungry again and in need of more food. This makes you eat, and eat, and eat and may even trigger or worsen your food addiction.
Stick to eating whole meals and no snacks as a means to ease or stop your food addiction. Eat foods that have you satisfied for longer periods, so you do not have to eat too much, too often.
Dehydration has been shown to be one of the causes of overeating. As a means to compensate for the drop in water levels in your body, your neurons stimulate the hunger centers in your midbrain, causing you to feel hungry.
This is called ‘Dehydration Hunger’ [3.]
To ease overeating caused by dehydration, be sure to drink a lot of water. The trick is to drink water whenever you feel thirsty. You don’t have to wait. Just drink the cup right up.
And, as mentioned earlier: eat too. Eat whenever you are hungry.
Read: Low Carb-Diet List: The Best Low-Carb Foods to Eat
8. Unrealistic Diet Plans
Diet plans have to be realistic and easy to follow. Sometimes, though, especially with over-zealous dieters, this isn’t the case.
Many people want their weight loss to happen overnight and so come up with diet plans that are impossible to follow through. These diet plans do not only affect the person mentally by making him or her feel deprived and shut out of ‘real life. They might also make the person mentally deprived.
If your diet supplies you with fewer calories than your body actually needs, it is likely a reason you are over-eating.
The solution here is to create a realistic plan you can stick to. Check out this article on ‘cheat meals’ and how they can help improve dieting.
The thyroid gland is a gland in the anterior part of your neck and is responsible for making hormones that coordinate the rate of metabolism. If this gland produces more than the normal quantity of these hormones, it impacts your body by making you break down calories at a faster rate.
This means you will have a remarkable increase in appetite and will be drawn to overeating.
Have a talk with your doctor if you suspect hyperthyroidism. Especially if you are losing weight even when eating a lot.
10. Pre-Menstrual Problems
For some women, it is common to develop certain symptoms around the time your period is expected to come. Symptoms that may include: headaches, mood swings, loss or increase in appetite, etc.
This happens due to marked changes in the levels and distribution of hormones in your body.
So, if you find that you are eating quite a lot around the time of your period, then pre-menstrual syndrome is likely the reason for it. Avoiding sugary foods is going to help much.
11. You Don’t Have Strong Boundaries
This is often uncomfortable, but it is true. The reason why you are overeating might just be that you don’t have strong boundaries. You don’t do anything about your appetite. You only give in and keep giving in.
This is often times associated with food addiction. Other times, not so much.
You have to step up your self-control and develop strong boundaries when it comes to dieting. Decide what is up for eating and what is off the list. Decide that you won’t be eating too late at night, especially snacks.
12. Sleep Deprivation
Sleep is the body’s way of cooling off. Good sleep is going to reflect wellness in basically every part of your life. On the other hand, bad sleep, or not enough sleep, is going to do a lot of damage.
Sleep deprivation can cause an imbalance in your hormone levels, leading to an increase in appetite described as polyphagia. You will want to eat more and a lot.
This overeating can be stopped by sleeping some more. If you have trouble sleeping, some exercise is really going to help you sleep better.
13. Artificial Sweeteners
Artificial sweeteners can affect your appetite by making you addicted. You just might be overeating because most of your meal contains artificial sweeteners.
To curb overeating caused by this, you should eat only whole meals that have not been processed. Include fruits in your diet as often as possible.
It is especially helpful to eat fruits like apples, which happen to be rich in antioxidants that can help fight cancer. These antioxidants mop out free radicals from your cells and tissues.
14. Your Friends Overeat
Sometimes, many of our diet behaviors are learned. If you hang around people who overeat, you may find you will start to overeat too. They will have you try out other meals, which may have you addicted in the end.
If you find that your overeating increases when you watch other people eat or when you hang out with eaters, it will help to stop hanging out for a while.
Eat only home-prepared meals. And eat just enough.
15. Anxiety and Depression
Our moods influence our appetite a whole lot. Many anxious people turn to over-eating because they find relief from eating. This builds a dependency which can progress into food addiction.
Overcome your eating problems by dealing with your anxiety. Anxiety can be relieved by exercise and therapy.
Talk to your therapist about what is causing you anxiety, so you soothe it.
Pay attention to your mental health by staying positive. By meditating. A good massage can help relieve excess stress and anxiety and improve your overall anxiety.
Photo by Pablo Merchán Montes on Unsplash