12 Surprising Reasons Why You Overeat

overeating

Causes of overeating are vast, and so many people are searching for overeating causes of their weight gain even if they work their butts off in the gym and their food is healthy. 

Eating disorders and obesity have become predominant in human society. Their association to modern lifestyle, encompassing calorie-rich diets, psychological stress, and comorbidity with major diseases are well documented. Metabolic syndrome, hypertension, diabetes, and various lifestyle disorders are commonly secondary to lifestyle risk factors. 

The etiology and therapeutic application of eating disorders have been receiving increased attention since the current epidemic of metabolic conditions. This can be attributed to the western diet, sedentary lifestyles, and environmental stressors including mental as well as emotional stress. 

Food overconsumption can be attributed to excess body weight and adiposity that define obesity which can be damaging to one’s health. Being overweight can also contribute to lifestyle conditions such as diabetes, hypercholesterolemia, and hypertension. 

While you may be blaming yourself for lacking willpower or not trying hard enough, there could be different causes of overeating. The real overeating causes may surprise you, and many of them are relatively easy to fix.

There are many common lifestyle habits that tend to undermine a healthy diet. Take a look at this list to find out which things you’ll want to do differently as you identify which causes of overeating spark ah-ha moments. 

Dealing with Overeating Causes or Habits That Make You Overindulge:

  1. Be flexible:

     You may think you’re being virtuous for starting a super-strict diet but being too rigid can backfire. Allowing yourself a few treats can keep you from feeling so deprived that you wind up eating a whole pizza. I tend to teach my patients to have one cheat meal per week to help mitigate the causes of overeating. Most people are rebellious in nature so if you tell them no, they will want it even more. Allowing one cheat meal (not a day) can help to soften the rigidity and give permission to have some freedom which can help those with lack of freedom as one of the causes of overeating.

  2. Shrink your menu:

     On the other hand, planning your meals and snacks around a limited number of healthy foods can help you eat less. The lack of variety dampens your appetite. I also tend to only have foods in the house that I am “allowed” to eat. Which means the temptation has been eliminated. I am less likely to hop in the car or spend $30 for uber eats to deliver unhealthy food which removes temptation as one of the causes of overeating.

  3. Eat mindfully:

     Some overeating causes happen when you’re busy with something else and you are mindlessly eating. Sitting down and paying attention to your food instead of watching TV can improve your eating habits. Beware of nibbling while you’re preparing meals or lingering at the table after dinner. Just having the food sitting out in plain sight can sometimes trigger wanting to eat even if you are not hungry.

  4. Slow down:

     A leisurely pace gives your brain time to tell your stomach that you’re full. Chew thoroughly and pause between bites. One of the causes of overeating is waiting too long to eat and then when you do eat, eating too fast. Throwing food down as fast as you can because you are starving is not only disruptive to your digestive system but also is an unhealthy habit in general for blood sugar stabilization.

  5. Listen to cravings: Intense urges are usually trying to tell you something important:

     Eating light snacks can keep you from getting so hungry that you long for junk food. One of the causes of overeating that I just mentioned was contributed to waiting too long to eat. This can create blood sugar dips and insulin resistance. One of the common overeating causes is waiting too long and then eating what is available. Ever wonder why there is a fast-food restaurant on every corner?

  6. Avoid low-fat foods:

     Did you know that low-fat foods are usually only about 10% lower in calories? Plus, they’re often higher in sugar and sodium, which can make you want to eat more. One of the causes of overeating is satisfying yourself emotionally by eating heavier foods. High-fat foods feel good to the emotional body because they are heavy and comfortable. So it can be tempting to search for low-fat foods, but a lot of times these foods have tons of chemicals in them which can be highly addictive.

  7. Limit artificial sweeteners:

     Sweetness is one of the signs your brain uses to try to determine how much to eat based on how many calories a food has. Artificial sweeteners make those calculations difficult. Eating these can be one of the overeating causes as you confuse your brain by eating these chemicals. Over time, your brain loses the ability to make correct judgments. Therefore, you continue to eat and are unaware of when to stop eating them. 

Dealing with Other Lifestyle Habits That Contribute to Causes of Overeating

  1. Sleep well:

     A lack of sleep can make you want to eat more and make it difficult for your body to digest food efficiently. Go to bed early on a consistent basis so you can get at least 7 hours of sleep each night. Being well rested allows for you to be able to make healthy choices with your food, including meal planning and meal prepping. If you are not well-rested and you dash out of the house in the morning the tendency is to not make healthy choices when you are in a rush.

  2. Socialize wisely:

     We tend to eat more when we have company. So although this may not seem intuitive, socializing with those with unhealthy habits can be one overeating causes to be mindful. Be especially vigilant when you’re enjoying holiday dinners and office parties because these often have mixed company. Just because someone decides to eat unhealthily does not mean that you have to join them in eating unhealthy. Try to find a lunchmate who eats healthy, so you can support each other.

  3. Exercise more:

     Physical activity burns calories and helps to fight depression and anxiety, which can lead to overeating especially if you have not measured your food for health. Aim to work out at least 30 minutes a day 3 times a week, but also be mindful by tracking your food. Using unreliable methods such as intuitive eating or just guessing is not a reliable measurement to determine if overeating causes are a reason that you are not staying fit and trim. Especially when you exercise your body will begin to crave more nutrients so be smart with your choices.

  4. Deal with your feelings:

     While it’s natural to associate food with celebrations and comfort, it’s important to have other ways of managing your emotions. Call a friend or write in your journal. We also have the 30 days to emotional healing program that reviews emotional strategies for self-healing if you find that emotions are a challenge for you when overcoming the causes of overeating.

  5. Talk with your holistic doctor:

     A slice of cake rarely does much harm, but sometimes there are deeper issues at work. If you binge frequently or feel guilty and ashamed about your eating, talk with your holistic doctor. Effective treatments are available that are not pharmacological. We use many treatment strategies within our practice ranging from cranial electrostimulation, biofeedback, and clinical hypnotherapy to advanced laboratory testing to find untreated yeast or bacterial imbalances. 

In a recent study, it was found that anxiety and depression were present in 18% of patients associated with a high BMI and while that may be seen as low the study only evaluated a small base of our population. Many times people do not feel safe, comfortable, or open to talking about these issues because they have to underlie in fear of being judged. Often when patients cry in my practice, they apologize as though being strong emotionally means not showing emotions. I have the honor to hold space for people who are tired of being inauthentic.

Health professionals must pay closer attention to the physical and mental evaluation of patients instead of dismissing them to a psychiatrist or a psychologist. Not addressing these needs or not sending them to a qualified holistic doctor can prove to be detrimental to one’s health. 

Lastly, understanding the reason why you overindulge is the first step in finding solutions that enable you to stick to a balanced diet and maintain a healthy weight. Use these tips to take control of your eating, so you can stay fit and enjoy your food more.

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5403578/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6136526/

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