There are many reasons why you overeat. Some we can justify as a temporary thing, others not so much. Regardless, they all produce the same result. You gain weight and feel like you’re out of control. What if we took a look at why you overeat? While you may be blaming yourself for lacking willpower or not trying hard enough, there could be something else at work.
The real reasons why you overeat may surprise you but the good news is many of them are relatively easy to fix!
Many common lifestyle habits tend to undermine a healthy diet. Take a look at this list to find out which things may be contributing to why you overeat.
Food Habits And Why You Overeat
- 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.
- Shrink your menu. On the other hand, planning your meals and snacks around a limited number of healthy foods can help you stay focused. Once you have mastery in your planning and eating, you can widen the variety so you don’t get bored. Remember! Allow for a treat here and there so you don’t feel deprived.
- Eat mindfully. Often, distraction can be a contributing factor as to why you overeat. You know, eating at your desk, while watching TV, or on the phone. Do this: sit down and pay attention to your food instead of watching TV. Beware of the tendency to nibble while preparing meals or lingering at the table after dinner.
- Slow down. A leisurely pace gives your brain time to tell your stomach that you’re full. Chew thoroughly, put your fork down between bites. Perhaps even use your non-dominant hand to hold the utensils. It’s not a race.
- 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. And really, you might be thirsty! Have you been drinking the proper amount of water? Hydrate, wait for 15 minutes. If you’re no longer hungry, then you know you were just thirsty.
- 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. Eating low fat, or low sugar or low sodium can actually contribute greatly to why you overeat! Just go for real food, and eat the proper serving size. You’ll be stoked! And satisfied!
- 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. Over time, your brain loses the ability to make correct judgments. Refer to #6 eat real food, limit processed foods.
Other Lifestyle Habits And Why You Overeat
- Sleep well. A lack of sleep can make you want to eat more to gain energy and make it difficult for your body to digest food efficiently. Go to bed at a time that allows you at least 7 hours of sleep a night. Ideally, you want between 7-8 hours of sleep to be at your peak.
- Socialize wisely. We tend to eat more when we have company or are with a group of people. Be especially vigilant when you’re enjoying special dinners or celebrations, and definitely office parties. Try to find a lunch mate who eats healthy, so you can support each other.
- Exercise more. The evidence here is plentiful. Physical activity burns calories and helps to fight depression and anxiety, which can lead to overeating. Aim to move that beautiful bod at least 30 minutes a day 3 times a week.
- 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. Especially if eating (or drinking) your emotions is a pattern, vs. a “sometimes” occurrence. Introduce other ways to express those emotions so that they aren’t another reason why you overeat. Quick convo with a friend, five minute meditation or dance party. You decide.
withyour 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 doctor. Effective treatments are available.
Understanding the reasons why overeat 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 a healthy relationship with food.
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