I imagine that after seeing the title of this post, the first thing you would do is start guessing as to what that main reason for overeating would be. So let’s dive in and discuss the various other possibilities before I spill the beans as to which reason I feel fills that top spot!
• The most obvious reason is because the food we have in front of us tastes really, really good, therefore we don’t want to stop eating. I know I’m guilty of this occasionally, but not everything I eat is so unbelievably stupendous that it’s worth eating too much of. I’m betting you agree!
• The next reason is because we eat really quickly, which means our bodies do not have time to gauge whether or not we’ve had enough, and therefore send the “I’m totally full” signal. This is definitely the number one reason for overeating for a lot of people. But let’s keep going….
• Another reason: we multitask while eating. Whether we’re watching TV, looking through email, talking on the phone, driving, or reading an article; if our stomach is sending signals that it’s had enough food for the time being, we are much less likely to notice if we’ve got something else going on at the same time. The ideal situation is to have nothing distracting us while eating so that we may savor all of the textures and flavors of each and every bite. That way when we’ve reached the point of satisfaction, we feel better about making the decision to put the fork down.
• One more super common one: we’ve been taught to clear our plates and/or not waste food. This goes back to childhood for most of us.
My dad is amazing when it comes to not clearing his plate. I’d say 90% of the time when our family goes out to a restaurant to eat, he only eats half of what’s on his plate and then takes the rest home to eat for lunch the next day. He’s done this for as long as I can remember. Interestingly enough, he’s always the last person to finish eating at the table, as well, because he eats so slowly. And guess what – he has been lean his entire life! The lesson here:
Eat slowly + Only Eat Half of What Restaurants Serve = Life Long Lean Machine!
After reading this list, most people who are aware that they overeat may answer “all of the above” when asked why they do so. But I feel there’s one other reason why most of us overeat that we’re probably not even conscious of. So without further ado…
We overeat because we’re afraid of or hate the feeling of being hungry. Deep down, some of us want to eat as much as possible during mealtime so that we won’t feel hungry again anytime soon. This is especially common for those who have a history of going on extremely restrictive diets. Due to these diets, we associate hunger pangs with complete misery and deprivation. So much so, that during the times that we are not dieting, we do our best to avoid the feeling of hunger at all costs, which usually includes eating past the point of feeling full at meal times, or, binge eating when no one else is around.
So, how do we overcome this? Here are a few pointers:
• Most importantly, promise that you’ll never go on a super restrictive diet ever again. Choose healthier foods, eat treats in moderation, exercise more often and sit on the couch less. Commit to doing this for the rest of your life. This is the only way to lose weight and keep it off for good.
• Listen closely to hunger cues and satiation cues. Which means, eat when you’re hungry and stop eating when you feel your body has had enough. Be patient with yourself; because believe it or not, this takes a lot of practice.
• Always carry snacks with you. Nuts, ready to eat fruit, crudités, string cheese… these are all things that you can eat if you get hungry between meals and you’re away from home. Drink lots of water, too, as oftentimes thirst feels a lot like hunger.