Are you struggling to control your eating habits? Do you find yourself overeating, even when you’re not hungry? If so, you’re not alone. Overeating is a common problem that many people struggle with. But don’t worry – there are steps you can take to stop overeating and regain control of your eating habits. In this post, I will discuss common reasons people overeat and give tips on how to stop overeating.
What Is Overeating?
Overeating is defined as eating more food than your body needs. When you overeat, your body stores the excess as fat. This can lead to weight gain and a host of other health problems.
Signs That You’re Overeating
There are several signs that you may be overeating. If you experience any of the following, it’s a good indication that you need to make some changes to your eating habits:
- You continue eating even after you feel full.
- You don’t pay attention to the meal in front of you.
- The thought of having a big appetite gives you anxiety.
- You feel heavy or weighed down after you finish a meal.
- Your clothes feel tighter than usual.
How To Stop Overeating
Below are some tips to help reduce overeating:
1. Remove Moral Values And Judgments In Your Food Choices
Eating habits are often fraught with moral values and judgments. “I was bad today because I ate a cookie” or “I’m so good, I only had salad for lunch.”
When you have these kinds of thoughts, it can make it harder to listen to your body’s hunger cues. It can also lead to feeling guilty after eating, which can result in overeating later as a way to make up for the “bad” food choice.
Instead of attaching moral judgment to your food choices, simply focus on whether or not the food will nourish your body; if it will, then enjoy it without guilt. If it won’t, then find something else to eat.
2. Avoid Emotional Eating
Emotional eating is often a way to cope with stress, anxiety, or other negative emotions. But emotional eating can lead to weight gain and further feelings of guilt and shame.
If you find yourself eating due to your emotions, try to find another way coping mechanism. This could include talking to a friend or going for a walk. Finding healthier ways to deal with your emotions will help you avoid overeating.
3. Avoid Fad Diets
Diets often result in you feeling deprived. When you’re restricting your food intake, it’s only natural to want what you can’t have. This can lead to binges and eventually weight gain.
Instead of dieting, focus on eating balanced meals that you can stick with long-term. This will help you maintain a healthy weight without the yo-yo dieting effect.
4. Get Enough Sleep
When you’re tired, your body craves energy. This can make it harder to resist temptation and make healthy food choices. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep by setting a regular bedtime and sticking to it. This will help you avoid overeating and maintain a healthy weight.
5. Practice Mindful Eating
There are a lot of reasons to eat, but the most important is to nourish and energize your body. If you aren’t paying attention to the meal you’re eating, and why you’re eating it, chances are that you aren’t really paying attention to your body’s signals for hunger and fullness either.
Not overeating also implies stopping when you’re about to feel full. Portion control may assist, but the best approach to avoid overeating is to eat slowly and pay attention to how you really feel while eating.
It’s all about giving your food-filled tummy and hungry brain enough time to reconnect. It might take up to 20 minutes for your stomach to communicate with your brain that you’re full. A lot of us down meals in half or less!
If you find yourself overeating at dinner, consider slowing down the process in different ways. Eating with your off-hand, putting your fork down between bites, or eating slowly are just a few ideas.
6. Avoid Food Triggers
For some people, certain foods can trigger overeating. This could be because the food is particularly delicious or because it’s comfort food. If you find that you have trouble resisting certain foods, you can try strategies like making sure you portion it out and enjoy every single bite. This is a form of mindful eating that sets you up to enjoy all foods without feeling out of control.
Don’t think you have to give up your favorite foods. But if you know that a particular food will trigger an overeating episode, it’s best to be intentional to learn mindfulness tools. This way, you can avoid restricting and approach food and eating from a better place emotionally and mentally.
In addition, you can put off consuming the trigger food for a time period until you have done the deeper work and feel like you can enjoy the food while still being in control vs the trigger food controlling you. It’s a temporary avoidance vs feeling like you can never enjoy your favorite foods again.
I also recommend keeping a food journal. Keeping a food journal can help you become more aware of poor eating habits – this can promote mindful and healthy eating.
To keep a food journal, simply write down everything you eat and drink in a day. Be sure to include the time of day and how you were feeling when you ate. This will help you identify eating patterns that you can then work to change.
7. Reduce Stress
Chronic stress can lead to overeating. When you’re stressed, your body releases the hormone cortisol. This hormone increases your appetite, which can lead to overeating.
To avoid stress-related overeating, try to find ways to reduce stress in your life. This could include exercise, meditation, or spending time with friends and family. Reducing stress will help you avoid overeating and maintain a healthy weight. For a variety of ways of reducing stress, you can check out more of my blogs here.
8. Keep Your Goals In Mind
When you’re trying to avoid overeating, it’s important to keep your goals in mind. This will help you stay on track and resist temptation.
Think about why you’re trying to avoid overeating. Maybe you want to lose weight, improve your health, or feel better about yourself. Whatever your reason, keep it in mind when you’re faced with tempting foods. This will help you make healthier choices, stay mindful, and achieve your goals.
9. Seek Professional Help
If you’ve tried to make changes on your own but haven’t been successful, it might be time to seek professional help. A therapist or counselor can help you identify the root cause of your overeating and develop a plan to address it.
What Are The Common Causes Of Overeating?
There are many reasons why people overeat. Here are some of the most common:
1. Low Self Esteem
People who binge might be unsatisfied with their appearance. You may be dissatisfied with your body because of what others have said or said. You might compare yourself to TV and magazine images that promote thinness.
This might result in a bad body image. A person with low self-esteem may binge eat as a result of this. After eating too much, you may feel disgusted and hate yourself more. This, in turn, can lead to even more overeating.
Your family history might also play a role in whether you overeat. If your parents or grandparents had eating disorders, you’re more likely to develop one yourself. This is especially true if someone in your family has a binge eating disorder.
Overeating is often a coping mechanism for stress. When people feel stressed, they may turn to food for comfort. This is because certain foods can trigger the release of feel-good chemicals in the brain, such as serotonin. These chemicals can help improve mood and temporarily relieve stress.
Emotional eating is when you eat in response to emotions, such as happiness, sadness, anxiety, or boredom. Often, people turn to food to cope with negative emotions, such as anger or sadness. This type of eating usually leads to overeating.
Surprisingly, dieting can also lead to overeating. When you restrict your food intake, your body goes into “starvation mode.” This causes your metabolism to slow down and makes you feel hungry all the time. As a result, you’re more likely to binge when you finally give in to your hunger.
Overeating can also be caused by distractions. When you’re not paying attention to what or how much you’re eating, it’s easy to overeat. This is often the case when people eat in front of the TV or while working at their desks.
Overeating Vs. Binge-Eating Disorder
Overeating and binge-eating disorder are not the same thing. Overeating is an occasional event, while binge-eating disorder is a chronic condition.
People with a binge eating disorder often eat even when they’re not hungry. They also feel a loss of control during a binge and eat until they’re uncomfortably full. Bingeing usually happens at least once or twice a week for several months.
If you think you have a binge-eating disorder, talk to your doctor or mental health professional. They can help you get the treatment you need.
Overeating can lead to weight gain and other health problems. But it’s possible to avoid overeating by making some simple changes. Try to eat mindfully, be aware of trigger foods, and keep your goals in mind. If you find yourself struggling to make changes, seek professional help. With some effort, you can overcome overeating and improve your health.
If you want to learn more about healthy eating and more ways to stop overeating, sign up for Lesley Goth’s Free Mindset & Body Image Masterclass!