What Triggers Overeating + Gentle Ways To Deal With It
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It’s Saturday night and here you are binging both on your favorite Netflix show and your favorite foods until you can’t take anything in no more… Does that sound familiar? It might be that you have a tendency to overeat.
Overeating occurs when you want to consume large quantities of food at one time, or when you want to continue eating even though you are actually full.
While there’s no problem in enjoying your favorite meals from time to time, if you’re constantly overeating, it might lead to weight gain which then affects both your body and your mood. We want to be healthy and happy so anything that hinders our smile should be looked at and improved, or taken care of completely if possible.
Compulsive overeating has some common triggers. Many times it can occur after doing crash diets that restrict food intake too much or completely eliminate one food group. In this article, I point out several overeating triggers and how you can deal with them naturally.
Overcoming Overeating 101
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What Causes Overeating?
When you are engaging in extreme dieting, or when you’re constantly anxious or depressed, it can lead to eating disorders and overeating. Negative feelings, and emotions that are pushed away can make you crave large amounts of comfort food because your body needs those tiny little happiness hormones (endorphins) which you don’t get much from other sources (like positive experiences).
Also, if you tend to skip meals because you’re too anxious to eat, not eating for a long time can also trigger you to eat compulsively after the initial anxiety calms down. This is an unhealthy way to live, and it can lead to weight gain + it further feeds your mood disorders.
What to do? Don’t get into extreme diets, or calorie reductions that are very drastic. Instead, try to eat regularly, watch your portion size and choose healthier, filling ingredients. If you are too anxious or depressed to eat, help yourself to calm down or look for the brighter side of life (yes, it exists, even if you don’t believe it now). Here are some of my resources that can help:
Researchers believe that there is a genetic component involved in eating disorders, and in overeating as well. This means that if you have a parent or family member who has an eating disorder, then you are more likely to have the same problem. Additionaly, if you grew up seeing someone in your family cope with problems using overeating, this can mean that you unconciously been taught of overeating as a way to deal with your problems.
What to do? Knowing that you might have a tendency to overeat is actually very beneficial. When you are aware that overeating (or in some cases – even a binge disorder) is part of your genetic structure, you can be extra motivated to choose a healthy eating plan and watch what you eat. Please know that a genetic tendency does not mean that you will 100% have the same problem, it’s still just a tendency. You have control over your life and over the things you put in your body.
When watching your food intake, simple tools like meal planner and a food diary can be helpful in staying on track.
Poor Body Image
If you have a poor body image, then the inability to lose weight or to have a trim physique may lead to overeating as well. This one is trickier but basically when someone makes a rude remark about your weight, or when you decide that you “need to lose weight fast”, you might fall into the trap of starving yourself. You want to lose those pounds quickly, but in reality, weight loss is usually a slow process.
If you don’t understand it well, and don’t see those pounds going right away, you will feel worse and it can cause an overeating episode. If you’ve been hungry for days, this is almost guaranteed because staying hungry can lead to low blood sugar, then your brain sends signals to your stomach that it needs more energy, this in turn leads to more stomach acids, and this is how you develop a very strong craving for food.
What to do? If you try to lose weight, accept the fact that it will take time, but it doesn’t mean that you should drop your weight loss efforts completely. Do it in a healthy, and self loving way. Be compassionate about your body and try to fall in love with every single inch of your body, even if you don’t like how it looks right now. You have the only one body to carry you through this life and hating it is just self-sabotage. Also, do understand that losing weight is not an answer to all of your problems – this article explains why.
Another thing that may trigger an overeating episode is simple boredom. When you don’t know what to do to keep yourself entertained, food is probably the easiest source of fun that comes to mind.
What to do? Well, you probably guessed it – find something else or productive to do in order to keep your mind off of food. This one is as simple as it gets, I’m sorry! You have to find something exciting to do because your body craves happiness and excitement hormones and you have to do something that creates them.
For me, organizing and decluttering works great. It takes my mind off of virtually anything and it also gives me happiness and achievement hormones when I enjoy a clean and very organized home. If this sounds appealing to you, you can read about how I get motivated to clean & declutter my home here + here are some ideas for when you’re bored AF, but would love to be productive:
Can You Prevent Overeating?
In many cases – yes. To prevent overeating:
- Don’t use dieting plans that are harsh or extreme.
- Don’t go for long periods of time being hungry.
- Keep your blood sugar levels stable by eating regular, small, healthy meals.
- Plan your meals and write a food diary to help yourself stay on track.
- Don’t neglect your anxiety, depression or self esteem problems and look for ways to improve your mental health.
- Try to be self-compassionate and understand that your body feels and works better when you love it.
- Don’t be afraid to choose a healthy lifestyle even if your family tends or used to binge eat.
- Try to acknowledge your boredom and make something productive out of it.
Best Books About Overeating & Intuitive Eating
You should also gather more knowledge about food and the way you’re eating is impacting your life. I personally recommend looking into intuitive eating – a healthy eating approach that is based on listening to your body and trying to understand what kind of food it actually needs. Here are the best books about it that can help you overcome overeating and build a new, healthy relationship with food:
I hope these tips will help you control those overeating episodes! And if you need to get your life together and conquer those Netflix binges as well… check out this article. 😉