Ever surprise why the cookies you purchased by no means made it house from the shop? Or remorse scarfing down each celebration appetizer in sight? Or really feel responsible after consuming an entire bag of chips whereas watching TV? You could also be asking your self: Why do I overeat?

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We all tend to overeat from time to time. But if it turns into a standard incidence, it may possibly trigger you to realize unhealthy weight and should result in consuming issues.

Being conscious of why you overeat — causes can embrace boredom, sleep deprivation and weight-reduction plan — may also help you make a unique alternative the following time round.

Psychologist Susan Albers, PsyD, explains the frequent causes we might overeat and what we are able to do as a substitute.

What counts as overeating?

“Overeating is eating more than your hunger level,” states Dr. Albers. “That can look different for every person.”

If you overeat, chances are you’ll really feel full or sluggish. You might also expertise:

  • Acid reflux.
  • Bloating.
  • Gas.
  • Heartburn.
  • Nausea.
  • Stomach ache.
  • Feelings of remorse, shock or worry that you just’ve eaten an excessive amount of.

“Overeating is different than binge eating disorder,” clarifies Dr. Albers. “With binge eating, you often feel out of control. But overeating is often caused by emotional eating. But it can also be that what you’re eating is just really tasty and you enjoy it so you continue to eat for the pleasure of it.”

What causes overeating?

Overeating will be attributable to many elements, together with how, when and why we eat. Dr. Albers outlines some frequent causes of overeating and methods to overcome them.

You have 24/7 entry to meals

You’ve bought a packed pantry and a full fridge on the able to fulfill any craving you’ll have. While it’s good to have choices and entry, this could result in giving into any hankering you will have — whether or not that’s a midnight snack or a smorgasbord for lunch.

What to do: Dr. Albers says all of it begins on the grocery retailer. “Being mindful when you shop, and making a list can be helpful so that it decreases impulse buys.” She additionally recommends procuring on-line and doing curbside pickup, which might additionally scale back impulse buys.

Another option to be extra aware? “Rethink your kitchen and strategically place healthy food in the front of your refrigerator,” suggests Dr. Albers. “If it’s in your line of sight, you’re more likely to eat those healthy foods.”

You really feel good, dangerous or confused

A most important motive we are inclined to overeat? Emotional consuming. While we might affiliate emotional consuming with damaging emotions like unhappiness or anger, we are able to additionally overeat if we’re experiencing happiness or different optimistic emotions. 

What to do: “Before you eat, make sure that you take a pause and ask yourself: Am I eating because I’m having feelings?” recommends Dr. Albers. “Sometimes, simply taking that pause can prevent you from engaging in emotional eating.”

You’re consuming supersized parts

Are you a part of the “clean plate club” — feeling such as you all the time must eat each single morsel of meals positioned in entrance of you? Many occasions, we could also be consuming greater than the really helpful serving of a meal, and that is very true once we eat out at a restaurant. It will be laborious to gauge how a lot we should always eat and it may be tempting to maintain going till all of the meals is gone.

What to do: If you’re going out to eat, begin by trying on the menu forward of time. “This helps to reduce impulse ordering,” says Dr. Albers. “You may also be impacted by the people that you’re eating with, so make sure that you’re assessing your own hunger and not just following what someone else is ordering.” And it’s all the time OK to save lots of a part of your meal as leftovers, whether or not you’re at a restaurant or sitting right down to a household meal.

You’re bored

“Boredom eating is the No. 1 trigger of mindless overeating,” states Dr. Albers. “And we tend to do it often in certain spots and locations. For example, on the couch while we’re watching TV, or if you’re sitting at your desk because you’re feeling bored.”

What to do: Know the place your set off spots are. “And when you catch yourself eating because of boredom, acknowledge it,” says Dr. Albers. This may also help you be extra conscious of how a lot you’re consuming. And to keep away from falling into the boredom entice, Dr. Albers suggests strolling round or altering places. Even consuming one thing chilly may also help snap you out of boredom.

You’re consuming as a result of it’s there

This is the place senseless consuming can go flawed. You’re having an in-depth textual content dialog together with your bestie or scrolling via Instagram whereas having a snack, perhaps consuming ice cream straight from the pint or digging right into a bag of chips. You’re not being attentive to how a lot you’re consuming — in actual fact, you’re consuming in a really zombie-like, computerized approach. “By doing this, you lose track of your hunger,” says Dr. Albers.

What to do: Dr. Albers says it’s vital to place that cellphone down or flip off the TV. “When it’s time to eat, put aside whatever you’re doing and focus all your attention on eating.” If you are inclined to snack and even have meals on the sofa or espresso desk, make an effort to take a seat at your eating room or kitchen desk to assist restrict distractions.

There are too many choices

If you’ve ever been to a buffet or a potluck dinner, chances are you’ll bounce with pleasure on the plethora of meal choices. Think trays of mac-n-cheese, piles of hen wings, a salad bar and a carving station with number of juicy meats. Where do you even start? You need all of it. And that may be a downfall to overeating. Your eyes are greater than your abdomen however after you load your plate (or plates) up with meals, you are feeling like that you must eat all of it.

What to do: Do some recon, says Dr. Albers. “Take a tour of the whole buffet. Go across the complete desk and take a look at your choices earlier than you select.

“There’s a study that looked at buffets. We tend to fill up our plates with the first three options and then go for more later because there’s often something that we really want,” she explains. By scouting all of the choices first, you may make a extra knowledgeable alternative on what to eat or take smaller parts of every part so you may style extra.

Your family and friends overeat, too

We’re extremely influenced by different folks — from what we put on and what we do — and that features what and the way a lot we eat. “In fact, studies have shown that we tend to match the rate of chewing with the people that we are with, even if we don’t know them,” says Dr. Albers. So, it may be tough to curb your cravings when these round you’re indulging.

What to do: “Be sure that you eat slowly and that you don’t match the pace of the people around you, especially if they’re eating really fast,” suggests Dr. Albers. “Also, order first, which can be very helpful because the first person who orders sets the tone.” Try to keep in mind that your dietary wants are very completely different from different folks, so in case your pal orders a triple cheeseburger with fries and a milkshake, know that their meal might not match your cravings and starvation ranges.

You’re being social

You’re at a pal’s celebration or an after-work networking occasion and also you’re busy being a social butterfly. But you don’t notice that you just maintain popping appetizers and downing glasses or wine all night time lengthy — and people senseless energy can add up. “Often, you’re eating in a very mindless way,” says Dr. Albers. “You can eat an entire plate of food and not taste one bite.”

What to do: “My motto is, ’Always eat off your feet,’” shares Dr. Albers. “If you’re at a party and there’s a buffet, make sure that you put it on a plate and sit down while you’re eating.” This will assist you give attention to what you’re consuming. Make certain you’re utilizing your whole senses to scent and style your meals, too.

You’re procrastinating

You’ve bought a giant work deadline developing however you’re not motivated to work on it. Or perhaps you’re pushing aside doing this week’s laundry. And as a substitute of specializing in the duty at hand, you fill it with meals.

What to do: “Give yourself permission to take a break,” says Dr. Albers. “You don’t need food to fill up that time. What you really need is a couple minutes of quiet or some time to mindlessly flipping through a magazine.”

Your starvation hormones are off stability

There are two starvation hormones: leptin and ghrelin. Leptin is called the satiety hormone, which helps regulate vitality and suppresses your urge for food, whereas ghrelin is sometimes called the starvation hormone and stimulates your urge for food. “These hormone levels increase before meals and decrease after meals,” explains Dr. Albers. “But they can be impacted by things like lack of sleep or exercise or an increase in stress.”

What to do: Even ensuring that you just’re hydrated and consuming sufficient water all through the day may also help help a constant urge for food. “Additionally, one of the best things you can do is maintain a routine,” notes Dr. Albers. So, consuming at a constant time every day, becoming in each day train and taking steps to handle stress may also help stop overeating. “When you have a routine, it helps keep those hunger hormones regulated,” she provides.  

You’re sleep-deprived and brain-fogged

As we talked about above, sleep can have an effect on the way you eat. “Sleep is the cornerstone of your mental health and sleep helps to regulate your hormones,” reiterates Dr. Albers. “Even missing one hour of sleep can increase your cravings.” So, that’s why you would possibly bask in a stack of pancakes with bacon and eggs.

What to do: It’s all about establishing a sleeping routine. “It’s incredibly important to go to sleep and wake up at the same time — the ability to get up at the same time each day helps to regulate your appetite,” says Dr. Albers. “If you’re sleep-deprived, you may reach for something sugary and it sends your blood sugar on a roller coaster throughout the day.”

You’ve waited too lengthy to eat

Hangry — you realize that feeling. You’re each hungry and indignant since you’ve waited too lengthy to eat. “It’s often a big trigger of overeating because your blood sugar is very low,” says Dr. Albers. “And you tend to eat anything that is close by because you’re overly hungry.”

What to do: So, how will you stop that hangry feeling? “Make sure that you eat regularly, having snacks throughout the day to keep your blood sugar regulated,” recommends Dr. Albers. “That’s going to prevent those big dips that make you crave eating food quickly.”

You’re weight-reduction plan

You’re on a diet. You’re not liking the restrictions (no carbs! no sugar!) and are feeling disadvantaged. So, as a substitute of staying away from ice cream, you give in and find yourself consuming an entire pint. “Dieting is a direct line to overeating,” says Dr. Albers. “It makes you very vulnerable to overeating.”

What to do: Make certain you’re consuming mindfully all through the day. “Don’t try to convince yourself that you should ignore your hunger or talk yourself out of your hunger,” emphasizes Dr. Albers. “Instead, make sure that you eat healthy foods to keep your blood sugar stable. This will prevent you from overeating at a later time.”

When does overeating grow to be an issue?

We all overeat now and again — and that’s completely OK and regular.  

“Overeating can become a problem with a lot of emotional discomfort like shame and regret,” says Dr. Albers. “For some people, it also can cause a lot of anxiety, or sometimes depression.”

And in case your overeating habits begin to impression the way you perform each day, it’s a good suggestion to take steps to work on consuming extra mindfully.   

“The antidote to overeating is listening to your hunger and eating in a mindful way, which means paying attention to what you’re eating and not becoming distracted,” says Dr. Albers.

And if you happen to attempt to reduce your overeating and really feel prefer it’s tough, talking with a healthcare supplier may also help provide the instruments you want.

“A mental health professional or your doctor can give you some additional guidance, as well as perform some assessments to see if there are any medical reasons that may be impacting your overeating,” says Dr. Albers. “But they will also come up with some practical solutions to help you address the factors that are leading to overeating.”  

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