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Common Reasons Why We Overeat

Niharika Arya Oct 03, 2020
We should eat when we feel hungry. But does it actually happen? No, we end up eating even when we're not hungry, and this leads to overeating.
This gorging on food can lead to a lot of health complications. So, let's discuss some of the most common reasons why we overeat and how we can prevent it.
My doctor told me to stop having intimate dinners for four; unless there are three other people. ~ Orson Welles
We eat food to gain energy, which helps us in performing our daily chores. When our body lacks energy, our brain triggers certain hormones which make us feel hungry. But do we really eat only when we are hungry? There are many reasons which make us eat more than what our body needs. This extra intake of food is called overeating.
Though when our hunger is appeased and our body sends a signal to the brain to stop eating, this signal takes some time to reach the brain and till then, we keep stuffing ourselves. Eating slowly can simply solve this problem. We need to have enough willpower to control ourselves and decide the quantity and quality of food we eat daily to avoid overeating.

Reasons Why We Overeat

Almost everyone faces the problem of overeating either due to social pressure or tempting food or other reasons. But overeating can do a lot of harm, as it can cause obesity which in turn is related to heart problems, blood pressure, diabetes, etc. So, to limit our daily consumption of food and to fulfill our criteria of staying healthy, we should know when to say no to even a plate of our favorite food.
My Life's a Party!
Meeting friends and socializing with people may be good for our social life, but it can also be one of the major reasons for overeating. We usually overlook our health regime when we hang out with friends. Many a time, we eat just due to social pressure. It's not that good food shouldn't be enjoyed, it's just that it should be enjoyed in moderation.
Solution: To avoid overeating in such a situation, try to control the urge to binge. Order something healthy and light.
I'm Bored as Hell!
Yes, it is a fact, we eat when we are bored. When our body needs food and is hungry, the food gets digested properly and the body gets its share of nutrients. But eating just to kill time can result in obesity and other health-related problems.
This is more dangerous because we are unable to keep a track of how much we eat, when we eat just because we have nothing better to do.

Solution: The next time you are bored, read a book, take a walk, play a game, or just take a nap. Do not dash to the kitchen.
I've got Nothing Better to Do
If we keep a track of what we eat in the entire day or week, we might get a mini heart attack, seeing what kind of food we eat and how much, specially when we're not on any particular diet plan. Many people eat when they are working, when they have time on their hands, when they are bored or any time of the day without even feeling hungry.
They eat whatever is available without even thinking about its nutritional content. This leads to overeating.

Solution: You can avoid mindless eating by drinking water whenever you feel like drinking something and have a chewing gum when you have the urge to munch something.
I'm Sad/Angry/Depressed!
Emotional eating is very common. We indulge in comfort food to console and please ourselves when we're feeling down. Emotions such as anger, distress, sadness, happiness, fear, etc. are the most common ones that make us seek comfort food.
Hormone fluctuation at the time of menopause, PMS, etc., results in mood swings which may also be a cause for emotional eating in women. But emotional eating has a scientific reason behind the consumption of a particular food.
Chocolate contains chemical stimulators which act as mood elevators and soothe us in discomfort. Similarly, fatty food helps us feel better. Hence, we eat such food which are, no doubt, helpful in cheering up our mood, but are definitely not good for health if taken in excess.
Solution: The best thing to do in such situations is to talk to your loved ones with whom you can share your feelings. Speak to them instead of gorging on food. Just tell your friends what is bothering you and they're sure to come up with thousands of solutions. So, in simple words 'eat less, speak more'.
I Don't have Enough Time to Eat
Busy lifestyles and hectic work schedule can affect our eating habits. We start eating too quickly just to pace up with our work and end up eating more than our body's requirement. When we eat meals or snacks too fast, our brain takes some time to register that it's full.
This results in overeating. We prefer junk food which is handy and can be eaten fast, and this just makes it worse for our body.

Solution: Set an alarm to go off in 20 minutes when you sit to eat food. Eat slowly so that you finish the food on your plate in 20 minutes.
This will help you to chew your food properly, digestion will be good and you will not overeat.
It's Family Time!
Culture and traditions in the form of festivals and celebrations, give us a lot of reasons to overeat. By default, these celebrations come with loads of tasty treats which are quite tempting and we end up stuffing ourselves.

Solution: Though difficult, self-control is the only thing which will help you limit your consumption. Enjoy everything, but in a limited amount.
I Like My Meals Upsized!
A large serving size is another factor that contributes to overeating. Just because we are hungry, we order an extra large burger or meal. Instead, we need to order a small meal, eat it slowly, finish it off and then decide if we want to eat more. Another contributor to large serving sizes is buffets.
We usually end up stuffing ourselves in such situations as we get the freedom to eat as much as we want.

Solution: To avoid overeating in this case, just order a meal that you can actually finish. Do not wait till you are extremely hungry. Instead of eating 3 large meals, go for 5 small meals.
My Lifestyle's so Demanding
Busy schedule, hectic job, social engagements, maintaining social status - everything is somewhere connected to eating habits. Moreover, due to work pressure, we either eat our meals too late or skip them altogether. This disturbs our body's metabolism and may create problems.
Eating out on a regular basis can also be one of the major causes of overeating.

Solution: Drink a glass of water half an hour before starting your meal. This will fill your stomach and you won't feel the need to overindulge. Fix a time for lunch and dinner and follow it rigorously.
But I Must Finish What's on My Plate
We have always been taught to finish everything that is on the plate. So, even when we start feeling full, we keep on eating till our plate is completely empty or till we stop feeling guilty about wasting food. The size of the plate itself may also be the culprit in this case.
Solution: First of all, get a smaller plate. This will trick you into thinking that you have eaten a good amount and you will start feeling full and satisfied earlier. Use a plate in a contrasting color to the food. This will make the food easily visible and you can know how much you have heaped onto your plate.
I Can't Help It! It's too Hot (or Cold)!
Temperature plays a very important role in deciding our food habits. In winters, we tend to consume warm or hot drinks like coffee, tea, hot chocolate, and eat fatty and heavy meals to keep ourselves warm. Similarly in summers, we consume ice creams, frozen desserts, chilled beer, and other drinks.
These foods items along with the regular food add to the calorie content.

Solution: In summers, try to drink water instead of going for soda or beer, and in winters, soup will be a better option than hot chocolate.
It's Free!
Supermarkets have lots of attractive offers to get us to buy things which we may or may not need. And once we buy these food stuff, we end up consuming them all. For example, if we get offers on a perishable product like flavored yogurt, we may end up buying 10 of them, which need to be consumed in a limited period of time. This further leads to overeating.
Solution: Always be sure about what you need to buy and how much your diet allows you to eat. Enjoy offers on non-perishable products.
I'm Addicted to It!
There is, no doubt, we are slaves to our tongue. We love eating and whenever we are served with our favorite food, we tend to behave like we've never seen food before, and wind up eating more than what our appetite permits. We also get attracted to food that are easy on the eye, as it triggers the desire to eat.
Solution: To avoid overeating when the food is tempting, you need to exercise self-control. Take the required amount of food on a plate, eat slowly and enjoy every bite. You will feel full in that limited amount and will enjoy it to the core.
Lonely, I'm so Lonely
Loneliness or just being alone can be a very common reason behind overeating. We either eat to kill time or use this loneliness as an excuse to eat whatever we want, especially those food we hesitate to eat around others.
Solution: You can do a lot of things when you are alone, like watching movies, reading a book, crafts, etc. Utilize this time for something productive. Drink lots of water. This will make you full. Eat healthy food like fruits. It is said that we enjoy food more when we share it. So, try that out too.
I'll Get to Eat My Favorite Food if I Do This
How many times have our parents, friends, colleagues, boyfriend/girlfriend, etc. used food as a bribe to get something done from us. We all have fallen for this at least once in our lives. Since someone else is paying for the food, we eat till our stomach starts screaming for help.

Solution: If you're being bribed with food, the best thing is to ask for something else, instead of food.
One more thing we should keep in mind that, when we are tired, our body needs rest more than food. Getting stuffed at this time especially when we're not hungry will not do us any good. Skipping meals may also lead to overeating as the blood sugar level drops very low which makes us feel very hungry and we end up eating more than our capacity.
So, take rest, eat when you are hungry, don't skip meals, drink lots of water; and if you still have time to spare, there are a lot of productive things you can do instead of eating mindlessly. Stay healthy!