Updated: Aug 29
Are you indulging in overeating even without realising you are doing so?
Overeating is a normal tendency for many individuals, such as having an extra helping at a meal even when they are already full or eating beyond satiety at a special holiday meal or a celebratory occasion. People who chronically overeat may have a common eating disorder called a compulsive overeating. It is also known as binge eating. This eating disorder is marked by eating large amounts of food, quickly (often to the point of discomfort), and by eating even when one is no longer hungry. Many people have a habit of binge eating now and then. But a compulsive overeater binge eats at an average of 2 times a week, for at least 6 months. It is important to make a distinction between overeating and binge eating, as Binge Eating Disorder is a separate entity and diagnosable eating disorder, not just an occasional happening or symptom. Binge Eating Disorder is defined as recurring episodes of eating too much food in a small period of time than most people would eat under similar circumstances, with episodes marked by feelings of lack of control. Your mind does not ask you to overeat or binge, it’s the connections and associations that we make with food and the kind of relationship that we develop with food. However, it being a psychological disorder, it’s essential to understand the individual's mind towards eating and the entire process involved.
Many people overeat at times, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
Here are the 6 key triggers that affect your relationship with food and the amount of it that is consumed:
RESTRICTING FOOD: Whether on a weightloss nutrition programme or not, one should never restrict or completely stop a particular food at one go. One should take small baby steps to make any habit, a lifestyle change. Stopping anything suddenly or avoiding any food at one go is going to increase your cravings for that food really very fast which in turns lead to overeating or binge eating. Hence, never restrict and punish your body so much that it stops loving you back.
RESTRICTING CALORIES: Very common problem within masses wherein fad diets have taken over healthy and balanced eating. Restricting calories and not meeting your body’s nutritional requirement is eventually going to worsen your body’s metabolism. Low or Poor metabolism affects the body which has a direct relationship with your brain that forces the body to give up that diet and forces you to start eating everything. This leads to overeating, binge eating because you weren't happy with the diet with restricting calories which eventually led to you giving up. Hence, monitor your caloric intake rather than restricting it.
HUNGER: We often don’t understand hunger and thirst which leads to us taking it for granted by assuming thirst as hunger and hunger as thirst. Your body needs food, infact fuel every 2 hours but we tend to eat only when it’s lunch, breakfast or dinner time by forgetting and not understanding that the body needs food. This leads to overeating at the wrong and unwanted times.
BOREDOM: Connecting a situation or an emotion or a mental state of mind with food and using food as the only remedy often leads to overeating. Boredom often connects you to that refrigerator filled with all the yummy things. Learn to decode your cravings, find out what is making you overeat when you are bored, whether it is a feeling or an emotional state of mind.
DEHYDRATION: Dehydration affects your mind, thinking, thought process and state of mind. Hence, when the body asks for hydration, do not undertake it as hunger and indulge in overeating. Drink enough water for your body and mind to work well.
POOR RELATIONSHIP WITH FOOD: It’s proved that the ones having a healthy and good relationship with food often eat healthy, eat right and do not indulge in overeating. Hence, understand your body well, fuel it with the right food, nourish it and then your body will love you back.
7 Signs You’re Overeating & How to Prevent It
Worried that you’re overdoing it, but don’t know for sure? Check out these indicators below to know if you are overeating and learn how you can prevent it!
1) YOU CONTINUE EATING EVEN AFTER YOU FEEL SATISFIED:
Sometimes it really is #nomtastic, but it’s important to listen to your body. In fact, your stomach knows when you’ve had just the right amount or way too much. You should feel that you are no longer hungry rather than feeling like you’re bursting from the seams. This is something most people do from time to time and a lot of it has to do with their habits around eating. For example, eating too quickly and being distracted while doing so. It takes about 20 minutes for your brain and stomach to communicate that you’re full, so if you’re shoveling food down too quickly, this can contribute to overeating.
”The best approach is to practice mindful eating.” This means, pay attention to your hunger and stop eating once you reach the point of satisfaction and not to the point of being uncomfortable.
2) YOU FEEL SO FULL THAT YOU ACTUALLY NEED TO TAKE A BREATHER BEFORE YOUR NEXT BITE:
We’ve all been there before; whether it’s a late-night pizza binge or a giant rice bowl from Chipotle. But if you find yourself stopping before continuing to finish your meal because you’re getting too full, take this as a sign you’re overdoing it.
This isn’t always easy to do, but taking a pause when we’re already feeling full can help us feel more satisfied more quickly, without additional food. When you take your pause, get up and do something else rather than just sitting at the table as this will certainly cause you to eat more and make it harder for you to push the food away. If you’re at a restaurant and can’t just go for a walk or leave the room, excuse yourself to go to the bathroom. Any little sign that you’re telling yourself you’ve had enough will help your body realize it.
3) YOU BARELY PAY ATTENTION TO THE MEAL IN FRONT OF YOU:
This might not be a sure sign of overeating, but it can definitely lead you down the path towards overindulging. Your body needs a bit of time to produce leptin, a hormone that signals satiety to your brain. If you’re eating quickly and not paying attention to your meal, you can overeat before your satiety hormone even signals to your brain that you’re full. Try to focus during meal times by really tasting your food and aim for 15 to 30 minutes when possible, and don’t just munch while multitasking. That means shutting off all electronic devices, putting away the phone and turning off other means of distraction.
4) THE THOUGHT OF HAVING A BIG APPETITE GIVES YOU ANXIETY:
If you’re afraid of having an appetite, it might be because you tend to eat too much at each meal, or you think that having an appetite will make you eat too much and therefore gain weight.
Most people have been fortunate enough to never experience true hunger. And because it’s a foreign feeling, we might have a fear of having a true appetite or being truly hungry. A reminder that I always give to my clients is that if you’re truly hungry, you would be excited to eat even a plate of boiled broccoli and beans with no seasoning or salt. If that meal sounds appealing to you, you’re likely to be truly hungry and not eating out of boredom or habit.
Another way to overcome this feeling is to try and make meal times as more positive experiences by spreading out your meals so you end up eating less at each meal, or inviting a friend to join you to make the time more enjoyable.
5) YOU FEEL HEAVY AND WEIGHED DOWN AFTER YOU FINISH YOUR MEAL
This is a sign you might be choosing heavier foods or eating too much at one sitting. Try lightening up on your choices, for example choose salad and protein based foods instead of high-starch and high-fat items. Not only are they low in calories, but they’re also high in fiber which makes you feel full faster than lower-fiber foods. Eat plant based meals, whole grains, legumes and tons of veggies!
6) YOU USUALLY EAT ALONE TO AVOID FEELINGS OF GUILT OR SHAME:
If you live alone or work from home, you’re definitely going to be consuming the majority of your meals solo. But if you’re constantly dodging group lunches and always eating meals at your desk, it may be because you’re eating certain things you wouldn’t normally eat in front of others or eating behaviors you wouldn’t normally do (like eating with your hands or eating right out of the bag instead of putting something on a plate and eating with a fork).This eating behavior can tend to make you feel guilty or shameful for the choices you have made. Choosing a healthy and nutritious meal usually helps us feel more positive, confident and virtuous about our choices.
7) YOU CAN’T KEEP YOUR FAVOURITE FOOD IN THE HOUSE WITHOUT EATING IT ALL IN ONE SITTING:
This definitely varies for everyone. For you it might be a box of Oreos and for your friend it might be a family-sized bag of chips. But regardless of what your ‘trigger food’ is, you shouldn’t have a love-hate relationship with your food or feel that you are unable to stop eating once you start.Trigger foods do just that, they trigger us to eat too much. Become aware and recognize what your trigger foods are, and keep them out of the house until you’re able to enjoy them patiently and over a longer period of time.
It’s easy to sit down on the couch with a large portion of favorite food and without realizing it, eat every last bite. Or maybe you’re bored at work or feel a little awkward at a networking event and find yourself snacking on whatever is within reach when you’re not even that hungry to begin with.
As active individuals, we eat to fuel our bodies, but as unique humans, we eat for so many other reasons. While there’s no one-size-fits-all answer since your nutrition needs vary based on size, gender, age, metabolism and other factors, it is important to recognize the above signs that you’re consuming too many calories.
“DEVELOP A GOOD, POSITIVE RELATIONSHIP WITH FOOD AND YOU’LL OVERCOME ANY SORT OF PROBLEM”
If you feel like you need to speak to a professional with regards to your mental health or eating habits, write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or Book your Initial Consultation on www.themoodspace.com/freeconsultation
Written by- Hanisi Savla