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Why You Overeat And What To Do About It

Why You Overeat

Permanent Weight Loss: Dr. Barbara L Katz

The definition of overeating is “eating more food than your body needs. Especially so that you feel uncomfortably full” (Cambridge Dictionary).

Without overeating, most of us would be at an average body weight for our height. Some common reasons for overeating include:

  • Eating from habit.
  • Eating more than you desire because you don’t want to waste food.
  • As a form of procrastination. Using eating to delay you from doing things you need to do –  but don’t want to do.
  • Eating because you’re bored.
  • Emotional eating – eating because you’re upset, bored, or angry. And eating (especially carbs or sweet foods) makes you feel better.
  • What you’re eating tastes good, and it’s hard to stop eating it.

Habits Can Be Detrimental:

you may habitually grab a piece of candy or a snack whenever you pass the candy bowl or pantry”

Habit is a very common reason for overeating. You may be used to eating when you watch TV or Netflix. You may always snack before bedtime or in the afternoon when you come home from work or want a pick-me-up. Moreover, you may habitually grab a piece of candy or a snack whenever you pass the candy bowl or pantry. 

If you’re eating from habit when you’re not hungry and want to lose weight, it’s relatively easy to stop your habitual eating. If you eat when watching TV or movies, try sitting in a different chair or doing something with your hands, such as knitting or beadwork. In addition, if you snack before bedtime, close the kitchen and brush your teeth right after dinner. If you snack when arriving home after work, prepare a snack ahead of time to eat if you’re hungry.

Also, if you have been snacking after work, coming into the house by a different door, or putting your favorite snack food in a difficult-to-reach place will help you stop this habit. If you habitually stop for fast food on your way home from work, try driving a different route.

Feel Satisfied Without Overeating:

If you grew up with parents who lived during the Depression or were very concerned about money and frequently reminded you not to waste food, and you have difficulty “wasting” food, either take smaller portions, put a few spoonfuls of food back in the bowl or pot right after you take your food, or practice leaving a bite or two on your plate. When you eat less than usual, if you don’t become hungry within three or four hours, take less food the next meal and experiment until you figure out how much food you need to eat to feel satisfied without overeating. You’ll save money at the supermarket when you don’t buy extra food.

If you eat to procrastinate, give yourself a non-food reward after you do whatever you’re avoiding. Rewards I use include reading a book I love, doing a puzzle, or playing an online game of Mah Jong. 

If you eat when you’re bored, make a list of activities to do instead of eating – ones you can do in short amounts of time and others you can do when you have more time. Choose something to do from your list when you’re bored – and stay out of the kitchen. My list includes taking a walk or bike riding, practicing my ukulele, playing with my dogs (or training them), playing an online game, and texting or talking with friends on “Marco Polo.”

“Rewards I use include reading a book I love, doing a puzzle, or playing an online game of Mah Jong.”

Common Reason For Overeating:

If food is your solace when you’re upset, what can you do instead? I recommend crying, talking with a sympathetic friend, journaling, walking, or exercising. Eating may temporarily make you feel better, but that pint of ice cream will not make you less upset in the long term and will contribute to your weight gain.

A common reason for overeating is that “It tastes good, and I don’t want to stop before I’ve finished eating it.” It’s difficult to stop eating something delicious once you start eating that food. If you have snack foods at home that are difficult for you to stop eating, portion them out ahead of time and make those foods hard to grab quickly. Put them on a high shelf, above the refrigerator, in the basement, in the trunk of your car, or somewhere that you’ll need to make an effort to get those foods. That way, you’re pausing and giving yourself time to decide whether to eat those foods.

Always The Option:

There is always the option of not keeping those foods at home and going out and buying one portion, but if you want to keep chips, ice cream, cookies, and other snacks in your home, practice taking one portion and leaving the bag or carton in a difficult to reach place.

It takes practice and determination to change habits and patterns – but once you’ve learned to eat the amount your body needs, your weight will gradually stabilize. Look at your patterns of overeating, and then use these strategies – and others you discover, to eat the amount your body needs to stay healthy. There is no food you cannot eat (unless you’re allergic or intolerant), but there are foods you may want to plan when and how much to eat.

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Barbara Katz

About the Author:

Dr. Barbara L Katz is a physician, an Advanced Certified Weight Loss Coach and a Life Coach for women over 50. She is CEO of Dr Barbara L Katz, Coaching and specializes in helping women over 50 to lose their excess weight for the last time without dieting or excessive exercise. She, herself, lost over 40 pounds in her 60s with the help of coaching. In her free time, she participates in dog obedience, agility, and therapy dog visits to the local children’s hospital with her 2 pugs.

As a coach, she helps women visualize themselves as their future selves, comfortable and controlled around all foods. You can sign up for her weekly posts on her website, https://drbarbaralkatzcoaching.com. Every week in your inbox, you will receive information about how to lose weight successfully and permanently without dieting.