Seven Causes of Overeating

Posted: September 17, 2014 in Blog, Nutrition, Weight Gain, Weight Loss
a girl enjoying eating a burger

If you’ve lead an ongoing battle to control your weight, at some point you’ve probably asked yourself “why me?”  After all, it doesn’t seem like you eat any more food than other people who don’t face the same challenges.

But overeating isn’t always easy to identify – especially by overeaters – who often don’t realize that they’re eating too much food, or at least the extent of their overeating

In a way, it’s not really “over” eating. You eat in response to signals your body sends. The real problem is that many of those signals are triggered by your habits and lifestyle instead of by actual hunger.

The good news is you can curb overeating by simply being aware of the triggers that cause you to eat more and make adjustments to reduce your “hunger” pangs and the amount of food you eat.

  1. Lack of Sleep. Not getting proper rest leaves you exhausted and sluggish. A natural reaction is to have something to eat, especially something full of sugar, to get a boost of energy. A 2012 Mayo Clinic study showed that those who lost one hour and 20 minutes from their regular sleep consumed an average of 549 more calories the next day. (
  2. Skipping Meals. Too many of us think that there is a direct correlation between skipping a meal and eating less. Unfortunately, the opposite is usually true. When you meal-skip, you’re fighting your body’s natural mechanisms to maintain normal energy levels. It’s a very tough battle to win. Skipping a meal increases the chance of indiscriminate snacking and eating more at the next meal.
  3. Using Meal Replacements. Sorry, but this doesn’t work either. It’s a mistake to think that a nutrition bar or drink can replace a meal, even if they have the required calories. Your body expects you to eat a meal and get your calories from a variety of sources. And taking time to eat a balanced meal is associated with reduced calorie consumption.
  4. Not Drinking Enough Water. This might be one quick and easy calorie-reduction plan that actually works. Studies show that drinking water before meals reduces the amount of food you eat.
  5. Emotional Eating. If you’re stressed or upset, your body responds with anxiety and/or nervousness. Unfortunately, too many of us mistake those signals with hunger pangs and we eat to get rid of them. Pay attention to why you are eating and try to learn when it’s to satisfy real hunger.
  6. Uncontrolled Eating. When you eat in front of the TV, or with a group of friends, or while you’re drinking, or straight from a package, you reduce your ability to gauge how much you eat and you tend to overeat. The bottom-line here is to take the time to deliberately eat your meals and be more conscious off what you eat.
  7. Unhealthy Snacks. There’s nothing wrong with snacks. They help reduce the chance of overeating during your regular meals. But if you eat the wrong types of snack foods, like potato chips and candy with empty calories, you’re likely to eat too much because they don’t satisfy our body’s need for proper nutrition.

Want to learn more about how to avoid overeating? Talk to your local nutrition specialist who will help you control your eating while ensuring your body gets the nutrition it needs.