Do you overeat? Do you find yourself continuing to eat even when you are not hungry? Or feeling so full that you feel sick and tired? Many of us have, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. Here, I take a look at some of the reasons we do it, and how you take steps to stop overeating.
Why do we overeat?
In this video, I take a look at just some of the reasons why you might overeat – to help you recognise the patterns of behaviour and start your journey to stop overeating.
You enjoy eating
Many of us enjoy eating. Food tastes good, so why would we want to waste it? You might find yourself finish your plate and go up for seconds, thirds and even fourths. Or you feel that you need to eat until you are painfully full, or there is no food left on the plate – some key signs of overeating.
To further understand why you do this, it’s important to look at and gather an understanding of human evolution. Our ancestors would eat everything they had. They didn’t know how long it would be until they would have their next meal. People would eat until they could eat no more and use their fat stores up until they found their next meal – like many animals do.
The human brain is still wired this way. We eat it all, just in case we need to go a while without food again. However, now we have supermarkets and fridges so there is an abundance of food whenever we want it. For many of us, there is little to no risk of not having a meal in a few hours let alone a few days. But, our brains still think there is.
The next reason you might find yourself overeating could be your upbringing. How often were you told to finish the food on your plate? or that people are starving in Africa? Many children are rewarded for eating all of thier food.
Cast your mind to special occasions growing up – such as birthdays or doing well at school. For doing such a good job you get a treat, your favourite food (usually or sweets or chocolate).
Drawing on these experiences, it’s no wonder many of us see food in this way. Whenever we feel upset, tired, or bored we go straight to the fridge to get that same emotional buzz and reward. Looking to food to make you feel happier.
Overeating can also give you a sense of control. You have the power to eat what you want, when you want. When you have had a bad day at work, you can go to the fridge or go out for some food to make yourself feel better. You can eat as much as you want until you feel full and satisfied, helping to take your mind off your rubbish day.
Overeating gives you a way to regulate your emotions. It makes sense then that you would want to keep on eating even when you are full. It offers you space away from life and allows you to feel safe, gain praise and perceived control.
Add to that being evolutionarily programmed to eat as much as possible, and it’s no surprise that most overeat on a daily basis. By knowing why you overeat you can start to understand yourself and learn to acknowledge when you feel full up – the first step to stop overeating.
At this point ask yourself what does overeating give you and why do you feel the need to do it?