We all overeat from time to time. Whether that be while we are celebrating the holidays or are just having a night in with friends, it happens. It can be hard when this overeating goes from an occasional thing to a nightly habit though.
Overeating can cause stomach pain, discomfort and digestive issues. If it’s done every night, it can also result in unwanted weight gain. A lot of these effects of overeating are not always the most enjoyable, which is why it can be important to figure out the route cause! So what leads to this pattern of overeating?
- Emotional Eating
Overeating can be caused by emotions. This means that sometimes we end up connecting food to a feeling. If you are associating food with a way to relieve a certain emotion, this can lead to a pattern of food being the thing reached for in times of stress, sadness, or just plain boredom. This can lead to overeating and just eating when you aren’t even hungry.
To disconnect emotions from eating, it is important to find a different activity that can help relieve that emotion you are feeling. You could try reaching for a book in times of stress or listening to your favorite playlist when you’re sad.
2. Not Eating Enough Throughout The Day
If you find that you are tending to snack more at night, this could be from actually not eating enough earlier in the day. If you are not eating much in the beginning of the day, your body is going to eventually signal to you that it needs food. You are going to be extra hungry from the lack of food earlier in the day, which might cause you to reach for those unhealthier options. If any meals in the day are lacking and you are not hitting those target macronutrients of protein, carbohydrates, and fat at each meal, then this can actually cause both physical and mental hunger too.
Make sure you are not skipping breakfast or lunch and are trying to include all the macronutrients at each meal. This can help keep your body satisfied for longer and won’t send your body into a panic mode at the end of the night when it realizes it hasn’t had enough food all day.
One way to make sure that you’re getting enough in during the day is to eat every 3-5 hours. This can be done by snacking! Snacking helps to ensure that we’re consuming enough nutrients, enough food in general, and staying satisfied and energized throughout the day.
If you’re not sure what to snack on, aren’t sure if you’re snacking on the right things, or want other ideas so you don’t get bored of your current snacks, check out our free snacking guide, Snack Your Way to Success. In this guide, you’ll receive over 20+ snack ideas!
3. Mental Restriction
You may be mentally restricting certain foods without realizing. Maybe you’re thinking that you shouldn’t be having a dessert after your meal, so when you do eat that cookie, you throw in the towel. You usually wouldn’t allow yourself to eat this, but since you “ruined your day” with this one cookie, you might as well eat them all. This all or nothing mindset can leave you overeating all of your favorite foods.
By allowing yourself all foods, it will help you stay in control around the foods you love and not feel like you have to eat them all in one sitting. If they are always available to you, then you can eat them whenever you want and can listen to how your body is feeling. It is important to not only physically allow yourself all foods, but to mentally feel that you can too.
4. Be More In Tune With Your Body
Everyone is super busy and has a lot to do everyday, with balancing a job, family, kids, the gym, and more. It can be easy to get caught up in it all and feel like you don’t have time to make a meal or even sit down and eat. There might be other distractions while you are eating too, which could cause you to be out of tune with your body and your food.
Practice slowing down at meal times. If you are rushing through each meal, you aren’t giving your body enough time to realize that it’s full. This could lead to you eating until you realize too late that your stomach hurts and you overdid it. Try to put down distractions as best you can during meals and allow yourself this time to eat slowly and mindfully.
There are many different reasons why you could be overeating. From time to time, overeating is totally normal, but when it becomes a habit is when it could be time to take steps to prevent it. Next time you overeat, sit down and think about what could have caused this. This could help you target what is leading to your overeating and figure out how you could prevent it in the future.
If you are looking for more nutritious and filling foods that could help prevent overeating later in the day, check out our snacking guide! This guide will make snacking super easy and will eliminate any confusion so you can get started with your nutrition goals. We also go over the top mistakes to avoid when snacking so you can see results such as confidence, weight loss without dieting, feeling your best.
This article was written by Mackenzie Flug, nutrition intern.