Over-Eating can have a lot less to do with food, and a lot more to do with distractions:
1. Your diet is too restrictive
Diets which exclude food groups in unrealistic ways can set yourself up for over-eating later. Cutting calories and skipping meals can spur binge eating and lead to unhealthy habits. American nutritionist, Kathy McManus, explains “being restrictive is not sustainable. You have to think about looking at this for the long haul”. Finding balance as opposed to deprivation is key when tackling this issue.
Becoming more present when eating meals is essential to distinguishing between being hungry and being full. Multitasking can lead to mindless eating, where individuals become less aware of just how much we are consuming.
For example, eating in front of the television or while working can lead to over-eating, without even realising. Eating meals distracted or in a rush can also prompt this. Additional to hunger, attention and memory play a crucial role in controlling our daily intake.
3. You’re an emotional eater
People often look to food out of emotion, whether you’re feeling bored, looking to de-stress or feeling ungrounded. Whether it’s turning to chocolate during a break up or scoffing down a bag of chips when you’re bored, food provides an escape.
Australian psychologist and mindful eating specialist, Louise Adams, highlights that “eating to soothe our emotions is pretty much a human thing to do”. Its not pathological, but rather something we do to settle ourselves, at a chemical level.
The issue with emotional eating is that it can be harmful to your health as well as your ability to cope with different feelings. Turning to food when you are bored, sad or stressed means that you’re not developing real ways to confront such emotions. Meditation and exercise provide great alternatives to eating when looking to unwind and settle ourselves.
4. You’re not getting enough sleep
Without quality sleep, your appetite may become adversely affected. A study conducted in the Annals of Internal Medicine concluded that those who slept less than four hours a night experience a 24% boost in appetite. Sleep deprivation can negatively effect your leptin and ghrelin levels; two hormones which control hunger. Therefore, Individuals with insufficient amounts of sleep are more susceptible to over-eating.
5. Hormonal irregularities
Eating too much is not always associated with a lack of willpower. Hormonal imbalances and biological abnormalities can cause many individuals to binge eat too. For those who suffer from these issues, it is best to seek professional advice to ensure the treatment that is right for you.