“Why do we overeat, even on whole foods?”
Many of you might have wondered what the reasons for overeating can be, in this blog I will discuss some reasons that can help you understand how our body reacts and what we can do to reduce such cravings.
6 Reasons For Overeating
- Normalising Overeating: Over time our body gets used to over-eating and so now thinks overeating is normal. To adjust this thinking, decreasing intake over time.
- Craving for water: Sometimes we actually crave for water, but interpret it as hunger (many people do). Try drinking a big glass of water and wait ten minutes before you decide to eat something.
- Stress eating: Stress releases chemicals in our body that tells us to prepare for hard times. One of the ways our body wants to prepare is by eating more to build up fat reserves. To manage this, practice Mindful eating. It means become more aware of what you are eating, how much you are eating, and why you are eating it. Another thing you can do is, Be prepared. For example, If you are bored at home and get the urge to visit the pantry, then maybe listen to a podcast, so your mind has something else to focus on or if you are feeling upset after watching the news and get a craving for ice cream, then just sit down and try a brain training app. If you had an awful day and feel overwhelmed with a lack of routine, then call a friend for to chat. These are just some ways to distract your mind from stress eating to doing something that actually helps relieve the stressful situation. Lastly, take away guilt. It’s important that you try to take away any feelings of guilt that can arise during or after an episode of comfort or emotional eating. One way to do this is to stop labelling foods as ‘good’, ‘bad’, ‘junk food’, ‘treat’, or ‘sin’. This can foster a negative relationship with food and create an ongoing cycle of comfort eating. Instead, refer to them as foods we enjoy every day and foods that we enjoy less often.
- Nutrient Deficiency: We tend to overeat when we are deficient in one or more nutrients, particularly macro-nutrients. Fat starvation is a real thing, so make sure you are eating a mix of fats, proteins, and carbs (refer to the image below).
- Hypoglycemia: On a related note, if the foods we are eating have a high glycemic index, we might have reactive hypoglycemia. This where our body overreacts when our blood sugar rises and causes it to drop too far/too fast. Eating again will raise blood sugar – but if it’s simple carbs again then you’re just staying on the roller coaster and will overeat trying to correct each low. To maintain hypoglycemia, have protein, fat and complex carb in every meal (refer to the image below).
- Medical conditions: Certain medical conditions including parasites or hyperthyroidism can cause hunger. If you are suffering from any of these, please consult a doctor.