It is very much important to know what exactly overeating is, how it is influenced, and why it is common. Overeating is influenced by the situation happening around us. It could be in the form of a wedding reception where the desire for hunger increases thus indulging yourself in eating without paying much attention to the type and quantity of food. Such activity is very common in all and as expected we are not perfect at all and being perfect should never be the goal. Something when taken in excess always has a consequence and overeating makes us feel physically unwell, lethargic and distances us from practicing a healthy and balanced diet. Thus keeping a regular check on the eating habit is something one should start following.
Overeating, the name itself defines the meaning; overconsumption of food. While overeating, we know the reason behind the habit and how it started. In simple terms, overeating involves taking an extra bite of a delicious meal or eating a dessert in more quantity and is observed as a common phenomenon in many individuals. But the most important factor is while overeating the sense of control is still in our hands.
While in binge eating disorder there is no control over eating habits and occasionally triggered by emotions. Binge eating disorder is observed in those individuals who are either in huge guilt, self-hatred or in grave regret where such actions trigger their emotions and they land up by taking large meals. The disorder is usually observed frequently in such types of individuals. Due to the large size of the meal, people with binge eating disorder often eat alone out of the fear of being judged by society. Binge eating occurs without a hunger signal and keeps on continuing despite the discomfort caused due to it. The fact cannot be ignored that in the USA, binge eating disorder is a medical condition and the most common type of eating disorder. When a person realizes that he/she has started having binge episodes at regular intervals then the first step to take is scheduling an appointment with a dietician who can help to overcome such disorder.
There always has to be a cause behind any action/doing and overeating is also caused by multiple factors described below;
One of the easiest causes of overeating is a distraction. Eating during distraction could be in many ways such as eating while watching TV, surfing on mobile, while working, driving, when bored, etc. During such instances, the food we eat is not enjoyed and is simply focused on food intake. But when we start thinking about the food habit we acquired during distraction and start coming out of it, then that’s the time when we start enjoying the food- the way it tastes, the smells, how it is presented and feels the way the body responds to it before and after meals. Hence, it is very much important to understand the eating habit without any distractions aside and finally putting a full stop to overeating.
Next comes Emotional eating. We tend to overeat when triggered by emotions. It is common nowadays where we are stressed and feel bored and dealing with it is a huge task for a few people. For. eg. when we are bored, we straight away go to grab a snack to get away from boredom. Another example is after having a stressful day in the office and to feel relaxed and cherish our mood we indulge in eating food. The grief which is usually observed less may also contribute to emotional eating.
Apart from the above two causes, one cause that cannot be ignored is overeating due to the situation and environmental triggers. Environmental triggering is influenced by the type of environment we are surrounded by. We go to movies and maximum people to enjoy movies do buy popcorn tub, sandwiches, and cold drinks as well as when we are just passing by in our workplace and grab a few candies from the bowl kept at one corner or similar situations are good examples of environmental triggers. During environmental/situational triggers, it is very much important to check whether your body is in real need of the food or it’s just that the situation around is forcing you to indulge in overeating thus keeping you away from overeating.
Having food items that ideally we should not eat also contributes to overeating. When you are on diet and go out for a gathering or any function where you see all the delicious food items around you. One thing constantly goes around in mind “Oh! I cannot have this food as I am on diet” but your craving and lust for food increase so much that you end up eating that food under such circumstances. Since such kind of food is usually not included in your diet plan, you land up overeating it instead of having a small bite of it and getting satisfied.
When the time between two meals is long, then it happens that we overeat in the subsequent meal and this has happened with every one of us. To give an example, when lunch is eaten at 12:00 pm and by the time you reach home and start with dinner preparations, it is already 6 pm. So the gap of 6 hours between the two meals is long and there are high chances that we tend to lose control over our hunger signals as we are hungry which is an obvious thing. The moment we smell the food being prepared and as soon as it is prepared we hog on food so much that in the end, we don’t even realize that we overate the food.
Every food item and the nutrients present in it have a role to play. Some are responsible for giving energy while some are only meant to keep the stomach full. If your daily diet includes those items which are low in nutrients, then such instances result in overeating for a long period. This is observed when the diet lacks essential fats and proteins.
If the habit of overeating is continued for a long time, then problems associated with it start showing up in the form of symptoms. When we overeat, our body tells us about it by giving out varied signs and symptoms such as we might experience abdominal bloating, nausea, lethargy, acidity, gas, and unusual discomfort. Apart from the physical symptoms, we also experience the regret and guilt of overeating. If the practice of overeating is not stopped then down the line we may start experiencing health issues due to obesity, disrupted hunger regulation, and can develop a negative relationship with the food.
When people realize that they have been indulged in overeating, the first thing they do to stop is to start avoiding such food items. For example, when you overeat chips, you decide that you are not going to eat chips anymore, or when you go out for a night out party where you usually overeat with your friends, you decide to avoid such parties. But such activities are not going to solve the root cause of the problem but in turn, will increase the craving for the food when you come across it or land up in the same situation as before. It also followed emotional turmoil such as shame, guilt, sadness, and depression for not being able to control the feeling and being socially isolated which in turn can trigger emotional overeating and adaptation of unhealthy eating habits leading to the permanent habit of overeating if unresolved. To start practicing how to stop overeating it is important to understand what triggers overeating and simply not just avoiding food items or situations as avoiding is not going to support in the long run. To sincerely stop overeating habit, the first thing to do is to understand the main cause behind it and then following the suggestions given below:
Start focusing and understanding the hunger signals given by your body and rate the hunger on a scale of 1 to 10 where 1 is very full and 10 is very hungry. This will help you to understand your body needs efficiently and the practice will help to tune in your body as per the hunger need and differentiating between real hunger and any external triggering factors.
Keeping aside all the distracting factors aside e.g. having your meal with no devices around such as TV, mobile phones, etc. By practicing this, you will completely focus on the food and will also help to enjoy the meal and focus on the hunger levels as in when you eat.
Nowadays food journals are available. When any problem related to food comes through, food journals help to identify the type of problem and give better advice on eating habits as well.
As in when time passes, such practices help in improving eating habits and behavior related to it.
Now it is well understood what overeating is, what are the different causes, side-effects associated with it, and how you can stop overeating habits by following simple steps. Amalgamating and understanding all the information together and using them to practice in daily life will surely help to overcome the problem of overeating.
Drafted By : GeneSupport
Edited By : Dr. Amol Raut
Leave your contact details and we will get back to you at the earliest