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3 reasons for overeating

There are many reasons that we overeat. Even when we are consciously trying to lose weight, it can be difficult to regain control and understand what portion sizes work for our own bodies. There are 3 common reasons for overeating that I see with weight loss. The first of which is often the most difficult to overcome. So many of believe that food should not be wasted – which is certainly not a bad thing, but for some of us the belief is so strong that no matter what food is on the plate in front of them they absolute must eat every single bite regardless of how full they may already be. That is a belief that comes from childhood whether we were simply told to finish our food by our parents maybe not allowed done from the table until its all gone, or even extreme cases that if we didn’t know where our next meal was coming from so it would be absurd to waste food!

When we think about throwing food in the bin, we see that as wasting it – which of course makes sense. But when we eat food even though we are already full it is doing nothing for us, in fact it is making us feel uncomfortable and giving us calories that we don’t need that will be stored as fat. Which seems just as wasteful as throwing it away! These belief systems are often deep rooted in our subconscious mind and stay with us throughout adulthood even thought, thankfully, we no longer live that. Food is more readily available than ever!

This change is usually the one that my clients are most reluctant to change – but that also means it can have the most impact when they do. The quickest way to deal with this belief is to actually leave food on your plate – yup waste it! This method is simple to change your view and allow yourself permission to not eat every single bite. It can just be one mouthful of food once a day but once you learn you do not have to eat everything in front of you, you can start to listen to your fullness cues instead and stop overeating once you are full. Once you learn your fullness cues you can learn to simply make smaller portions and realise that you are lucky enough to have food readily available if you become hungry again after you have eaten.

The second reason most people overeat is comfort. And many of us are completely unaware they are even doing this. Emotional eating tend to come from childhood, for example when our parents offer us sweets or chocolate if we are upset or if we have been very good, we grow up with this installed in us, so as adults when we are feeling sad we go straight for unhealthy treats because we think it will cheer us up (this is one example of so many!)

If you know that you are not hungry and you find yourself eating because you are feeling down, anxious or stress, instead of eating away those emotions or stuffing them down, let yourself feel them. Explore them. What is that drive that’s making you want to eat. If you have used food for a long time to cope with feelings it can be very difficult to identify those feelings. It becomes so automatic that questioning that thought in your head at the moment of reaching for food is really hard. I say to all my clients write everything down. When you are eating unhealthy or you are eating when you know you are not hungry write down everything you have been thinking and feeling up until that point. Your thoughts are what dictates how you feel and your feelings are what leads to those behaviours – particularly negative ones. So if you can capture the negative thoughts, flip them on their head to start thinking in a positive way, the positive behaviours will follow! By changing the thoughts that make you feel unhappy you can change the behaviours that lead you to eat negatively. When you separate food and emotion not only will your weight no longer depend on your emotions, but you will also deal with any emotion that has been affecting you in a negative way.

The last reason for overeating I want to mention is that your stomach has no idea that you are full so you just keep eating. There is often disconnect between our minds and our stomach and when this happens we have no idea when we are hunger and when we are full. The first way to deal with this is by slowing down and giving yourself time to really think about whether or not you are hungry. If you aren’t sure if you are still hungry, take 3 mouthfuls of food and put your fork down for a few minutes. Have a think about what plans you have later or tomorrow and then go back to your food. If your stomach is genuinely telling you it isn’t full yet, carry on eating. If, however, you feel full and satisfied you are finished.

One certain way to cause overeating is by allowing yourself to get too hungry. When we try and restrict food through dieting, we tend to get extremely hungry before we allow ourselves to have our next meal. When we are extremely hungry, we then eat far too quickly for our mind to realise that we are full. if you feel that you are hungry, rather than holding off to restrict your calories, eat. And allow yourself time for your mind and your body to connect.

It is possible to change your mindset and build a positive relationship with food. This is just 3 of many reasons we have for overeating but I can honestly say that each one can be changed in a healthy and positive way. I offer both group courses and private courses to help you to lose weight permanently without restricting food. Email lauren@laurenregantherapy to book your free consultation today or simply if you would like to know more about how I can help.

Lauren x

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