Have you ever found yourself feeling a little full or eating when you’re not really hungry, however At the same time, are you struggling to stop overeating?
We all eat occasionally, and this is normal and expected. We’re not perfect and you don’t need to be because that’s not the point.
However, if you realize that overeating is always present in your life, it is also important to address it because it does not support you.
Constantly overeating can make you feel that you are not feeling well physically, and that you are more disconnected from your wants and needs, and also a sign that you have not found how to practice healthy and balanced eating in your daily life.
You will learn why overeating can be so common and some practices to start using to help you stop overeating.
How to stop overeating
They are often asked, “What should I do to stop overeating,” “How to stop overeating at night,” or other similar questions like that.
I have hours of lessons within my Mindful Nutrition Method ™ that delve into how to support your eating habits, but I want to share some simple tips with you that you can start practicing if you find yourself overeating.
1. Keep a reflective food journal
One of the first steps in overeating is to understand why you are overeating.
Many people think the reason behind this is because they have strong teeth for sweets or because they lack self-control, but this is usually not the case. There are many factors that contribute to overeating and understanding your eating habits better will support you in finding the true cause so that you can treat it.
For example, a member of Mindful Nutrition Method ™ noticed that she was binge eating in the evening. She needed to better understand why this was so I used a reflective food magazine to help her do just that.
The reflective food journal is not about tracking calories or controlling what you eat. The purpose of this is to understand more about your eating habits and note common patterns that appear so you can determine what works and what does not.
Over time, it is these types of practices that help you increase awareness of your eating habits and behaviors. This awareness helps you make adjustments in the way you eat that are better aligned with how you want to feel and behave.
2. Detect what causes overeating
After you increase awareness of your unique eating habits, you will begin to notice patterns about overeating, which will help you identify the root cause.
As for the Mindful Nutrition Method ™ member I mentioned earlier, I noticed she was binge eating in the evening. After using a reflective food diary, I was able to notice that she tends to overeat on the days she was studying in the library. After learning about the causes of overeating, she realized that she wasn’t eating enough all day while she was studying. She would normally pack a piece of protein as a snack and that was it, so she inadvertently went from breakfast to dinner without eating, which made her feel insatiable when she got home.
Once you have this awareness, you can then focus on actions that will help you navigate these things.
After keeping a journal to help you identify patterns like these in your life, explore these common reasons that people tend to overeat, so you can see if any of them are common in your life.
One of the simplest reasons to overeat is to get distracted.
When you are “distracted eating”, you are not completely present to try your food – to fully enjoy it, note where your hunger levels are, and what you need.
This often occurs when you are on your phone, watching TV, working at your desk, driving, rushing to get from one task to the next, pondering thoughts in your mind, feeling restricted, or doing anything else while eating.
As you slow down and eliminate distractions from your meals, you can experience your food more consciously – the way the food tastes, how it feels, how it looks and smells, along with how you enjoy it, hunger signals, and how your body feels before and after a meal.
A key part of learning how to stop overeating is learning how to eat without being distracted until you are fully present.
Another common reason is Emotional eating. Feelings like boredom and stress are something many people experience on a regular basis, and dealing with those emotions can be a struggle for some people.
This may sound like reaching for evening snacks when you have nothing to do but watch TV or it may sound like coming home after a long and stressful day at the office and feeling called upon to eat comfort food.
Other emotions such as sadness, which may occur less frequently, can contribute to emotional eating.
Situational or environmental factors
The third thing that may lead to overeating is your environment. Environmental triggers are specific situations or places that initiate a period of overeating.
Common examples might be going to the movies and ordering popcorn, grabbing a dessert in the bowl from the office break room wherever you go, or going out to eat. It’s those situations or environments that message you that you should be eating, and it can sometimes be difficult to remember to check in with yourself and notice if you are really hungry or if outside factors are directing your eating.
Can you think of an environmental trigger that you realize is causing overeating?
Eat “off limits” foods
Another factor that contributes to overeating is if you have it Foods to avoid.
If you’ve been dieting before, this might sound like a commonplace situation. You go to eat or go to a social gathering while on a diet and are introduced to foods that “you can’t eat” that make you increasingly hyperactive, sensitive and focused on that food choice.
When you deal with these foods face-to-face, you may then feel a lack of mindset that makes you want to overeat this food because you do not know when you will be able to eat it again because you have described it as a “no-go”, rather than being able to enjoy the meal and be completely satisfied.
You are not in tune with your hunger cues
One of the main practices we teach here at Nutrition Stripped is how to read your body Hunger signals To direct what we eat, when to eat, and how much to eat. This skill requires patience and practice to learn because it is not as simple as “eat when you are hungry and do not do when you are not.” If you don’t use your hunger levels successfully to guide you Serving sizesYou may have overeating.
She went for a long time without eating
We have a lot of willpower to use before it runs out. When we wait for a long period of time to eat, our hunger cues finally take over which leads to overeating.
Let’s use the time period between lunch and dinner as an example. If you are having lunch at 12:00 PM and don’t eat anything until you get home and start preparing dinner at 6:00 PM, then you’ll likely be very hungry.
For most people, at this point we are experiencing at least a slight loss of control. Once we see or even smell food, our hunger signals go through the roof and our bodies search for anything and everything we eat.
This often leads to overeating in an effort to make up for hours without food.
Your meals are not balanced
Each of these macronutrients serves a different purpose, which is why we use them The five foundational Diet is the key to eating balanced meals. While some aim to give us energy, others aim to keep us full.
If we maintain a diet consistently low in the nutrients that provide us with satiety, we can often overeat. This occurs when we maintain a diet devoid of healthy fats and / or protein.
If you don’t have the right balance of macronutrients on your plate, this could also cause this High blood sugar, Which can make you feel hungry even when you haven’t eaten too long ago or get cravings for sugary foods.
Lack of sleep
A good night’s sleep allows the body to regenerate, re-energize, and recover the next day. A single night of bad sleep won’t hurt much, but a permanent lack of sleep can start wreaking havoc on the body.
When sleep deprived, the hunger and satiety hormones ghrelin and leptin can escape the crisis (3). This can lead to food cravings, hunger signals, and an increased appetite over time.
3. Determine what actions must be taken to stop overeating
What some people do when they are struggling with overeating to try to stop it is to avoid those foods or situations.
You might have done some of these things. You find yourself eating too much potato chips, so you say you won’t be eating chips anymore. Or, you find yourself overeating when you go out for a girl’s night out, so you decide it’s best to avoid going out to dinner with your girlfriends.
Not only do these things not only solve the root cause of the problem, they can actually add to it when you inevitably encounter that food or situation again.
Moreover, it can trigger a lot of emotions, such as feelings of guilt, shame, or even sadness and depression because you feel out of control and because you are separated from friends or families or experiences that may lead to overeating or encourage unhealthy eating behaviors that if let go. Unresolved over time, it may lead to more disturbed eating habits.
So when you learn how to stop overeating, avoiding foods or situations will not support you in doing so in the long run.
The most important thing is to address the root cause of overeating in a supportive way that does not feel restrictive and sustainable for you in the long term.
For our members, this has meant that she needs to establish a meal-prepping practice for herself so that she gets nutritious lunches for herself all week while she studies. She also set alarms on her phone to check-in with herself to make sure she was taking breaks to notice her hunger levels and eating.
For other members who struggle with emotional eating, they need to find how to better manage these feelings rather than turn to food.
This will look different for everyone because we are all so unique. The key is to explore what those practices will address the root cause and also feel supported and aligned with your life.
If you have tried searching for a solution many times on your own and find nothing stuck in the long term, you may need professional support, and this is what we can help you with within our software. You can register for our free workshop where we offer you through The method of conscious feeding™ and how it can support you in nourishing yourself in a balanced way. You will also learn how you can receive additional support from our team.
How can you stop overeating in your daily life
Now that you know what are some common causes of overeating and some tips that you can start using right away, which practice that resonates with you most that you can try this week?
The key is to start taking small action with the knowledge you just gained to go along with what you want to experience.