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Why Do We Overeat?

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Why Do We Overeat?

Why do we overeat? There are many reasons why we overeat and we all have our own reasons when we do it. Many people think only overweight people overeat, but while there is some truth to this, most of us overindulge at times. It's just that people of average weight overeat less often.

The first step to prevent overeating, is to know why we do it. The holidays are just around the corner (is it really thanksgiving in 2 weeks?), and for those of us who are watching our weight, overeating may be a very important concern. So, here is a tip that I like to send once or twice a year since two-thirds of us are on a diet at any given time!

Do any of these sound familiar?

Do we eat response to emotions? This includes positive emotions, negative emotions and those in-between(even boredom) emotions. Making negative judgments about ourselves can lead to more overeating.

Do we go for long periods of time during the day without eating? Do we skip meals such as breakfast or lunch and/or not eat any snacks all day only to attack the refrigerator the moment we walk in the door in the evening?

Do we eat the wrong foods all day? Do we eat the wrong type of foods such as mostly simple carbohydrates all day? Examples: donut for breakfast (even muffins can qualify), candy, pretzels etc. as snacks throughout the day? I've visited many an office with such goodies hanging out by the barrelful (okay, I'm exaggerating).

Are we always on a diet? Are we always on a diet, especially a restrictive diet which sets us up to overeat in-between diet days, or to overeat between the diets themselves?

Do we eat most of our meals out? Even dieticians were found to underestimate their calories from restaurants.

Do we mindless eat? We may mindless eat for a whole host of reasons including never paying attention to our food. Hence, we may eat even more than we realize.

Do we reward and/or nurture ourselves with food? Rewarding and nurturing ourselves is a good thing except when we always use food to do it.

Do we eat too much because of pure habit? Large portions and the wrong foods can become a habit. Have our stomachs stretched due to overeating? When I first reduced my portion sizes I got very annoyed just trying to change!

Do we accept all dishes in a restaurant without making special requests? Taking the time to make special requests when ordering in a restaurant can mean asking for an appetizer portion, or asking for the sauce on the side. These little things do add up to weight loss!

Do we lack planning? When we don't make a plan we can wind up eating anything that is convenient. When we plan we take control of our eating (not the other way around!).

Do we focus mostly on the food during celebrations? If we always celebrate by eating, or mostly focus on the food during special occasions, we are more likely to overeat. I treated a friend on her birthday by taking her to a yoga class and massage afterward. Not only did we celebrate her getting a year older, but we both worked toward feeling and looking better! Lastly, if we focus on sharing time with family and friends during this holiday season, we may not feel the need to eat as much!

So, most of us overeat. The question is why do we overeat, how often, and how do we feel about it? Have we stopped to evaluate what effect our overeating has on our life from our health to our appearance? Overeating can even cause us chronic mental stress (dieting isn't fun, is it?).

I love food, and I think we all do, so here's to less overeating even during the holidays!


© Health News 2003 All Rights Reserved.

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