The Top 10 Reasons You Overeat

Source: The Top 10 Reasons You Overeat

If feeling uncomfortably full after a meal seems to be a constant theme in your life, it's time to make a healthy change. If you're hoping to tackle your overeating issues for good, click through to see if any of these habits are holding you back from taking control of your relationship with food.

  • You Skip Breakfast: Skipping breakfast may seem like a great way to save calories, but when you head to your next meal, you'll be far more likely to gorge yourself on whatever is in sight. If you never seem to have time to cook a healthy breakfast, plan ahead and cook up one of these healthy make-ahead recipes.
  • You Eat by a Screen: Always chowing down in front of the TV or computer causes most people to overeat since they're not connected to the activity of eating. When your mind is deep in the plot of your show or all those emails, there's no time to focus on food. Designate mealtimes for just that, meals. The tube will still be there once you're done.
  • You Don't Practice Portion Control: Don't count a single indulgence as an excuse to throw all caution to the wind. Either order a limited amount of food, be mindful about how you're feeling as you eat, or take Jillian Michael's extreme tip and throw away leftovers. Hopefully you have enough self-control to take a step back and say no to that second enormous slice of pizza, but do whatever works for your needs.
  • You Equate Hunger and Thirst: Many people confuse the sensations of thirst for hunger. If you've recently eaten and you're feeling unsatisfied, take this advice from Mara Z. Vitolins, RD and Wake Forest assistant professor of public health sciences. "It is hard to distinguish between being thirsty and being hungry, so try drinking water and waiting 20 to 30 minutes to see if you're still hungry."
  • You Eat For Your Partner's Needs: When your partner isn't concerned about overeating habits, it can be hard to stay on track when you cook and eat together. Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD, has a helpful tip for when you're cooking at home, "We'll have similar ingredients, but make different things. I have to make peace with the fact that we don't have the same needs, or maybe we're not on the same page as far as our goal." For example, on taco night, Sass enjoys a healthy taco salad with avocado and pico de gallo, while her husband goes for a big burrito with all the fixings.


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  • Your Plates and Bowls Are Too Big: Did you know that the size of your plate or bowl can lead to overeating? Researchers at Cornell call it the large-plate mistake. When there's more empty space on your plate or in your bowl, it makes your portion appear smaller than it actually is. Instead of piling more food on your plate, reach for smaller plates and smaller bowls whenever possible. When cooking at home, keep measuring cups and spoons on hand to make sure your serving sizes are appropriate: this way, you'll know exactly what you're getting.
  • You Indulge With a Side of Guilt: Anyone who thinks that feeling bad after indulging will somehow make you healthier might be surprised to learn that it's just the opposite. In fact, you'll be more likely to overeat. In the well-known doughnut study, researchers found that women who received a self-compassion message after eating a doughnut ate less candy than those weren't reassured with a compassionate message that everyone indulges sometimes.
  • You Never Snack: Unfortunately, some people thinks that all snacks are bad. It's important to realize that snacking can help you reach your healthy goals, as long as you go into it with a health perspective. Your pre- and post-workout snacks fuel your body with the nutrients it needs, and enjoying healthy snacks between meals can help you from overeating.
  • You Overdo It After a Workout: Once you finish a tough workout, don't use it as an excuse to overindulge in a big decadent treat. Unless it's mealtime, your average post-workout snack should be about 150 calories. If it's time for dinner, try one of these quick and healthy post-workout dinners. When you have something waiting for you at home, you won't be as tempted to head to a drive-through.
  • It's Just Emotional: If you tend to self-soothe with food, you're not alone. Chowing down on a heaping helping of comfort food may seem like a quick fix when you're feeling stressed or blue, but you're only doing your body injustice. The next time you head for a snack, honestly ask yourself, "Am I hungry?" It seems so simple, but these three little words make a world of difference in taking stock of your overeating habits.