How to Stop Overeating – Poor Nutrition Habits as a Behavioral Issue

obese - overeatingIn one out of five deaths, poor diet has become one of the most common causes according to one comprehensive study(1) about existing diseases in the world. Nutrition and diet greatly affect how people look, feel, think and act which is why poor nutrition habits are regarded as a behavioral health issue. Poor eating habits generally refer to not eating right or unhealthy eating and doing so results to many other negative health effects that can impact a person’s life. So what is the best way to learn how to stop overeating?

When we speak about unhealthy diet, we can directly link it to failure in achieving an acceptable nutrient to calorie ratio which can result in weight gain (can lead to obesity) and malnutrition. Not only that, it may also lead to other related health problems which can get serious over time if not attended early. One important way to stop overeating is by practicing weight maintenance, that plays a vital role in preventing chronic eating diseases and disorders. Gaining too much weight can lead people to be at risk for some disorders and some very harmful health conditions that can be life-threatening,

Poor nutrition habits such as eating too less than needed or eating more than enough can be linked to behavioral issues which are regarded as eating disorders. Eating disorders are no doubt serious conditions that are related to eating behaviors which have negative impacts on a person’s overall health, affects emotions (can often lead to depression) and the ability to function well in life.

When you think its normal for you to have been always wanting to indulge food even after feeling full, well, think again. All of us eat too much from time to time but if you regularly overeat and always have the strong urge to keep on eating to the point of no control, then maybe it’s about time to visit your psychologist. You might be suffering from binge eating disorder.

What Causes Overeating?

Eating Disorders are complex disorders that are influenced by biological, psychological and environmental factors. Eating disorders have no exact known cause however studies show that the biological, psychological and environmental factors contribute to the development of these eating disorders. Listed below are some causes of eating disorders:

 Biological Factors 

  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Genetics
  • Nutrient deficiencies

Psychological Factors

  • Low Self-esteem
  • Negative body image

Environmental Factors

  • Trauma
  • Family Problem
  • Lifestyle ( as influenced by profession and career that require specific body size or fit)
  • Peer Pressure
  • Cultural Pressure
  • Stressful Life Events

Understanding Overeating: Isn’t it normal?

Before getting to know how to stop yourself from overeating, know that this condition is as serious as it gets. Thus, it is important to be able to have an understanding of this condition.

Let’s turn things back a bit. Do you remember the last time you ate so much you felt absolutely stuffed but kept wanting to eat more? Were you indulging in a huge cake on your friend’s party, loading up a bunch of carbs and literally stayed on the food table and just ate until the party ended? After remembering what you ate the whole day, how do feel? Were you feeling annoyed and tormented by guilt for eating so much until your stomach bursts? Lastly, do you do or experience all these often? If yes, something is not right here.

All people eat too much from time to time, so isn’t overeating just a normal thing to do? First off, it is normal to eat when you feel hungry. Well, if you happen to feel really hungry and want to make up for your hunger, perhaps you can call that as an occasional over-eating which is just normal. But if you happen to eat more than what you can normally take, even if you are already full enough but still has the urge to keep on eating especially at bizarre hours of the day, has no self-control and often feels powerless from the sudden urge to eat in large amounts, then, you may be having binge eating disorder symptoms.

Over-eating or mostly called binge eating disorder, is a common eating disorder that is typically developed (in most cases) during the late adolescence or early adulthood often as a result of a major diet. It is a disorder where a person frequently eat large amounts of food while losing self-control to stop eating even after being full, that often results in distress or depression during and after eating. In most cases of BED (binge eating disorder), the victim can barely register whatever he is eating but still will continue to eat even after being full.

Binge Eating Disorder is a serious eating disorder that can lead to some health related issues caused by being overweight and over-eating. Since someone who is experiencing overeating isn’t quite mindful of what food he puts in his mouth, uncontrolled eating (in a manner that you are being mindful of what you eat, contemplating if it’s good for your health or not) can lead to many health complications. Thus, this condition must be treated with the help of professionals.

How Do You Know If You Are Suffering from Binge Eating Disorder?

depressed woman - overeatingThe binge eating disorder is often compared to bulimia for its similarity in symptoms however there are some factors that differentiate one another. Unlike bulimia, where the victim has regular attempts to make up for the binges through fasting, vomiting, and excessive workouts, BED has none except for the guilt and shame that they may feel because of the splurge. As a result of this guilt, the victim will instead eat more as a coping mechanism to the emotional stress and negative emotions that he is feeling. People who compulsively overeat uses food as a coping mechanism to feel better.

Detecting the signs of BED can be quite tricky since not everyone who overeats is a binger. Some people simply overeat mindlessly because of boredom. The cause of BED like any other eating disorders can be influenced by biological, psychological and environmental factors. It also usually starts after a major diet where the person tries to make up for the efforts done during the diet.

Another thing that makes it hard to detect in a person is that because some people try to hide their eating habits and hide their symptoms by eating secretly.

If you have any suspicions of having this disorder but not really sure of it, you can simply ask yourself some of these questions for self-diagnosis.

Behavioral Symptoms

  • Do you have difficulty in stopping yourself from eating even after feeling full?
  • Do you tend to eat fast and eat large amounts of food?
  • Do you tend to hoard or hide food to eat late in secret?
  • Do you constantly eat or have the urge to eat even if it’s not mealtime?
  • Do you eat normally when you’re eating with others but gorging when you are eating alone?
  • Do you think of food all the time?

Emotional Symptoms

  • Do you only feel relief by eating whenever you get stressed?
  • Do you get embarrassed, depressed and guilty for eating so much?
  • Do you tend to not care about what you are eating as long as you are eating?
  • Do you not get satisfied even after eating so much?
  • Do you eat a lot to cope with negative emotions?

If most of the answers to the questions above are YES, then maybe your suspicion is correct. You might have Binge Eating Disorder and it’s about time to stop this unhealthy habit.

How to Stop Overeating?

Binge eating can more likely lead anyone to suffer health issues, stress, and depression. However, many people who have suffered such condition are able to recover and reverse the unhealthy effects caused by this eating disorder. You can, too!

It is important to seek help to professionals for proper eating disorder diagnosis and seek support from your family or friends in order to have a support system on your way to recovery.It may seem hard at first but with a strong support system for yourself, family and friends, getting better is definitely possible.

Here are some ways to help:

1.Develop and practice a healthy relationship with food.

Getting out from food addiction can be hard. However, with discipline, willingness and the right mindset, getting better is a sure thing. Talking about the healthy relationship with food, here are some ways to get it done:

  • healthy diet - stop overeatingKnow your temptations and get rid of it – It’s hard to get rid your favorite temptations in your system. However, this is the first thing that you must do. Remove your favorite binge foods from your storage, fridge or cupboards. It helps not to think so much about food when you don’t see it.
  • Listen to your body – Learn how to distinguish physical from emotional anger. Develop an eating time pattern as a basis when to eat next. Do not eat unless you feel hungry.
  • Be mindful of what you eat – allow yourself to focus on what you are eating and shrug off the “as long as I’m eating” thought and eat mindlessly. Try to focus and be conscious of what you are eating.
  • Eat Regularly – Develop a mealtime plan or schedule for when you can only eat and stick with it. This will help you discipline yourself and helps the body to get used to the normal pattern of eating.
  • Find a new hobby other than snacking – People with this disorder tend to binge food out of boredom. What you can do is to find some other things to do to keep you entertained instead of eating to cope when you get bored.

2. Stop going on a diet.

After over-eating, it is only normal for a person to feel depressed and guilty about eating so much so they decide on going on a diet to make up for the splurge. However, in most cases, going on a diet usually backfires and can be even become another triggering factor to over-eat to make up with the dieting. Whenever you feel the urge to eat again even after being already full, distract yourself.

3. Find another outlet for your negative emotions

People who suffer this condition normally use food to cope with negative emotions, as well as manage their anxieties and depression. Find another outlet aside from eating like trying out a new satisfying hobby, engaging in sports, learning music and more. Know that food is not always the solution to your worries.

Try to deal with your emotions and situation with acceptance and deep understanding. Instead of trying to get away from your problem, have the motivation to face it rather than binge just to make yourself feel good for a short time. Learn to accept what you can and cannot do.

4. Talk to someone about your condition

No one can really do things alone. Talk to someone you think would help you get better. Airing out your fears and discomfort to other people help lessen the burden you feel. It’s always nice to have someone who knows what you are going through. So instead of resorting to food to feel better, a company you can talk with is a way better reliever.

5.Develop a Healthy Lifestyle

healthy lifestyle - stop overeating

Get the motivation you need to help you start anew in taking care of your health, starting from taking steps to a healthy lifestyle. Healthy Lifestyle means, you maintain discipline in your way of life and do the things that benefit your total well-being.  With regular exercise, enough sleep and rest, healthy eating patterns and diet, getting through difficult times is positive without having to resort to binge eating.

6.Connect with other people

Go out and surround yourself with positive people that can help you learn how to stop overeating. Being sociable helps in discovering new fun things to do. Instead of keeping your condition as a secret, share your condition with your family and friends who would definitely understand and help you get past from the difficult times. Talking really helps ease the burdens. Positiveness always yields to good things.

Learn more about Eating Disorder Treatment now


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