4 Reasons You Eat too Much
If you’re having a weight problem, one simple solution might be that you eat too much. Of course, it’s more complicated than that. Maybe activity is a problem. Maybe there are biological factors like a slow metabolism or a hormonal problem that you should be working through with your doctor.
However, the best way to get progress is to get started. So, let’s keep it simple and talk about eating. It’s easier to eat less if you know why you eat too much. Reasons can be different for everyone but here are a possible 4 reasons you eat too much.
1. You Eat the Wrong Things
Food is food is food, right? Wrong.
You may decide what to eat based on things like personal preference, what you know, and what you can afford. However, on a biological level, not all foods are created equally. As a result, what you eat can impact how much you eat.
One good example is that different foods digest at different rates so they spend different lengths of time in your stomach. A lot of things can help determine when you feel hungry but stretch receptors in your stomach are one factor. Simple carbs, like those found in many prepared foods, junk foods, and snack foods digest quickly so they flood your body with energy right away and then leave you feeling hungry again. Complex carbs, like those found in whole grains, and proteins take longer to digest so they leave you feeling full longer.
2. You Eat too Quickly
Remember those stretch receptors that we talked about? They’re about to come up again.
Those stretch receptors take a little bit to send signals to your brain. That means that if you eat too quickly, the messages can get to your brain after you’ve already eaten enough to fill your stomach. In order to prevent this, one simple option is to eat slowly. Take time to enjoy your meal and you may find yourself feeling full sooner and eating less.
3. You’re Used to Eating too Much
There’s more going on in your body than just stretch receptors in the stomach walls but we’re going to keep on them for just a little bit longer.
As your stomach stretches out from regularly overeating, those stretch receptors can become less effective. If the stomach gets larger, it takes more to fill so your stomach can be telling you that you’re still hungry even after you’ve eaten more than your body needs.
People who address overeating early enough in their lives can adopt smaller portions and feel a little hungry while their stomachs return to a healthy state and while they learn healthier eating habits. When it’s too late for that, surgery might be a better option.
Specifically, gastric banding surgery puts a “belt” around the top part of your stomach. This lets it feel full faster so that you can gradually start eating less. The good news about gastric bands is that, unlike more extreme weight loss surgeries, gastric banding surgery can be – and usually is – reversed.
4. You Eat for the Wrong Reasons
Finally, you may be eating too much because you eat for the wrong reasons.
Food serves a strictly biological need. However, it also serves social needs. As a result, we may eat because we’re with friends or at a party or celebrating rather than because we’re hungry.
Some foods, including those high in sugar and fats, can also serve another purpose. These foods are rich in easy energy. This made them desirable for our ancient ancestors who had far more limited access to these foods than we do. As a result, our bodies have evolved to release good-feeling chemicals when we eat them to encourage us to eat more. As a result, people can crave or even become addicted to these foods.
Once again, there is some good news. Fats can be healthy when they’re eaten in moderation and from vegetable sources rather than animal sources. Further, sugars are still sugars when they come from fruit but those sugars are also accompanied by vitamins, minerals, and fiber that are lacking from less healthy sources. Switching to these foods can help you satisfy your craving while improving your diet.
As mentioned above, overeating may not be your only weight control problem – or it may not be a problem at all. If it is, it could be a reason other than those discussed above. Articles like this are a good place to start but if you are serious about correcting your weight problem you need to keep a healthy relationship with your healthcare provider. Together, you and your doctor can determine the causes and solutions to your weight problem.