We often think overeating is caused by a lack of self control. (And when I say overeating, I’m referring to eating past comfortable fullness and I’m not referring to the fullness discomfort that can come with a meal plan in eating disorder recovery!). In other words, overeating is a willpower issue.
At least, that’s what diet culture would have us believe.
But actually, there are some other reasons that are more likely to be the cause.
Here are 3 common overeating culprits…
Waiting Too Long to Eat
If you wait until you’re starving to eat, your intense hunger can cause you to eat faster and less mindfully, so it can be more difficult to honor your fullness cues–which you might not even feel completely until after you stop eating.
Plus, the feelings of deprivation typically drive us to want to eat more because it’s just so emotionally uncomfortable as well.
Trying to Avoid Certain Foods
The more we avoid something, the more want it. It’s just human nature! So anything you make off-limits, you’re going to find yourself more preoccupied with and desperate to have.
Then, once you finally do have it, you’re probably going to try and eat a whole lot of it if you’re promising yourself you’re going to “get back on track” and not ever eat it again.
Trying to Appease Cravings with Substitute Foods
Trying to substitute foods, like eating carrots when you’re craving chips, rarely works. What often ends up happening is you eat a bunch of “healthier” alternatives first, but eventually eat what you really wanted to begin with, and then you’ve eaten a bunch of other foods you didn’t even want (or enjoy).
Before I made peace with food, I did all 3 of these! Do any of these ring true for you? I hope if you can relate to any of them, you’ll stop blaming yourself for not having willpower with food and realize it’s just not that simple.
You probably deserve way more grace than you’re giving yourself.
I’m Cherie Miller, MS, LPC-S, founder of Nourished Soul Center for Healing and @foodfreedomtherapist on Instagram. We offer therapy and nutrition counseling for chronic dieting as well eating disorders like Anorexia, Bulimia, Binge Eating Disorder, Orthorexia, ARFID, and other food issues. As anti-diet professionals, we are passionate about intuitive eating and Health at Every Size philosophies. Contact us here to schedule a therapy or nutrition appointment.