Why do I overeat?
We’ve all gotten that overly full feeling. The one where your belly bloats up and you have to unbutton your pants… sooooo uncomfortable. You go to a family function and want to try all the goodies and end up with a huge plate of food, and then make your way to the bottom of it. Or you had a shitty day at work and didn’t get to eat lunch. You come home and devour your dinner in under five minutes, only to end up feeling sick to your stomach.
So, why does this happen? It’s not that we’re gluttonous or “greedy”. It's actually just that we eat without any real intention, full of distraction, and mindlessly. See, food signifies so many things. It’s not just about survival. It represents connection, tradition, memories, and enjoyment. Certain meals can bring me right back to being a little girl in my Abuela’s kitchen. She made the best dishes and she always kept a stash of little caramel candies for me 😊. During the holidays, my family has traditional go-to meals that we all make. It doesn’t feel like Thanksgiving or Christmas without them.
But if we love the food and it makes us feel good, then why do we eat it in a way that doesn’t? Because we’re not being mindful. We’re not putting down the distractions. We’re not focusing on what our body is feeling in the moment. We eat just to eat. And we finish full plates of food without even realizing it happened.
What do we do about it?
- Serve small portions of the food you want to eat.
- Be mindful. With each bite, savor the flavors. Enjoy them.
- Put away distractions. Don’t eat in front of the TV or while you scroll through your phone. (yes, even when you’re eating alone).
- Appreciate the connection. Take time while you’re eating to make a mental note of how much you love the people in front of you.
- Slow down. You’re not in a race. Give your mind time to catch up to your belly. Even when you’re starving, eating fast does not satisfy you physically any faster.
- Pay attention to your body. When you feel like you’re past the point of being hungry, you’re comfortable, stop eating. Ask yourself questions: Am I still hungry? Do I want the rest of this food? Or am I eating just because it’s there? Walk away if you want to. Come back 15 minutes later and see if you still want it. Teach your mind to pay attention to your satisfaction, not just your starvation.
We need food to survive, that’s a simple fact. But it also provides so much more: a range of feelings and connections to the people we love. If you replace your need to devour food with a feeling of gratitude, you’ll see a huge difference in how you eat. Read more about how I beat my negative self-image with gratitude here.
Enjoy your meals folks. And the people you’re sharing them with. Be grateful. Be present. Be intentional.
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