10 Reasons Why You Eat When You Aren’t Really Hungry
We are all guilty of committing the crime “stuffing our stomachs when we aren’t hungry”. Consciously or unconsciously, we allow food to get to our stomach, without having our stomach ask for it. When it doesn’t happen often, eating in the absence of hunger isn’t that bad. But when it is nested in our everyday routine, it becomes a threat to the fine line of the body, and sometimes the health.
Has eating just because you are bored, angry or stressed ever happened to you? Are you the type of person that looks at holidays and special events as a green light to overeat?
Physical hunger should not be ignored and the urge for feeding which appears should be satisfied. But, reaching for food to please emotional appetite or appetite caused by our surroundings, is a bad habit which does not collide with the concept of a healthy diet.
- It’s a holy day or special occasion. When you know a lot of people, every day can be a special occasion. Birthdays, weddings, baptizes… just as you thought it was over, comes the holiday season – New Years, Easter. It may look like every day is filled with calorie containing celebrations accompanied by alcohol.
Tip: holy days should not be seen as permission to overeat. Remind yourself that parties are for the people, not for the food. Don’t forget about control and don’t go overboard with the portions.
- You’re thirsty. A lot of people mistake thirst for hunger, so they are compiled to eat when in reality all they need is a glass of water.
Tip: the next time you feel hungry, drink some water and wait 10 minutes. If the hunger doesn’t subside, by all means, guide your hand to your choice of food.
- Use food therapy in order to deal with the stress, anger, loneliness… After the fight with your loved one you seek comfort in chocolate? You deal with the headache from the stressful day at work by uncontrollable snack eating in front of the TV? All of us have fallen victim to emotional eating, but food does not eliminate the problem.
Tip: before you run to the fridge, ask yourself if you are genuinely hungry or are the stress and nervousness causing your need for food. Think about the emotions that are your weakness. After you find them, you will find it easier to react accordingly to their attack. To escape emotional hunger, talk to your friend for a few minutes, go for a walk to the nearest park or visit your local gym.
- You are hungry for sleep. It is a known fact that appetite is stronger and harder to control when we are sleep deprived. The blame for that is the Laptine and Grelline, hormones that are responsible for controlling the appetite and feeling of fullness. The lack of sleep decreases the level of Leptine, a hormone which tells the brain that you have had enough food, and increases the level of Grelline which causes hunger.
Tip: strive to achieve 7-8 hours of sleep.
- Food is dietary. You must admit that reading the word “diet” or “light” on the packaging calms our guilt and invites us to take a few more bites regardless of the fact that we are indeed full. But you need to know that these products are not without calories just because the label contains the word “diet”.
Tip: controlling the amount of food and how many times you eat is mandatory, regardless if your daily food consists of diet or non-diet food.
- You are bored. You must have experienced opening the fridge on a boring rainy weekend or snacking because you have nothing to do with your hands. Boredom is a recipe for eating extra calories.
Tip: find activities that will entertain you, like reading a book, ones that will always be an option when boredom strikes.
- Eating in a big group of people. The more people there are on the table you are eating on, the more calories you put in your mouth, because it will be harder for you to decline the ideas of desert and extra food, and the occasional toasting with a glass of alcohol.
Tip: keep your control while eating, regardless of your surroundings and learn how to say “no” despite the constant insisting of the people around you.
- You are used to emptying your plate regardless of the size of the dish. Emptying the dish by habit is one more reason you eat when you are in fact not hungry habits are forever carved in your attitude, therefore we have a hard time losing them.
Tip: use smaller dishes or put in smaller amounts to avoid overeating. Remember, the dish does not have to be empty when you get up from the table.
- You are giving up on your addictions. You finally got the courage and gave the final blow to your nicotine demon? Giving up on smoking is excellent news, but not when you reach for food whenever the need for nicotine kicks in. A lot of people consider food attractive and a harmless alternative to keep their hands busy without having to reach for a cigarette, but the truth is that it can easily cause overeating and weight gain.
Tip: find an activity that will help you outsmart your addiction, like working out or socializing more.
10. The food is simply in front of you. You can’t stand aside from the snacks on the coffee table? You didn’t intend to eat cake after lunch, but it simply found itself in your hand? It isn’t easy to resist food when it’s right in front of your eyes.
Tip: away from sight – away from the mouth. Put the food as far away from you as possible. But if you have nowhere to run and it’s in front of you, ask yourself if you are indeed hungry before you reach for it.