Overeating 101: Signs, Causes, & How to Stop

    Published: June 13, 2024

    What is Overeating?

    Overeating happens when we consume more calories than our bodies actually need. It’s a common issue that can lead to weight gain and various health problems. But don’t worry, we can tackle this together! 

    To lose weight, eating fewer calories than we burn through physical activity and daily functions is important. Surprisingly, over 70% of Americans over the age of 24 are overweight or obese, which shows how prevalent this problem is in our country. It’s not entirely our fault though, as both the culture of abundance and the easy access to calorie-dense foods play a role. 

    But fear not, with some mindful eating and conscious choices, we can maintain a healthy weight and overall well-being.

    Signs of Overeating

    Although overeating may seem cut-and-dry, the signs and symptoms may look different from person to person. Some signs of consistent overeating may just be habitual, such as always finishing your food faster than others, reaching a point when you’re no longer enjoying the flavor of what you’re eating, and experiencing feelings of guilt at the end of a meal. 

    Some people show physical signs when they overeat. After eating, the body may experience:

    • bloating and gas
    • acid reflux
    • heartburn
    • nausea/stomach pain
    • vomiting
    • hot flashes
    • lethargy

    Of course, these symptoms can occur for other reasons as well. It’s important to assess your situation to see exactly what instances occur when you experience these effects. If these symptoms regularly occur, this may be a sign of overeating. It’s always a good idea to consult with a doctor to rule out any other underlying medical issue.

    What Causes Overeating?

    The factors that contribute to our bad eating habits and choices include:

    1. Lack of Education

    One big factor is a lack of education about nutrition. It’s all about knowing how many calories we should be consuming and what types of calories are good for our bodies. When we don’t have this knowledge, it’s easier to make poor food choices and struggle with managing hunger when we’re in a calorie deficit.

    1. Emotional Eating

    Emotional eating is another culprit. Our bodies reward us with dopamine when we indulge in calorie-dense foods, especially when we’re feeling emotional. This can lead to impulsive and unhealthy food choices. 

    1. Boredom

    Boredom can also trigger overeating. We all know the feeling of turning to food when we’re bored and have nothing better to do. 

    1. Lack of Nutritious Food Options

    Lastly, the lack of nutritious food options contributes to overeating. Many restaurants serve meals that are heavy on carbs and fats, but light on protein. Plus, let’s admit it, fats and sugars taste delicious! But don’t worry, there are ways to combat this. Taking charge of our meals and learning how to reduce calorie intake when dining out can make a huge difference.

    Overeating Triggers

    Sometimes certain predictable triggers lead us to overeat. It’s important to reflect on our emotions, situations, and circumstances that tend to spark that urge. Take a moment to reflect on what your triggers may be and think about how they impact your relationship with food.

    Coping Strategies

    Truvy copying strategies graphic.

    Now that we know what may cause overeating, let’s dive into how to overcome the cycle. Incorporate these 5 steps into your daily routine to better manage the powerful urge to overeat.

    Step 1: Emotional Awareness and Expression

    Practice identifying and acknowledging emotions. Finding healthy ways to express and process them is essential to achieve a great relationship with the eating process.

    Step 2: Mindfulness and Meditation

    Cultivate mindfulness through techniques like deep breathing, meditation, or body scans. This can help you become present in the moment, better recognize overeating triggers, and respond with intention rather than turning to food for comfort.

    Step 3: Food Awareness

    Understanding the calories in the food we consume and planning our meals in advance is of utmost importance. As the saying goes, “if we fail to plan, we plan to fail.” When we have a clear understanding of the calorie content in different foods, it enables us to make informed choices about what we eat. By knowing what we are going to eat before deciding at mealtime, we can ensure that we are providing our bodies with the right nutrients and maintaining a healthy calorie intake.

    Step 4: Healthy Coping Mechanisms

    It’s important to explore alternative coping mechanisms that don’t involve food, such as engaging in physical activities, practicing self-care rituals, listening to music, reading a book, taking a relaxing bath, or engaging in a hobby or creative outlet.

    Step 5: Building a Strong Support Network

    Surround yourself with a strong support network of friends, family, or support groups who understand your journey and can provide encouragement, guidance, and accountability when needed.

    Environmental Changes

    Say goodbye to overeating woes and embrace a fun and engaging approach to creating a supportive environment! Let’s dive into how your surroundings can influence eating habits and discover some tactics to help conquer overeating:

    Bye-Bye Trigger Foods!

    Are those tempting trigger foods lurking in your home or workspace? Let’s show them the door! Minimize their presence and make room for nourishing options that will satisfy cravings while keeping you on track.

    Socialize with Boundaries

    Social gatherings and food-centric events can be a slippery slope to overeating. But fret not! Plan ahead, set boundaries, and decide in advance how you’ll navigate these situations. Remember, you’re in control! Consider eating a satisfying meal beforehand and communicate your goals to supportive friends and family who have your back.

    Create a Calming Oasis

    Stressful environments can trigger emotional eating. Let’s turn your home into a haven of relaxation and support. Think aromatherapy, soothing tunes, and a designated zen zone. Say goodbye to mindless snacking and hello to a calm and collected mindset!

    Ditch the Food Crutch

    When stress hits, it’s time to explore alternative coping mechanisms that don’t involve raiding the fridge. Get moving with some exercise, indulge in self-care rituals, immerse yourself in music or a good book, take a luxurious bath, or unleash your creativity with a fun hobby. The world is your oyster, and food doesn’t have to be the answer!

    Outsmart Advertising

    Tricks Let’s face it, those food advertisements can be downright tempting. But fear not! Limit exposure by avoiding certain media channels or using ad-blockers. Fill your social media feeds and TV time with body-positive content and messages that promote a healthy relationship with food. You’re in control of what you consume!

    Master the Art of Meal Planning

    Don’t let a lack of time or energy lead you to unhealthy convenience foods. Plan and prep your meals in advance, ensuring that nutritious options are at your fingertips. Say goodbye to last-

    minute fast food runs and hello to delicious, homemade goodness!

    Build Your Support Squad

    Graphic to building a support network.

    Surround yourself with a crew that understands and supports your journey. Regular check-ins with trusted friends, family members, or a therapist can boost your morale, offer guidance, and hold you accountable. Together, you’ll conquer overeating and celebrate the victories along the way!

    Remember, creating a supportive environment is a process, but it’s worth every effort. Identify the factors that contribute to overeating and implement these strategies to reclaim control. With a little planning and a dash of determination, you’ll create an environment that champions your goals and triumphs over overeating! Let’s do this!

    Your Underlying Needs

    Overeating often serves as a way to fulfill certain needs beyond hunger. Picture this: you’re about to create a culinary masterpiece, but before we get to the recipe, let’s assess the deeper needs that might be simmering beneath the urge to overeat. Is it a craving for comfort, a hunger for distraction, or a pinch of control? Maybe it’s a dash of emotional nourishment or a sprinkle of stress relief. Whatever it is, it’s important to uncover the reasons that often pop up for you.

    Now that we’ve identified the flavors of your desires, it’s time to whip up some healthier, more nourishing options. Think of this as your personal menu of self-care practices, hobbies, and activities that will satisfy those needs and support overall well-being. It’s like creating a buffet of fulfillment, where every dish is an opportunity to nourish yourself in a sustainable and delicious way.

    Get ready to indulge in the art of self-discovery! This is your chance to unlock the hidden treasures within yourself and find empowering strategies to fulfill your needs without relying on

    overeating. It’s time to savor every moment, explore new tastes, and embrace a world of possibilities. So grab your apron and let’s start cooking up a feast of insight and growth. Together, we’ll create a recipe for success that nourishes both body and soul. Bon appétit!

    Reframe your thoughts!

    Let’s get interactive with our thoughts and transform those self-limiting beliefs into empowering mantras! Are you ready? Here we go: 

    Instead of thinking, “I’ve already ruined my diet by eating this much. I might as well keep going,” let’s shift our perspective to: “Every moment is a chance to make a healthier choice. I can stop now and refocus on nourishing my body.”

    Instead of believing, “Overeating is just who I am. I can’t change it,” let’s empower ourselves with the idea that: “Binging does not define me. I am capable of creating new habits to support me and my well-being.”

    Instead of feeling powerless and saying, “I can’t resist this food. I have no willpower,” let’s empower ourselves by affirming: “I can choose to honor my body’s needs and make decisions aligned with my well-being.”

    Instead of beating ourselves up and thinking, “I’m so weak for giving in to this craving!” Let’s embrace self-compassion and remind ourselves: “Cravings are human.

    “I can acknowledge the craving without judgment and choose a healthier alternative.”

    You see, we have the power to reframe our thoughts, transform our mindset, and create a more positive and supportive relationship with ourselves. Let’s make this an interactive journey of self-discovery and growth, one thought at a time!

    Great habits often involve getting in touch with new activities and new people. Overeating is not a great habit to cultivate, and the people surrounding you can make a difference in your recovery journey.

    Get ready to curate your very own support dream team! When choosing the people in your support network, think about those individuals who would be helpful on this exciting journey towards a healthier and happier you. Choose individuals who align with your goals and can provide that extra boost of support and inspiration.

    1. Adventure Buddy:

    This fearless friend is always up for trying new healthy fast food joints with you. Together, you’ll explore tasty alternatives that satisfy cravings without compromising on nutrition. Get ready for a mouthwatering adventure!

    2. Nature Enthusiast:

    Meet your go-to family member who loves the great outdoors as much as you do. Plan invigorating walks or hikes together, breathing in the fresh air and soaking up nature’s beauty while taking steps towards healthy goals. It’s quality time combined with fitness!

    3. Snack Guru:

    Your work colleague is not only talented at their job but also has a knack for whipping up delicious and nutritious snacks. Count on them to share their mouthwatering creations and inspire you to make healthier choices throughout the day. Say goodbye to those midday energy slumps!

    4. Motivational Maestro:

    Motivational Maestro: This cheerleader in your life knows just the right words to lift your spirits when doubts creep in. They’re the ultimate source of motivation, encouraging you to stay committed to your goals and reminding you of your incredible potential. Get ready for some serious pep talks!

    Truvy's guide to protein sources.

    *Most people think the poor protein source section is a great source of protein, but although it packs a lot of protein it has a high calorie & fat content.

    Remember, surrounding yourself with like-minded individuals who share your mindset can make all the difference. Together, you’ll create an unstoppable support squad that fuels your journey towards a healthier lifestyle. So start building your dream team and let the adventures begin!

    You can also join a broader community designed specifically to help support health and wellness goals. The Truvy Strive For Five app is your connection to like-minded individuals who share common health goals. You can learn and share tips, ask questions, find recipes, meet with nutrition experts, and more! Join the SF5 community today for free! 

    Goal Setting

    Goal setting is vital to a successful change in our routines and habits. Let’s make this “want” into a reality by setting a goal to get you where you want to be. Write down your goals. Make them realistic and achievable to give yourself the best chance for success. 

    Realistic goals have realistic timelines, so get ready to embark on an epic recovery quest over the next three months! It’s time to set up your goals and get pumped for a journey of growth and transformation. 

    Remember, this isn’t a race; it’s a thrilling adventure that unfolds at its own pace. Embrace the power of small steps and celebrate every little victory along the way! But here’s the best part: you have the power to adapt and evolve as you go. Feel free to revisit your goals whenever you feel the need for a change of direction. It’s all about finding what works best for you and igniting that unstoppable spirit within!

    So gear up, my friend, and get ready for an exhilarating ride. Together, we’ll conquer obstacles, overcome challenges, and celebrate every milestone that takes us closer to our ultimate success. Let’s make these next three months the most incredible chapter of your story!

    Yum, Yum Tasty!

    Graphic for the TASTY acronym.

    Memorizing the TASTY acronym will help you keep binging thoughts away and will remind you of what your needs actually are when it comes to food:

    T - Thoughtfulness

    When it comes to our food choices, let’s be mindful and considerate. Let’s think about where our food comes from, how it’s produced, and the impact it has on our bodies and the planet. Embrace a thoughtful approach to nourishing ourselves and making conscious decisions.

    A - Avoiding Overeating

    We all love delicious food, but let’s also practice moderation. It’s important to listen to our bodies and eat until we’re satisfied, not stuffed. By being mindful of portion sizes and practicing self-control, we can enjoy tasty meals while maintaining a healthy balance. 

    S - Sustainable

    Let’s prioritize sustainability in our food choices. Look for locally sourced produce, support farmers who use sustainable practices, and opt for eco-friendly packaging whenever possible. By making sustainable choices, we contribute to a healthier planet and ensure a better future for generations to come.

    T - Too much

    Ask yourself if you’re eating the appropriate quantities for my well-being and health and wellness goals?

    Y - Yummy Food

    Celebrate the goodness of wholesome, nutrient-rich meals that nourish our bodies from the inside out. Fueling ourselves with a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats helps us thrive and feel our best.

    Friendly Advice:

    Food is made to be enjoyed. It’s not something we should avoid altogether. As much as you want to be healthy and responsible with your choices, depriving yourself of the food you enjoy will only make the process more difficult. Balance is the key here!

    Affirmation Cards:

    Let’s add some fun, engaging, uplifting, and inspiring energy to our recovery journey with affirmation cards! Below you will find some inspiring affirmations to get you through the hard times. Print them out, cut them, and proudly display them where you can see them whenever an overeating thought tries to sneak in:

    “I release guilt and judgment around my food choices, embracing the power of conscious decisions and self-compassion.”

    “I am in tune with my body’s hunger and fullness cues, honoring its signals with love, kindness, and respect.”

    “I indulge in mindful eating, savoring each bite without distractions, allowing myself to fully engage in the delightful experience.”

    “I choose to embrace the art of slow eating, relishing in the vibrant flavors, delightful textures, and sensational sensations of each and every bite.”

    “I cultivate a grateful heart, acknowledging the abundance of nourishing food available to me and cherishing every opportunity it brings for wellbeing.”

    “In this very moment, I am fully present, mindfully savoring each bite and letting the nourishment fill me with joy and vitality.”

    So, my friend, let these uplifting affirmations be your guiding light on your journey toward a healthier, happier relationship with food. Let them remind you of the power of conscious choices, mindful indulgence, and the abundant nourishment that surrounds you. Overeating doesn’t have to rule your life anymore. You’ve got this!

    To learn more helpful tips and join a community to support health and wellness goals check out the Truvy Strive for Five app.