Episode 67 – Take Control of Your Non-Hungry Eating
Overeating is a major problem.
The solution to overeating might seem straightforward: 1/ Be disciplined or, 2/ Don’t eat so much.
But it’s not that simple—there are a lot of deep mental and physical factors that trigger the urge to overeat. With the right knowledge, you can prevent these urges and stop overeating once and for all. In this article you’ll learn about the common reasons for non-hungry eating that will make you fat and how to overcome them so you can be fit and healthy for the long term!
There are many underlying factors that cause you to crave food, even when your body doesn’t actually need it. Let’s have a look at them!
1. Eating when you’re not hungry
Ever “felt” the urge to eat – even if you weren’t hungry? This may be the result of deep-rooted conditioning from your childhood. A classic example you may remember from your childhood was this classic line from your parents: “Finish your food because children in Africa and Asia are starving!” It’s this type of thought pattern may be the cause of your current eating behavior.
Other subconscious factors, such as the feeling of nostalgia for a certain food (like mum’s cooking or grandma’s baking) can play a role as well. The key is to recognize your automatic unconscious habits and thought patterns and act consciously to replace them with new healthy habits.
Eliminate old beliefs!
- To stop overeating, eliminate old beliefs. If you’re worried about wasting the food, save it for later, when you’re actually hungry. Or give it to someone who needs it.
- If someone else is cooking and you don’t want to offend him or her by not finishing your food, it’s simple. Tell them that you’re not very hungry and kindly request a smaller portion, or better yet, serve yourself.
- “Listen” to your body
2. Stress eating
When you feel stressed you might also be conditioned to eat for comfort to help you to “feel good.” The key is to, replace this reactive habit with a non-food based healthy habit. Try meditating, running, or even listening to your favorite song, rather than going to the kitchen. These non-food based healthy habits will make you “feel good” without the added calories.
Reduce stress by practicing a daily meditation ritual, such as breathing meditation, mindfulness, visual imagery or guided meditation. This will not only help you stop overeating, but will also create “space” for positive improvements in your life. Additionally, try to minimize or eliminate things that cause unnecessary stress in your life.
3. Empty eating
Subconsciously your body is “craving” the nutrients it needs. When you crave certain foods, this is basically your body telling you that you need specific nutrients that a food item contains. And so, when you eat them, you can put yourself in a position to feel genuinely satisfied – often resulting in less caloric consumption.
However, if it’s only getting empty calories, then it will keep sending out hunger signals making it highly likely you’ll to overeat without ever getting satisfied.
Hot tip: Count satisfaction over calories
4. Tired eating
Two hormones called Ghrelin (the hunger hormone), and Leptin (the hunger-inhibiting hormone), are in charge of regulating your appetite. Lack of sleep puts these hormones in disarray, spiking Ghrelin and lowering Leptin causing you to not only feel hungrier than normal but also telling your body to store more fat.
To counter this:
- Get at least 8 hours of sleep and optimize your sleep as much as possible. Sleep in a dark room, get to bed early and at the same time.
- If you’re hungry and tired, try taking a good nap before you eat. You’ll eat less and store less fat.
5. Drink more water
If pushed to the limit, humans have shown they can survive around 3 weeks without eating, BUT… only 2-3 days without water – maximum.
So, what’s this mean?
First off it means you need a lot more water than food and secondly, when you feel this so-called “hunger,” there’s a good chance that your body is actually confusing hunger with thirst.
So much confusion!?
The best way forward from here is to drink some water. If you still feel “hungry”, drink some more water. If you still feel “hungry”, you’re probably hunger so go ahead and eat.
You will have satisfied your thirst and that feeling of “hunger” will subside quite quickly.
6. Getting too hungry
Don’t let yourself get overly hungry. If you do, you’ll end up compensating by stuffing yourself during your next meal. It’s generally better to eat regular meals and keep yourself feeling satisfied throughout the day, than to get so hungry that you binge.
Go for this:
Start with breakfast and then add in another 3 healthy meals after that.
7. Boredom eating
If boredom eating is your problem, structure your life in a way to keep yourself busy and engaged so you don’t get bored in the first place. This starts with big, inspiring goals that you can constantly work toward.
Try this mindset:
Aspire to live a life that you love.
The small pleasure that you get from eating that doughnut will never beat the feeling of fulfilling your life-long goals and passions.
Take these steps to stop non-hungry eating today! They’ll surely keep you fit and healthy for the long term!
- Eating when you’re not hungry
- Stress eating
- Empty eating
- Tired eating
- Drink more water
- Getting too hungry
- Boredom eating
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- Chek, P. (2009) How to Eat, Move and Be Healthy!
- Chopra, D. (1995) Boundless Energy: The complete Mind/Body Program for Overcoming Chronic Fatigue. Three Rivers Press
- Duhigg, C. (2012) The Power of Habit: Why we do what we do in life and business. Random House
- Kausman, R. (2004). If not dieting, then what? Allen & Unwin
- Levitin, D. (2014) The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload. Plume Printing
- Mahan, L. Escott-Stump, S. (2004) Krause’s Food, Nutrition & Diet Therapy (11th Ed.) Saunders
Chris Everingham lives and breathes health & fitness.
Chris Everingham lives and breathes health & fitness. International Athlete, Elite Performance Manager for the Philippine Volcanoes rugby teams, qualified Dietitian / Nutritionist and qualified educator. Chris Everingham combines more than 10 years of experience and education together to deliver the best strategies to grow your mindset, rewire your habits and transform your life.