The urge to eat when you’re not hungry is really frustrating. I know this because I used to deal with it myself. Back then, I would ask myself questions like –

“Is this hunger or just habit”?

“Why do I feel like eating even when I’m full?”

 “Is this hunger physical or emotional?”

Soon I realized that I was trapped in an overeating pattern. But, with time I was able to break this cycle. How? Read on!

selection of cakes, something you typically eat when not hungry

Identifying the issue

Here, I’m going to list out various possible reasons why you might feel the urge to eat more even when you’re not hungry and I’ll also include a few actionable tips to overcome the same.

Your work here is to identify your personal triggers (it can be more than one) for overeating and implement the advice mentioned below religiously.

So, without further ado, let’s begin!

Are any of these the reasons you eat when you don’t need it? Here are the top 7 reasons why you still want to eat when you’re full and how to stop it.

Long-term stress

Continuous stress elevates the levels of cortisol in your body which is a hormone that plays a significant part in the flight or fight system. So, in order to refuel your body after such a stressful situation, cortisol makes you want to eat more.

Thus, it’s easy to understand that if you take more stress, cortisol levels will stay up and you’ll keep reaching for the snacks.

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Solution

Identify your stressors, and take steps to avoid them or at least be prepared for them. One of the best ways to reduce stress is by engaging in some kind of physical activity (taking a walk, doing yoga, dancing, etc.)

You can also practice mindfulness, meditation, tai chi, and other such mindfulness-based exercises to calm your mind and body.

If this doesn’t work, reach out for help; talk out your feelings with your loved ones or even professionals.

Peer pressure

It’s easy to go with the flow in the fun of a social event while ignoring the signs that you’re no longer hungry. Or sometimes it’s just that your friends would pressure you to eat with them so that they alone don’t feel the guilt of overeating afterwards.

Solution

Surround yourself with people who understand and support the idea of healthy eating habits. Or even better, communicate your boundaries clearly, and be firm with your choices.

Seeking pleasure from food

When you’re lonely, and there isn’t enough joy and pleasure in your life, you will compulsively seek out pleasurable food. This is termed hedonic eating.

This is actually common because as a human we naturally look out for pleasure and avoid pain. So sometimes, the urge to eat when you’re not hungry is just an impulse for joy and pleasure.

Solution

Indulge in some activities and hobbies that bring joy into your life. Keep your mind engaged, and stay as neutral as possible about food.

Fatigue

When you’re deprived of rest, the levels of ghrelin (a hormone that makes you want to eat) rise, while the levels of leptin (a hormone that lowers the desire to eat) go down. So, as a result, you feel like eating even if your body doesn’t need any food.

Solution

Take a nap instead of eating. When you’re just tired after a long day your body needs energy from rest, not from food.

Bored

Many individuals overeat to simply pass the time because they’re bored or do not have anything interesting to do.

At home, they might just watch TV and snack on unhealthy food, and at work, they might feel uninspired and unmotivated so they resort to the cafeteria.

Solution

Focus on finding the root problem. If you see this pattern at home, find alternative things to do – read a book, call your friends, take up a hobby, in short, do anything that stops you from snacking.

And if it’s at work, ask for an additional project and even consider a job change.

Eating too quickly

If you’re finishing your meals in less than 15 minutes then you are at risk of overeating because it takes longer for your mind to recognize that your stomach is full.

Solution

Practice mindful eating, it will allow you to slow down and really savour your food. Besides that, chew your food properly, experts recommend chewing each bite about 30 times. Doing so, will not only enable you to enjoy the flavours and textures of your food better but will also allow your brain to catch up with your stomach.

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It’s always in front of you

You can’t resist the urge to eat if your favourite food is always in front of you. This is just overeating caused due to the poor placement of food in your surrounding environment, and it’s really easy to fix this.

Solution

Rearrange your home or workplace in order to keep food out of your sight. This will help you to shift your focus out of them.

So, that’s all from my side. I hope this piece helps you to understand the reasons behind your overeating patterns and break the cycle just as I did.

Did I miss anything you think causes you to eat when not hungry? Do you have something to share related to the same? Feel free to drop your views, ideas, and/or experiences in the comments below.

A sandwich on a plate

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