Obesity is a rising epidemic, with it being estimated that 160 million Americans are either obese or overweight. While some people experience weight gain as a result of health conditions or medications, for others the main issue is simply consuming too many calories, combined with a lack of exercise.
With the holidays coming up, it is very likely that many of us will overindulge. It’s that time of year when the house is filled with the delicious smell of turkey and a second helping of pudding seems perfectly just.
We all have days where we sit back and think to ourselves ‘I’ve really eaten too much today’. But if this is becoming an everyday occurrence, you might want to give it some thought.
Overeating on a daily basis will result in excessive calorie intake and unless you’re an Olympic athlete, you are very unlikely to burn it off.
Here are 6 reasons why you might be overeating.
1) Using Food as a Reward
Since infancy, food might have been used as a way to reward (or instil) your good behavior. (Many a screaming infant has been silenced by the appearance of a candy bar). However, studies have examined how parental feeding practices may affect children’s outcomes, including food intake and preference.
In fact, one recent study has suggested that using particular types of foods to reward children, generally high in fat and sugar, could result in emotional eating in adults. ‘Eating patterns can usually be tracked across life, so those who learn to use food as a tool to deal with emotional distress early are much more likely to follow a similar pattern of eating later on in adult life.
Often when people “emotionally eat” they are using high calorie, high fat, energy dense foods which are not conducive to health’, commented Dr. Farrow, one of the researchers of the study.
If you find yourself saying ‘I deserve this (treat) today’ on a daily basis, this may be one of the causes of overeating. Try to substitute unhealthy treats with healthier alternatives. For example, if your find yourself craving a sugary muffin, substitute with fruit and Greek yoghurt.
Alternatively, reward yourself by doing an activity with a friend and find rewards non-food related.
2) Eating Out
Meeting up with friends for a meal out is a great way to socialise. However, while it gives you a break from cooking and washing up, this could result in overeating.
Many restaurants offer a meal of the day, whereby you get a 3-course meal for a decent price. Even if you’re not particularly hungry, this can be an appealing incentive. Check out the menu beforehand and find a healthy option.
Once you sit down at the restaurant, order straight away and do not consult the menu. This will prevent you getting swayed by extra sides and nibbles.
Studies have also found that people’s food choices are influenced by those they eat with. You may tend to eat similar amounts as those around you, Therefore, dining out with friends who overeat may also encourage you to also over do it.
3) Lack of Sleep
A lack of sleep can have serious implications on your health, especially when it comes to your eating habits. Failing to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep a night can result in an increased appetite, causing you to overeat.
One study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that not getting enough sleep could cause people to eat up to 5 percent more calories per day—primarily after dinner.
Sleep deprivation is also highly linked to increased stress levels, which is another factor that can result in making unhealthy dietary choices. Make sure you are getting a substantial amount of sleep each night. Not only will it improve your eating habits, but you will have better energy levels and feel less anxious during the day.
For many Americans, dieting seems the answer to weight loss. Different fad- diets are constantly being promoted by influencers and celebrities, promising that ‘this’ miracle diet is the secret to their weight loss.
While you may drop a few pounds in the first few months, the results are unlikely to withstand in the long term. One study by researchers at UCLA, found that dieters typically shed 5 to 10 percent of their starting weight within the first six months. However, here’s the catch.
They also found that at least one- to two-thirds of people on diets gain more weight than they lost within four or five years
An extremely restrictive diet can result in feelings of deprivation. Although you may stay strong for a while, depriving yourself completely of certain foods can result in you overeating. Remember, moderation is often key.
There’s nothing good on TV and you find yourself mindless flicking through channel after channel, munching on a bag of chips. In a matter of minutes, the bag is completely empty, not even a crumb left.
Sound familiar? Studies have found a correlation between boredom and increased consumption. One study showed that when bored people consumed higher levels of fats, carbohydrate and energy- dense food.
A further study discovered that boredom increased the desire to snack, as opposed to eating something healthy. Both studies found that significant over eating could happen as a result of feeling bored.
If you find boredom creeping up, find an activity to keep you busy and prevent mindless eating.
When stress levels are on the rise, many of us reach out for a comforting snack. Food can seem a source of comfort, however eating when stressed can lead to problems.
Animal studies have suggested that increased stress levels induced spontaneous binging and hyperphagia, closely mimicking the behavioural and metabolic features of human binge eating.
Research has also suggested that stress increases the intake of high fat and high sugar foods especially. It is thought that ghrelin, a “hunger hormone,” may have a role, with a rise in stress causing an increase in ghrelin. If you believe stress is causing you to overeat there a few things you can do.
Try to relieve stress through alternative methods, such as yoga, meditation, exercise and talking to someone about your worries.
Overeating can happen to the best of us, but if you find yourself regularly overeating, it could lead to significant weight gain, which can result in a number of health problems, including type 2 diabetes. A new report from the CDC in 2015 revealed that 30.3 million Americans, (almost 10% of the U.S. population) have type 2 diabetes. Another 84.1 million have pre-diabetes, a condition that if not treated often leads to type 2 diabetes in less than five years.
Controlling blood sugar levels plays an important role in diabetes management, which is why I created Glyco-Optimizer. This all natural supplement has been clinically formulated to help restore normal blood sugar levels, reduce cholesterol and even lower insulin resistance. Click here to learn more about this natural supplement. Remember, maintaining a healthy balanced diet, combined with daily exercise, is vital in order to stay in good shape and reduce your risk of developing metabolic diseases.
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