Today’s fast-paced lifestyle and ever-increasing portion sizes make it difficult for many people to control their appetite. This leads to serious health conditions like cardiovascular disease, Type II Diabetes, and obesity.
In fact, 39.8% of the adults in the U.S. had obesity between 2015 and 2016.
If you repeatedly find yourself saying, “Ok, this is the last bite,” this post is for you. Keep reading to discover why you can’t stop eating and what you can do about it.
What Causes Compulsive Eating?
Is your compulsive eating getting out of control? These might be the common causes:
Compulsive eating often starts slowly. Children may turn to food when upset to soothe their feelings, while for other people, negative comments about their weight trigger binge eating.
It may occur after restrictive dieting or a traumatic event. A home environment where the parents weren’t present or were too controlling may contribute to body image issues that lead to unhealthy eating habits.
Certain genes that affect eating behaviors may be passed down through the family. These genes affect brain circuits that control mood and appetite. As a result, you may struggle with binge eating if someone in your mother or grandmother binged.
People who are depressed are more likely to struggle with food cravings. This is mainly attributed to low serotonin levels, which cause cravings for sugary foods.
Depression also depletes energy, and the resulting feeling of lethargy triggers cravings to fuel the tired body. Depressed individuals often can’t stop eating junk foods as they associate them with positive feelings.
Attempts to lose weight don’t always end well. Many people adopt unhealthy habits like undereating or skipping meals in the hopes of achieving their goal weight. When they fail, they feel so guilty that they end up eating too much.
Lack of Sleep
A recent study on sleep deprivation found that people who sleep for five hours consume 385 more calories than those who get 8 hours of sleep. The metabolism hormones leptin and ghrelin are disrupted when you don’t get enough sleep.
This affects your appetite as the brain looks for stimulation and energy from calories. As a result, you crave sugary and fatty foods.
Boredom and Stress
If you don’t have much going during your snack-filled days, chances are you are eating continuously to stave off the monotony. With your brain looking for stimulation, you’ll end reaching for sweets and high-carb foods to increase serotonin production.
On the other hand, your body may produce cortisol if you are too spread thin. The stress hormone increases appetite levels, and you end up overeating.
What to Do When You Can’t Stop Eating
Are you finding it difficult to stop overeating? Try the tips below:
Focus on Healthy Habits Rather Than Diet Restriction and Weight Loss
Set yourself up for success by focusing on healthy habits like eating vegetables and snacking on fruits. Focusing more on the restrictions you need to adopt will put unnecessary pressure on your shoulders.
Prioritize healthy habits that you can achieve, like getting to bed an hour earlier, or eating when you’re hungry instead of on a clock, making time for workouts, and drinking more water.
Avoid Over-Restricting or Skipping Meals
It’s tempting to skip meals or follow a low-carb diet when you’re trying to lose weight quickly. This deprivation can backfire quickly as blood sugar levels plummet. Your body goes into starvation mode, and you start craving unhealthy foods.
This is demonstrated by a nutrition study, which found that young adults who skipped dinner were more likely to be obese. Consider eating three healthy meals and one or two snacks each day. Aim for 1500 calories if you’re male or 1200 calories if you are female daily.
Find Better Ways to Deal With Your Feelings
Unpleasant emotions like anxiety, depression, fear, and loneliness are leading causes of binge eating. However, eating only offers fleeting relief.
The good news is that there are better ways to cope. Start by identifying your triggers with a food and mood diary. Note down what you ate and how you felt before, during, and after you ate.
Once you identify your trigger emotions, learn to accept them rather than judge yourself. Explore what’s going on and understand that your feelings don’t define you.
Break the TV and Food Habit
One of the reasons you can’t stop eating at night is because you tend to eat as you watch your favorite shows. With time, your brain is rewired, and craving junk food becomes the norm every time you turn on the TV.
Break this habit by turning off the TV when you sit down to eat. You’ll be surprised by how much more effective your supplements for fitness will be when you break such a mundane habit.
Eat Appetite Suppressant Foods
Adding certain foods to your diet can fill your stomach and curb cravings. This includes;
- Proteins and healthy fats like Greek yogurt, lean meat, beans and peas, eggs, and soy products, among others
- High-fiber foods slow down digestion and keep you feeling full for longer
- Dark chocolate is more effective for suppressing appetite than milk chocolate
- Bulky, low-calorie foods like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables
Other ways to suppress your appetite include taking fat-burning supplements, drinking more water, exercising before eating, drinking Yerba Mate tea, and eating more ginger.
Fighting the urge to eat compulsively can prove difficult, especially when you have deep-rooted emotional issues. Consider calling family or a friend when a craving hits you.
It will lift your mood and keep you from eating junk food out of boredom or for comfort. You may also consider getting professional help from a therapist or attending a local Overeating Anonymous meeting.
There are Many Ways to Stop Overeating
Compulsive eating is a common problem that poses serious health risks. The good news is that there are several ways to curb your appetite, and it all starts with identifying why you can’t stop eating.
That said, consider talking to a doctor about your diet, eating patterns, and appetite concerns before starting any dieting or fitness routine. The goal is to achieve a healthy weight and accept your body without putting yourself in harm’s way, and a medical professional may prove helpful.
Get in touch today to learn more.