What is Overeating?

Overeating is the practice of consuming more food than your body needs to function optimally. It's often a unconscious habit that sneaks into the routines of even the most fitness-conscious people. Understanding the signs of overeating can help curb this habit and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Physical Discomfort

A common sign of overeating is physical discomfort. This could manifest as a bloated feeling, stomach pain or general discomfort following a meal. Imagine your stomach like a small balloon. Ideally, it should be about three-quarters full after eating. If it expands beyond this due to consuming excess food, you may experience discomfort.

Lethargy and Fatigue

Overeating can cause an excessive demand of energy from your body to digest the extra food. Consequently, you may experience laziness, tiredness or a lack of motivation. If you consistently feel lethargic and heavy after eating, you're likely overeating.

Digestive Issues

Regular overeating can generate numerous digestive problems including acid reflux, constipation, and diarrhea. If your digestion is constantly upset and you're not ill, it may be because your body is struggling to process excessive food intake.

Weight Gain

In many cases, overeating leads to weight gain. Our bodies store extra energy from food as fat, so if you consistently consume more than you burn, you'll likely start gaining weight. This isn't a day-to-day indication, but rather a long-term sign of overeating.

Emotional Discomfort

Feeling guilty or depressed after eating too much is another common sign that you're not managing your food intake properly. Food should be enjoyed and nourish your body. However, a pattern of emotional distress after eating suggests that you're not in a healthy relationship with food.

Breaking the Cycle of Overeating

Now that we've identified the most common signs of overeating, how can we break this cycle?

First, be aware of your hunger and fullness cues. Start every meal when you're truly hungry and stop when you're comfortably full, not overstuffed.

Second, eat mindfully. Savor every mouthful, consider the quality of what you're eating, and remove distractions like television or smartphones during meals.

Third, don't deny yourself your favorite foods as it can lead to binge eating. Instead, keep portion sizes in check and balance indulgent meals with healthier ones.

Breaking the cycle of overeating can be a big task but with small, positive changes to your eating habits and mindfulness, you can maintain a satisfying, nourishing relationship with food. Remember, there's no merit in deprivation. The goal is to enjoy a variety of foods in moderation and to listen to your body's cues for hunger and satiety.