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What Triggers Overeating?

Food is the sustenance of life. Your body requires nutrients to thrive, and we get those nutrients through our diets. However, your body only requires so much food before it is satisfied. When you eat too much, most excess nutrients are discarded as waste while some are put into storage, waiting for the chance to be used as energy at a future date.

Overeating is the practice of eating too much, often despite lack of hunger. A collection of habits may contribute to overeating, such as large portions or a late-night desire to snack. Overeating may happen in a moment, such as during a large meal that you choose to finish even though you already feel full. Or, you may overeat gradually by constantly snacking or grazing on foods that you come across throughout the day (think: office donuts, leftovers or your hidden candy drawer).

Following your Optifast weight loss program, taking steps to prevent overeating can help you manage your weight loss long-term.

The Causes of Overeating

Overeating is a common issue throughout the United States, where food is readily available in abundance. However, convenience isn’t the necessarily the culprit. This is a complex issue that has deep roots in emotional behavior and the psyche. To understand your habit of overeating is to learn something more about yourself.

Many people are prompted to overeating by triggers. These are environmental, social and emotional cues that initiate a desire to eat.

Common triggers include:

  • Stress, anxiety and depression
  • Buffet lines, pot lucks and large restaurant meals
  • Snacks available at home, at a party or in the office lounge
  • Boredom
  • Fatigue

Defending Against Overeating

To stop overeating, you have to first become more aware of your personal eating habits. Start keeping a log of the foods you eat, including every snack, meal and small bite that you have throughout the day. In doing this, it is not uncommon to realize that you often eat throughout the day without really thinking about it.

This is called mindless eating, and it is one of the leading causes of overeating—especially when combined with common trigger situations like those outlined above.

During your Optifast program, you’ll be given strict dietary guidelines that will prevent you from overeating. Keep those guidelines in mind as you transition back to a conventional diet. Schedule your meals at intervals that coincide with your hunger, and always have your next snack or meal planned out so that in a moment of hunger you aren’t faced with the chance to overeat.