What overeating is? What causes it? We experienced it by ourselves and we found a solution how to get it under control. Read below…
WHAT overeating is?
Overeating means that you eat when you are not really hungry. People should eat only when and until we are hungry. This is how animals do. But many people don’t follow their body needs. Many times it happens that we eat from a habit (at a certain time). For instance, when you notice its 2 pm it means lunch time. You don’t ask yourself if you are hungry or not. Another example is also when your coworker brings a basket full of fruit. Are you hungry or you just eat it because you can? We understand there are special occasions and moments. But if that happens often, then it may become a problem. We also make exceptions, but we try to keep it at a minimum.
This kind of eating habits usually brings some extra kilograms. But there are also many other consequences of eating more than you need. More about consequences and why many fruitarians fail at maintaining a fruit based diet, you can read here.
Two main CAUSES for overeating:
1. The first main reason for overeating: EMOTIONS
When we didn’t know what to do, we went for a meal. Were we really hungry? Were we at least empty? Many times not at all. We just didn’t have anything else better to do. Sadly, but true.
When we have been stressed, we wanted to eat.
– sadness and other related unpleasant emotions
We always thought that with eating, we will get rid of the unpleasant feelings. We were so wrong.
– need a break from work? Let’s eat.
Solutions for emotional overeating:
We needed to face those issues and find solutions.
For boredom, you need to find something you like. Go read a book for which you never find the time. Go for a run in a beautiful nature around you. Go for a walk and count the birds outside. Do some exercise instead. There are many possibilities, but only you can find the one you like.
For stress find the reasons where it comes from and reduce it. Don’t bother so much about things not going the right way. Let it go left way sometimes.
Sadness and other unpleasant feelings have been also many times the reason for an unnecessary meal. You need to face and work on those feelings. Eating is not the answer.
Go for a walk instead of eating. When you need a break from work, go outside just for a few minutes. This is the reason, why people gain weight after they quit smoking. They miss the break from work and they start eating more instead of smoking.
With meditation, we made the biggest progress in changing our emotional state and noticing how we actually feel when we want to overeat.
2. The second main reason for overeating: lack of MINDFULNESS
When people are eating, usually their thoughts are all over the place. What will I wear for the evening dance? How many likes my picture got on Facebook? Did I set a timer for a washing machine? What to buy a friend as a birthday gift 2 months from now? Sounds familiar?
People also have deep conversations with others when eating. Many people see eating as socializing part of their life. But the problem is they don’t pay enough attention to food so they don’t know when they have enough. They stop when the plate is empty.
What is mindfulness?
Simplified it means here and now. You are in the present moment. Not tomorrow, not yesterday. Just NOW, paying attention to only one thing which you are doing. More about mindfulness in another post.
For some people, food is really not important, it’s just a must. While for most of the people – we are guilty as f*** – food is a pleasure. Tasting it, smelling it, admiring it. You know what we mean. We enjoy savoring quality and ripe fruits. Aromatic and creamy durian – omg 🙂
People who treat food as a pleasure are tended to unconsciously suppress unpleasant emotional states with food.
This is why they need to practice mindfulness. We keep asking ourselves what is really going on. How do we feel? Are we really hungry or we just want to suppress some emotions?
When we noticed that we really are hungry we go eating. But eating mindfully. Why? Because we want to know when we are already satisfied. So we want to eat mindfully and totally present in the moment. We want to taste the food with all taste buds on our tongue. Many times with our eyes closed. It’s sort of a meditation.
Completely concentrating only on a taste. No phone, no newspaper, no Facebook or Instagram. Just us and our delicious food. Paying attention to here and now.
Most of the people are aware just of the first two and last two bites. All in between they are not aware.
Is it over already? The plate is almost empty. Last bites get all your attention. You feel a lot of pleasure. You want more. But you are already full! Ok, just one more mango. And just another one. And so on… Vicious circle. It happened to us numerous times.
The feeling of pleasure from food is so powerful that it distracts you and leads to overeating. You forget that you are already full. You would just love to eat more, to get more pleasure.
To prevent this, you need to eat mindfully from the beginning till the end.
But for this savoring awareness, we needed years. Regular meditation, controlling our mind when eating and awareness of our emotions. It is not so simple. Sometimes it still isn’t. But we try our best to be in a present moment. The biggest progress we made, when we attended 10 days Vipassana silent meditation retreat at Koh Phangan at Wat Kow Tahm in March 2018. We will write about that experience in another post.
If you are the one who treats food only as an urge, you, of course, don’t have the problem with overeating. You don’t need to be mindful of eating and you can do whatever you want when having a meal. You are lucky 🙂
But the majority of people need to pay attention to their body weight. Those people treat food as a pleasure. Losing weight is one of the biggest businesses in the world.
For us is easy to maintain weight. But if we overeat, we also can get unwanted kilograms 😉 But unwanted kilograms are not the only problem of overeating. More important to us is our well-being. We want to feel light, powerful instead of full, heavy and grounded. Eating too much food and lack of mindfulness leads to a state of unsatisfaction. Being full, but still lacking satisfaction. So when you continue eating in this state you feel like a pregnant woman in the 10th month.
Eating mindfully and being aware of your emotions makes it much easier to catch the point of satiation and maintain your weight.