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This Month In Diet
  • Eating to Eat
    The way you view food has a big impact on your ability to manage your weight. Knowing the reasons why you eat when you’re not hungry can help you guard against the problem. Read >>
  • The Longevity Diet
    For some people, every food choice is based on a desire to live longer, and the Longevity Diet claims to help you do just that. Could it add extra years to your life? Read >>
  • Eat Your Vegetables
    You mom was right when she told you to eat your vegetables as a child. They are good for you. What should you do if your distaste for vegetables has carried over into adulthood but you want to do something about it? Read >>
  • On the Prowl for Protein
    As more people are beginning to cut back on the amount of meat they eat, they’re looking for other ways to get their recommended daily amount of protein. The good news is there are plenty of vegetarian sources of protein to choose from. Read >>
Health and Fitness News
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Eating to Eat

Seven reasons you eat when you’re not hungry.

What’s your relationship to food? Healthy, obsessed, or love/hate? The way you view food has a big impact on your ability to manage your weight. People may view food as a way to nourish their body, as a social activity, something to avoid if possible, or as a way to manage their emotions.

While erratic eating may fit your schedule, your body and metabolism function best when you eat on a schedule. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a snack or two is a sensible eating plan. Others eat only when they feel especially hungry, and some people graze on food throughout the day. A common problem many people have is eating when they’re not hungry. Besides being wasteful, excessive eating leads to weight gain.

Knowing the reasons why you eat when you’re not hungry can help you guard against the problem. Here are seven reasons you may find yourself ingesting calories when your body doesn’t need them.

1. It’s There

Donuts are in the break room, chips are at the party, cookies are sitting on the counter, and food is left over from dinner. Why not have some? When food is in front of you, it can be hard to resist. Even if you’re not hungry, food can still be tempting. A common reason people eat is because food is readily available. If you had to plant, tend, harvest, and prepare your own food, you’d likely eat a lot less. Effortless food takes no effort to eat.

2. You’re Bored

Food, for many people, is a way to stay occupied. Don’t have anything to do? Why not see if there’s anything in the kitchen to distract you? No one to talk to at a party? Why not head over to see what’s on the food table? Beat this by keeping a to-do list nearby and engaging in conversation when others are around.

3. It Satisfies a Need

You may not be hungry, but you may be lonely, angry, depressed, anxious, or stressed. Many people turn to food as a way to manage their emotions. Food brings temporary comfort and distraction, but watch out! Emotional eating is a leading cause of weight gain. A bowl of ice cream will make you feel better after a fight with your teenage child or a long commute stuck in traffic, but only for a short time. Past abuse, broken relationships, failed dreams, and the everyday stress of life can drive people to find comfort in food. Don’t let it happen to you.

4. You’re Tired

Many people turn to food to help them feel energized when they’re tired. When you skimp on sleep, your body produces more ghrelin (the hormone that increases your appetite) and makes less leptin (the hormone that decreases your desire to eat). This means you feel like eating even when you’re not truly hungry. Hit the hay and nip excessive eating in the bud.

5. Too Much Alcohol

Having a little too much to drink can lead to overeating. With lowered inhibitions, you lack judgment about how much to eat and what kind of food to eat. Without your normal sense of self-control, you’re more likely to make unhealthy food choices. Keep your drinking under control and you’ll do the same for your eating decisions.

6. You’re Distracted

Distracted eating is another cause of overeating. Munching on popcorn during a movie, snacking on chips while scrolling through social media, or stuffing your face with appetizers while watching the game all make it easy to mindlessly eat when you’re not hungry. Grab a glass of water instead.

7. Peer Pressure

When everyone around you is eating, you’re more prone to eat as well, even when you’re full. After all, you don’t want to feel left out or feel like a party pooper, so you follow the crowd and grab a slice of pizza or a piece of cake. Resist the urge, admit to yourself and others that you’re already full, and enjoy the company of friends without all the calories.