Food Addiction: 5 Reasons You Can’t Stop Eating
Do you find yourself reaching for a snack, even after you eat a meal and aren’t really hungry? Or, do you often eat until you’re full enough to feel sick and wonder why I can’t stop eating? If you find that you have an unhealthy relationship with food and simply can’t stop eating, it’s very likely that you have a food addiction. To help identify your triggers, take a look at the most common reasons why it’s difficult for some people to stop eating.
1. You’re Not Staying Hydrated
Many people mistake thirst for hunger and end up eating a snack when what they really need is a glass of water. Even if you think you’re not thirsty, it doesn’t hurt to drink a glass of water or unsweetened tea to see how you feel afterward. You might just find that the hunger stays at bay and you’re able to move on without consuming extra calories.
Tip: Make it a priority to drink one or two glasses of water before each meal. You’ll eat less overall and may eat fewer snacks throughout the rest of the day as well.
2. Inadequate Sleep
A sleep study done by Mayo Clinic in 2012 found that individuals who slept less at night consumed more food during the day. The reason for this varies but is very likely due to the fact that too little slip hinders the production of appetite-suppressing hormones. Additionally, most people are likely to grab a snack in order to help their energy perk up, which can add on hundreds of extra calories per day.
Tip: Turn your phone off when you get into bed, otherwise it may end up keeping you up later than you anticipated.
3. High Levels of Stress
Busy work life, kids who need to be driven to activities, and other personal issues can lead to chronic stress that interrupts normal hormone production. As a result, you could end up reaching for a snack more often than you would otherwise. Some individuals don’t even realize they’re stress eating until they are finished with an entire candy bar or something fattening from the vending machine.
Tip: Stress increases glucose levels (which can lead to hunger), so don’t ignore how you feel when you’re under stress. Take a moment to step back, relax, and breathe to try and ground yourself.
4. You’re Eating a Carb-Heavy Breakfast
If you eat a big bagel, pancakes, or chunk of bread with eggs in the morning, this could be causing you to eat more throughout the rest of the day. A study by researchers at the University of Missouri found that individuals who consumed high-protein breakfasts consumed fewer calories throughout the day than those who ate carb-heavy meals.
Tip: Go for a lean meat and eggs with just one slice of whole-grain bread, if you really want the carbohydrates.
5. Your Diet is Relatively Unhealthy
Fatty, fried, and sugar-filled foods (especially those made with white flour or sugar), are only going to make you crave more of those foods. Due to the fact that these have little fiber, they can spike blood sugar and leave you with the ability to eat more throughout the day. This is why you might find you’re hungry just an hour after eating white rice with fried protein (like Chinese food) or why you can eat a whole dessert and pizza without a problem.
Tip: Try to incorporate less processed foods into your diet throughout the day. Vegetables and fruits will help reduce your cravings while helping keep you full for longer.
Are You Addicted to Food?
If you’re eating an unhealthy diet, have chronic stress, or are dealing with too-little sleep, you could easily become addicted to food. From snacking when you’re not hungry to eating huge meals, it can all add extra pounds on the scale every month. Unfortunately, constant hunger is easier to satisfy today than ever before, with quick meals from fast food restaurants, bakeries, and stores with a variety of unhealthy foods ready to go. If you want to break your addiction, it will be hard work but you can succeed.
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If you recognize any of the behaviors above in yourself and often wonder, “why can’t I stop eating”, this should signal that it’s time for a change. Pay attention to your health, work with professionals, and you may see a huge change in overeating in the future.
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