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10 Reasons You Eat When You're Not Actually Hungry

And What You Can Do About It!


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  • I eat for l9ts of reasons but another one to consider is I am programmed to think of food as a reward. When I was little, that'sounds what I was taught. I am working very hard to break that concept and replace it with non food rewards. Just a thought.
  • Reason #11: Nibbling while cooking. This is like you on autopilot. Dice meat, veggies, cheese - take a nibble. Adding seasoning? Take a taste. Adding more ingredients? Another taste. Those bites do add up and I don't think anyone wants to take the time to add them to our nutrition tracker.
    Guess it helps if we're just more aware.
  • I have what I think might not be a particularly unusual problem: I have no 'off' switch.

    I can withhold eating until I am hungry, but once I am hungry, I either get no "full" message from my body, or I override the message so completely that I just keep feeling ravenous.

    This is particularly a problem in the evening. I eat what appears to be fairly normal food choices and portions - compared to normal weight friends and family - but at dinner time, by the time I get off work, through traffic and errands, etc I am ravenous and it doesn't really stop until I go to bed.Or am utterly sick from how much food I've ingested.

    I don't wake up and eat at night. And this can happen during the day, but rarely does.

    I may try NOT eating after 5p.

    I've tried a lot of other tricks to no avail. And just for the record, I am a vegan. It isn't meat and cheese. Literally, if there is a salad, I could eat it all, look with lust in my heart at the salad on everyone else's plate, eat a sandwich, and make my way like a Hoover through anything else until I am sick and disgusted.

    I'm pretty sure it is an addiction pattern or a mental illness.

    I'm just tired of it. Tired of thinking about it.
  • This one is a tough one for me, and probably for most people who don't live alone. First, when other people are in the home you just can't say you aren't going to cook dinner until you are hungry because the other family members probably won't want to wait on your appetite before they can eat. Once you cook dinner for everyone else, you will probably want to eat so you don't have to eat cold leftovers or cook a second meal for yourself an hour later. Additionally, I don't generally get hungry until several hours after I have been up, and have been repeatedly told not to skip breakfast. If I wait until I am hungry, I often don't eat until sometime in the afternoon, which I am told slows my metabolism, causing me to gain weight...
  • My primary overeating is emotional - when I seem to need something really chewy or crunchy - and I am trying to start keeping more veggies, possibly fruit around for that - still a goal. One problem I have with emotional eating is that usually the food is not satisfying for the "need", which makes it hard to stop over eating.
    My other issue is that I like to eat - as I cook, prepare food or snacks for others.
    We are also realizing, which we have ignored for a while, that food buffets encourage overeating for us.
  • I find the advice of don't eat just because it's time or onlyeat when you are hungry to be non-starters in my house. The 3 year old is clearly the one in charge of when we all eat. Not cooking just because I am not hungry is just not realistic. The toddler may be hungry because her metabolism is a totally different system then the adults in the house. If I listened only to my body, we would eat an hour later but the tantrums that would result would be a heavy source of stress, and if I wait an hour, I might not be able to sit down and eat until after she goes to bed by which time I would be starving. So I eat earlier than I want, and then find myself hungry at 9pm. I pray she will be able to eat a little later soon but it just doesn't work right now.
  • Okay, there is a comment here that makes no sense. Why in the world would someone who has "never been overweight", exercises regularly and is seemingly healthy be commenting on a Sparkpeople message board?
    Sounds like a troll to me. How about we just honestly support each other with ideas that work for us and stop trying to be smarter than the room.
  • My experience with Food Pushers. I usually just say, "I will eat it later" or "Not now". Some pushers get really offended and hurt if you refuse so I take it, thank them then throw it away in private.

    Years ago I was offered a beer at a bar as I was delivering linen. So I just took it and poured it out in the alley. I couldn't do my job or drive if I were drinking. But the pushers don't think of that.
    We eat when not hungry because it tastes better than any diet food!! That's the real reason! Trust me....
  • Also, sometimes I've released I eat when I'm thirsty. I know that sounds odd, but reaching for water first has helped me lost weight. I realize my body needs something, and I automatically reach for food. More water!!
  • Terrific article, lucidly put. Thanks. I've pinned it to refer to in future.
  • Good article, I need to re-read it often.
  • I also learned some hunger pangs are actual thirst. That wasn't listed. Sometimes drink some water or other calorie free drink (8 oz, not a sip) wait 5 minutes and if your still hungry, your hungry.
  • I eat to prevent low blood sugar which is rather scary. When I go out I usually take a high protein snack for emergencies.
    Unfortunately, I eat many times when I'm not hungry because many foods are delicious and I like to eat. Most people stop eating when they are full, but I love the taste and don't want to stop. For me, it's a battle.

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