Emotional Wellbeing


Mental Health

Mandy Kloppers

Overeating – why do we do it?


1) Boredom

When we have too much time on our hands we may be tempted to head for the kitchen. Boredom can lead to worrying thoughts which in turn leads to us seeking comfort…

2) Emotional Eating

When we are bored or we are anxious and worried about something, we may unconsciously seek some form of comfort – this can often be in the form of food. The problem is that the comfort is temporary and we end up feeling even worse after stuffing out faces.

3) Rigid all-or-nothing thinking

When we are trying to lose weight, many of us adopt the all-or-nothing approach. We start off each morning with good intentions but by lunchtime we have often eaten a forbidden food. Once we have crossed the line of being virtuous, many of think “Oh well, I may as well just go for it now as I have broken my diet today” and so we end up binge eating for the rest of the day. We also binge because we remind ourselves that tomorrow we will start again and so we want to make sure we get as much food in now before tomorrow. And then tomorrow it all starts again…this erodes our confidence and makes us feel worse.


How to stop overeating

Tackle any underlying issues. Do you have low self-esteem? Are you worried or depressed about something but not dealing with it head on? Are you bored and/or directionless in life?

Figure out what is bothering you and try to deal with that. Often, overeating is symptomatic of underlying emotional issues and as soon as we deal with that we tend to treat ourselves better. We also give ourselves more comfort when we tackle our underlying psychological issues.

Another common reason for overeating is being in an unhappy relationship. When we are unable to stand up for ourselves or feel powerless in some way, we can begin to binge eat in an attempt to feel happier. Sometimes we even hope on an unconscious level that if we get fat this will shake up the situation and force an outcome that we are too afraid to confront (ie. our partner will leave us as we become unattractive to them).

There are a myriad of reasons as to why we overeat. Stop sabotaging yourself and change your strategy. Figure out when you tend to overeat and be more vigilant at these times. Stop buying food that you know you have a weakness for. It’s not forever but just until you can eat healthily. Watch your portions too.

Analyse your emotional landscape and get counselling if you need added support but be pro-active. Nothing will change unless you do something different. Believe that you can and get to it…

Mandy X


Photo by Dan Gold on Unsplash

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