Why Do We Eat when we're not Hungry?

Many people say that they eat well but like the 'occassional snack'.

Whilst this may be true, people often snack even though they aren't even that hungry. 

Our emotional and psychological links with food are important aspects when managing our weight.

Appetite can be stimulated by feelings of worry, anger, frustration, guilt  and low self esteem

Eating is often a way to suppress these negative emotions. Associating eating and drinking with stress reduction is learnt from a very early age! 

When a baby is hungry their sugar levels drop and they cry. This is stressful for everyone - the baby is fed- stress levels drop. 

Children quickly learn eating relieves stress.


Reasons why people eat when they're not hungry


There are many different reasons why people eat when their not hungry:



For reward- you've had a really bad day, your boss is a nightmare ou feel you deserve a reward = Stress

'Last Supper syndrome'- I'm going to start a diet on Monday and so must eat everything in the house beforehand = Procrastinator

'Closet syndrome'- nobody's looking. They know I'm on  diet but what they don't see they don't know about... = Denial

Habit- "It's time to eat" = Routine

Crowd pleasing- I'm just going along with others = Peer pressure

Paired event eating- coffee  means biscuit or movies means popcorn = Association

The 'Dam buster' syndrome- "I missed breakfast and ate 2 chocolate bars already, I may as well enjot myself and start again tomorrow" = All or nothing

Because it's there- I'm getting a drink in the kitchen.... OO a packet of crips... why not = Mindless eating

No doubt we have all suffered from eating despire us not being particually hungry from some of the above. Try and find out what your reason is. Write it down and come up with one or two 'contingency plans'.

The decision to eat is influenced by many things but probably the main one is simply availability. I have found both myself and with clients that simply NOT BUYING snacks/treats in the first place is the best solution. If you REALLY want a treat go out and get one. If you can't be bothered to leave the house, you probably don't really want that snack...


PS- Weight loss can obviously be achieved from a deliberate control of food intake. Dieting however can often sabotage success as the body goes into a 'starvation mode' (your body thinking your starving to death if you reduce the calories you eat by too much- approx 20%).

Try and eat as much as you want of foods you enjot that are healthy for you- chances are you will still be consuming less calories than you were despite eating as much as you want because the healthier foods have far less energy in them (as an experiment I dare you  to try and eat 500kcal worth of veg in one go...).

Take control of your appetite and feel and look better for it :)