The psychological reasons for overeating have nothing to do with food.
After all, 90% of weight loss is about psychology.
So, in this guide on how to stop overeating, I’ll share my psycho-spiritual approach to weight loss.
This is how I finally gained control of my endless struggle with overeating.
But before we get started, you need to be willing to embrace the idea that overeating is not about food.
The Most Underrated Psychological Reasons for Overeating
The psychological reasons for overeating has nothing to do with trivial things like the size of your plates or amount of willpower.
Rather, overeating is caused by the rebound of dieting and the psychological motivations to keep dieting anyway.
The reason why diets don’t work is because it only focuses on the surface-level factor of food.
Weight loss psychology, on the other hand, dives into the bigger problems underneath.
So, if you’re ready to embrace the idea that overeating is about much more than food, let’s dig into the top psychological reasons for overeating:
1. You’re Getting Joy from Food Instead of Life
If you took food completely out of your life, how much joy would be left over?
Chances are, if you’re reading this article, there isn’t much. And that’s a problem.
When food is our only joy, we will self-sabotage weight loss in order to keep joy in our lives because humans need joy.
There’s no way around it. So before you even think about eating less, start by focusing on adding more joy to your life.
2. Your Busy Lifestyle Makes You Eat Too Fast
It take the body 20 minutes to register that it’s full.
Therefore, eating slowly is a great way to stop overeating by feeling your fullness the moment it happens – not when it’s too late.
If you’re a fast eater, it can be difficult to slow yourself down without slowing your life down.
Because the way we do one thing is the way we do everything. If you eat fast, you probably live fast.
3. You Eat for the “Hunger to Come”
Do you ever eat extra food now so that you won’t be hungry later?
This is called ‘eating for the hunger to come,’ and it’s a sneaky form of overeating.
So the next time you find yourself “eating for the hunger to come,” stop and prepare yourself a nice snack to go.
Then, when true hunger rolls around, you’ll be able to honor your body.
4. You’re Stuffing Something Else (Besides Food) Down
Overeating is a sign that you’re subconsciously avoiding an uncomfortable feeling.
Therefore, choosing to feel uncomfortable instead of buffering with food will help you stop overeating.
When you think about it this way, dieting and 1,400 calorie “flat belly” days seems much safer. But it never works!
So when you’re tired of yo-yo dieting, try to practice emotional tolerance.
5. You’re Not Following the Psycho-Spiritual Eating Guidelines
The psycho-spiritual eating guidelines are:
- Eat exactly what appeals to you when you’re hungry
- Stop when you’re full
- Feel what you’re feeling when you’re not hungry
Notice how there’s zero advice about what to eat.
Rather, it focuses on the psychological causes of overeating: those dang uncomfortable feelings.
6. Not Allowing Yourself to Have Certain Foods Makes You Psychologically Crave Them
Chronic dieters usually have a mental (or written) list of “forbidden foods” like donuts.
Although these forbidden foods are likely unhealthy, you need to give yourself permission to have these foods as often as you’d like.
This is essential for mastering the psychology of weight loss!
Because when we deny ourselves certain foods, it only gives those foods more power over us.
7. You’re Dieting – And For Every Diet There Is an Equal and Opposite Binge
When I gave up dieting in 2016, I was honestly surprise that I didn’t overeat even when I was allowed to eat whatever I wanted.
It’s literally like reverse psychology: knowing that I can have it made me not want it.
This is a huge step, so refer to my guide on how to stop dieting and eating normally for more advice.
8. Food Might Actually Be a Welcome Distraction (and Thus Appeals to Your Psychology)
We’re all guilty of assuming that life will be better/happier/easier once we lose the weight.
But the truth is that being thin will not fix anything.
And behind every desire to lose weight is a much deeper problem – something that has nothing to do with food.
The sooner you can resolve the real issue, the sooner you can overcome compulsive eating.
9. You Are Resisting the Feeling of Discomfort
Overeating is a response to discomfort.
We eat more than our body needs because we’re trying to soften emotional pain (that we might not even know is there).
In order to stop overeating, you have to be willing to be uncomfortable, which is a skill that you can build just like any other.
Each time you feel yourself drawn towards food when you’re not hungry, get curious about what feeling is driving that desire.
Do the Stop, Drop, and Feel, and practice feeling your feelings. You will get better at it through practice, I promise.
Master the Psychological Reasons for Overeating
In order to stop overeating, you need to master your psychology.
This takes time as you unravel your subconscious blocks to weight loss.
Take each step one-by-one and watch how the desire to overeat slowly fades away.
I hope you enjoyed this psycho-spiritual weight loss approach to stopping overeating.