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Reasons You Eat When You’re Not Actually Hungry


We’ve all done it, and sometimes we don’t realize when it’s happening. You graze when bored, or reach your hand into the office candy jar each time you pass by. You feel sluggish in the afternoon and head to the vending machine for a pick-me-up. These are opportunities to eat for reasons other than hunger. No matter why food calls your name, one thing rings true: We have all eaten when we weren’t hungry. While that’s OK, too much eating without thinking hurts your weight loss. Here are common situations I find encourage my clients to eat when they are not hungry.

To Cope

Emotions are a common trigger to eat. Happy? You might eat a treat to celebrate. Sad? You might eat to soothe yourself with comfort food. Angry? You take it out with a fork instead of the person who really caused it. If you turn to food for emotional reasons, you won’t resolve the underlying issues. Ihelp my clients track their food and note their emotional state when headed for that snack. Writing it down helps you make a connection never seen before. You will know for the future to look for a different outlet, such as calling a friend when you’re lonely or punching that bag when you’re mad.

Out of Boredom

I work with successful clients that realize after working with me that they eat out of boredem. They usually busy and when they have time on their hands they use food for entertainment. I tell them to keep a list of tasks that need to be done around the house that somehow never get done, like cleaning out the garage or your car.

Because Other People Are Eating

When you’re enjoying a dinner with friends, it is easy to eat when you’re past the point of fullness. It is easy to indulge when others around you are eating, too. Research shows that our habits mimic our companions’ actions in situations like these. When your dining companions devour a second basket of bread, or order dessert, don’t automatically follow suit. I always tell my client leave the table and go to the bathroom to get away from the food and check in with your hunger.

Because Food is There

Have a candy jar at the office that calls your name? Do you feel powerless to pass up food at a party, even if you’ve already eaten? When food is in sight, it is so easy to grab a handful because it’s there. Any food that is visible and easily accessible is hard for anyone to turn down. You must keep treats out of sight and enjoy them when you plan to have them. If you buy Oreos, put them on a high shelf in a cabinet—not on the counter. When you’re already full and food is out at a party, stand with your back to the table or in another room.

Because It’s a Special Occasion

If you work in a big office or have a big family, it seems like every day is someone’s birthday. If those celebrations often involve cake or alcohol, it might seem that every party is calorie-laden. If you don’t want to have cake, don’t get in the cake line —you can always just show your face at the celebration. Remember: Celebrations are about the people, not the food.

Because You’re Tired

The dreaded afternoon energy lull can drive the most disciplined of us to food—especially sugary treats. That sugar rush might be followed by an even worse crash. Instead, take a walk around the office, or take a refreshing drink like iced coffee. A change of scenery can battle the afternoon lull.

Because the Clock Says So

Do you pull out your lunchbox at noon, just because it’s time for lunch? Or head to the kitchen at 6 p.m. just because that’s your dinnertime? Don’t eat when the clock tells you to! When mealtime hits, use it as a cue to check in with your hunger level. Are you hungry? If so, whip up that healthy meal. If not, wait until you are hungry and ignore the clock.

Because It’s Free (Or Cheap)

Everyone loves to get a good deal. Don’t eat because it is free or cheap such as(buy-one-get-one-free sodas or all-you-can-eat buffets). Always check in with your hunger level before you automatically fill your plate with a freebie.

Because You Can’t Say No to Food Pushers

If you’re a people pleaser, it can be hard to say no, especially when friends offer you scrumptious food. And sometimes people who push food don’t take no for an answer. I tell my clients to say that they are not hungry now but would love to take it to eat later. Then they can tell their friend how yummy it was and not hurt anyone’s feelings.

Because You Suffer from Clean Plate Syndrome

Most of us have grew up hearing, “There are starving kids who would love to eat that”. Do you still feel obligated to clean your plate, even when you’re not hungry enough to comfortably finish it all—especially at a restaurant where you’re paying for a meal? To prevent overeating, take stock throughout your meal to gauge how hungry you are; you might find that you don’t need those last few bites after all. After all you still have to eat tomorrow. If that doesn’t work, use smaller plates at home to eat less!

LindaRD enjoys setting up for her clients personalized meal plans based on their health concerns and strives to teach people to listen to their body hunger.

LindaRD is located at her office in Alamo and is happy to talk with you about nutrition concerns. Glad to inform you that insurance often pays for nutritional counseling. Please visit www. for more information on services or call (925) 855-0150.