About a month and a half ago I wrote a post titled “How to Stop Eating when I’m Not Hungry” And I shared 4 reasons why you might be eating when you’re not hungry and what to do about them. But what about “Why do I overeat, period?” or “Why do I overeat when I am hungry?” and bonus … “How can I stop overeating!?”

I have 4 possibilities that you might want to consider why you are overeating. These have each certainly affected me at various stages in my life. I believe the more we are aware of these subconscious choices we are making the easier it is to overcome them and start making better choices.

Small changes DO make a differenceClick To Tweet

This post contains affiliate links which means I can earn a fee for people purchasing when they click the link (at no cost to you). Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

Why do I overeat?


You’re overestimating the value of exercise

Sometimes we rationalize with ourselves. It’s okay to have this piece of pizza or this muffin for breakfast because I’m going to go to the gym today and I’ll just work a little harder while I’m there. Heres’ the problem with that. There are 2 actually, in my eyes.

  1. The machines are not really that accurate when they tell you how many calories you’ve burned. In fact, they often inflate their estimate and can be off by 42%! Especially if you don’t get your whole body in the workout and hold onto the bar in order to get a heartbeat rating.
  1. In order to exercise off that 500 calorie muffin you ate you would need to walk briskly for 1 hour! Are the 5 minutes it took you to eat that so-so muffin worth a whole hour extra of your time?

Instead, I recommend you go to the gym 1st. You’re less likely to want that muffin because typically exercising reduces your appetite and if you just worked out you are “in the zone” of making good choices.

Don’t use working out as a justification because you cannot outrun a bad diet. Find an activity that you enjoy doing and it won’t be a chore.

It will help strengthen your resolve and you will be making better choices naturally.

Exercising for some people increases their appetite. If that is you I recommend you choose a protein-rich snack for after your workout to help satiate your appetite.


You’re subconsciously giving yourself permission to overeat

Have you ever overindulged or “slipped-up” on your diet and thrown in the towel for the rest of the day?

“my diet is ruined now I might as well eat ____ too” So .. Why do I overeat? Because I keep telling myself this lie. One day leads into one week which leads to one month and so on.

Instead, use the unhealthy eating or overindulgence as motivation for yourself, to do better. Don’t fall down the rabbit hole. Ask yourself what you can do right now to do better.

Maybe that means drinking a large glass of water or doubling up on your veggies at dinner. Think about what would make you feel better not only physically but mentally as well. Because mental health is half the battle (maybe more if we are being completely honest with ourselves).

Another great suggestion is to write down one to three goals for tomorrow and commit to those. I don’t recommend doing more than that because then it is too much and I don’t want you to beat yourself up. I want you to have a positive experience and feel good about yourself and your accomplishments.

These goals don’t have to be hardcore either. Maybe today all you drank was soda, commit to drinking 5 glasses of water tomorrow. If you’ve sloughed off working out or being active for that past week commit to going for a 30-minute walk or getting outside to play with the kids for 30 minutes.

Knowing that you have these goals and that you are committed to them will help your day go more smoothly and you will rest easy knowing that your next choice will be a better choice.

You’re starving yourself to “bank” calories for something later in the day

Once upon a time, many moons ago, actually I think if memory serves it was after my second child was born and she is 13 now, I joined weight watchers to try and lose weight. I use to “bank” my points all of the time! I would skip lunch so I would have points for dinner or I’d skip breakfast because I was going out to lunch and then I’d plan on veggies for dinner (a zero point food).

Let me tell you this next to NEVER worked. I’d be so stinking hungry I would eat anything and everything, even things I didn’t like, like stuffed mushrooms (um gross!)

See the problem is that your body is one smart machine. When it thinks it’s starving it craves the easiest, fastest source of energy it knows. Let me tell you it ain’t veggies. Nope, it’s sugar or carbs that turn to sugar in your body quickly.

Instead of starving yourself eat smaller meals throughout the day before a big event. I like to eat a protein-rich snack before I go to an event. My favorite is apple slices with a little bit of peanut butter. It has protein, fat and fiber which helps satiate my body and my taste buds.

This kind of ties into my next reason why I overeat but I wanted to split them into two because there are two facets to going out with friends or going to events.


You’re always eating when you get together with friends

This is a challenging one because we all like to eat and eating out is fun to do with friends. It is always sure to be a good time.

If you are eating out though you don’t know how the food was really prepared. Not to mention the entree they bring has enough food for 3 separate servings. Oh yeah, and you ordered an appetizer …. ohhh and desert….that sounds good… Sure why not.

As we are visiting and laughing and having a good time we don’t realize how much we’ve overeaten.

Instead, suggest doing something active when you get together. There are tons of active things you can do with friends that don’t require food to be present.

Get together for game night, bring a bocce ball set, cornhole or ladder ball, frisbee golf. The list of games can go on and one. Bring out your inner child and go bowling or play ultimate frisbee. Tour a local museum, monument or national park.

We are lucky here in Idaho, we have tons of great spots to go for a hike or bike ride too. Let your imagination go wild, find fun active things to do in your area and get to it!


Take Action

I want you to ask yourself again after reading this … Why do I overeat? … Do any of these 4 reasons resonate with you? If so I would encourage you to try one of the “insteads” to help you stop the reoccurring pattern of overeating.

Is there another reason you think you might be overeating and need help? Leave me a comment below or send an email I would be happy to give some suggestions or maybe work through the problem with you.


If you found these tips on “Why do I overeat” and what to do instead to be helpful make sure you pin it below and share with your friends and family either through Facebook, Twitter or by sending them the URL to this page. Thanks!

Why do I overeat? Here are 4 simple tips or ideas on how to stop overeating and lose weight.