Have you ever found yourself eating without really Thinking of eating? This is mindless eating.
Mindless eating is when you become detached from the experience of your food and your body, making it difficult for you to enjoy what you are eating and adjusting your body to know when you are satisfied and full.
We’ve all done it before.
Maybe we eat while watching TV or graze on food all afternoon.
We are busy with people, so we won’t always be 100 percent attentive every time we eat, but the problem with mindless eating is that it can lead to many undesirable outcomes. From bouts of binge eating to feeling excessively full, causing digestive upset, and even regret and guilt, mindless eating never serves us well.
In this article, we explore common reasons why you find yourself eating without thinking so you can overcome them.
6 most common reasons to eat mindlessly
A better understanding of what leads you to mindless eating can help you better recognize when it occurs and take steps to prevent it.
1. Eating for comfort
Food tastes good, so food makes us happy, right? Well, unfortunately this can be a slippery slope.
The food is delicious and fun, and for that reason, you’re supposed to enjoy it! But what we don’t want to do is start looking at food as a comfort, or as a coping mechanism to help deal with the other parts of our lives that aren’t so much fun.
When someone Eating for restThey generally look to food to remove a previous sensation and replace it with joy.
For example, let’s say you feel very nervous after work. You probably can’t get rid of that anxious feeling once you’re home, so reach for your favorite chocolate cake because you know cake always tastes good and will help you forget about the stress you’ve been feeling.
This causes mindless eating.
You don’t eat cake simply because you want to eat cake and savor every piece and enjoy it exactly as it is! Instead, you are looking for the cake for comfort, for escape. This can also happen as a result of almost any heightened emotion – from sadness to anger or even frustration.
2. Environmental stimuli
Are there certain places you go that trigger a particular desire?
One of the most common things I’ve heard about is cinema. When you get to the cinema, do you immediately want a bag of popcorn? Or maybe it was your favorite dessert?
Now just wanting to enjoy a food is by no means shy! Food is meant to be nutritious and enjoyable, and that’s part of our philosophy here at Nutrition Stripped.
But inattention comes into play here when we want the nutrient even though we’re less hungry. If we are completely full and eat simply as a result of an environmental cue, we will not be able to listen to our hunger and satiety cues to guide how much we eat and when. We simply eat to eat.
This often leads to an overconsumption of food that leaves us feeling full, bloated and perhaps somewhat regrettable after eating more than we intended.
Another common example of environmental signals can often be found social eating situations. In many of these situations, there is often food offered for grazing, such as bowls of potato chips or a charcuterie board. It may simply cause you to crave certain foods that you wouldn’t normally say are the most satisfying for you. It can also lead you to overeat because you grab onto something every time you walk or because it sits in front of you all night.
Distractions are another common cause of mindless eating. Everything from scrolling on Instagram to watching TV or working while eating is a distraction from your experience with food.
When you are distracted from eating, getting satisfied with what you’re eating is more difficult because you don’t really care about the taste and texture of food.
Think about it – have you ever sat on the couch watching Netflix with a big bowl of chips? Before you knew it, you were eating a lot more than you likely would if you were sitting at the table and paying attention to what you were eating.
Now, it’s important to know that sometimes it’s perfectly okay to do that! Sometimes all we want is a good Netflix night and some chips while we’re watching. But, if this is part of your normal daily routine, then this is the time when you want to work on replacing this habit.
4. Mindless eating due to peer pressure
Everyone who has this friend or family member has said, “No, you should definitely try this, it’s so good!” , “I know you said you didn’t want anything, but please just take some with me!”.
Sound familiar to anyone?
When we are not really hungry for food, or we are not really enjoying the stuff of food, but we eat it anyway, we eat mindlessly.
Again, we simply eat to eat. We don’t think about how food tastes, how it makes us feel, or how it smells, we eat instead because someone told us so.
Now this is very similar to eating for convenience, but it is driven more by habit than anything else.
Our habits allow us to operate on autopilot when needed so that we can easily complete daily tasks. This is the cool part about habits! But what they also do is sometimes cause us to act without intention, or without thinking, when we are around food.
For example, let’s say when you were growing up, you always went to the kitchen when you finished your homework and didn’t play or do anything specific. You are bored! I used to search the store and grab whatever was there.
Well, now, whenever you get bored, your mind might immediately go to food. habit is formed.
Again, we don’t eat because we are hungry and we want to test the food item carefully, we eat to satisfy a different need that unfortunately can’t really be satisfied.
6. Eating schedules cause mindless eating
Customers often come to me with a specific dining schedule Should cleave.
They eat breakfast, lunch and dinner at a certain time each day. Why might you ask? Well, because they thought they were meant to.
What is happening here, is that we are deliberately ignoring the cues of hunger and satiety again. Instead of listening to the body and responding accordingly, we force the body to eat when we think it is supposed to. When we don’t check how we feel about food, we eat thoughtlessly again.
How to stop eating unconsciously
Now we know what causes mindless eating. How do we stop?
Well, we first want to be aware of our individual triggers. Do you often search for food for comfort? succumb to peer pressure? Sticking to an eating schedule? Or maybe you are affected by boredom or your environment?
Once you are aware of the reasons why you are eating mindlessly, you can actively work to break those habits and build new, more positive ones. inside our site Free guideIn this article, we share simple yet effective tools you can start using at your next meal to experience more balance with your food choices today, as well as steps to maintaining balanced eating habits for life.
Practice mindful eating
You can also learn to practice mindful eating on purpose. This is what we teach all of our members and clients in order to achieve their individual goals. Moving away from mindful eating to the realm of mindful eating allows you to take control of your life and health goals.
If this is a skill you’d like to develop but you’re not quite sure which is the right next step for you, sign up for free. The call of discovery With one of our nutritionists! You will be able to discuss your pain points, goals, and aspirations to determine what you should do next.