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Overeating Causes: What Causes People To Overeat?

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Seven common reasons of why people overeat. | Shutterstock

We eat when we're hungry, we eat to celebrate, and when we indulge, food is our best friend.

But Anne Dranitsaris and Heather Dranitsaris-Hilliard, authors of 'Who Are You Meant To Be?', a guide on living to one's full potential, says overeating isn't just about what's on our plates, but that our personalities determine what we eat.

"Diets don't work, we've known this for years. Obesity has nothing to do with food — there are other reasons why people overeat," Dranitsaris tells The Huffington Post Canada.

The mother-daughter duo suggests overeating is determined by who we are, plain and simple. They also add that each personality has his or her own needs, and when we emotionally overeat, for example, we are trying to fulfill these needs.

So why is it that the smell and taste of freshly baked cookies always makes you happy? Dranitsaris says when we overeat, we start building relationships with our favourite foods.

"These people must have sugars or sweets and any sort of negative feeling or criticism makes them feel uncomfortable. This is similar to how parents offer cookies and sweets to kids to make them feel better," she says.

Other studies have found that specific ingredients are common reasons why we overeat. A recent study published in the 'Journal of the American Medical Association' found that fructose caused an increase in our body's blood flow, telling our brains we weren't full. On the other hand, the study also found eating glucose told our brains we were full, according to Care2.com.

And if you can't stay away from afternoon and midnight munchies, both Dranitsaris and Dranitsaris-Hilliard recommend keeping it healthy. Try packing light snacks and eating smaller meals throughout the day to avoid binging on junk foods or sugars.

LOOK: 7 common reasons why people tend to overeat — do you fit into any of these categories?

Reasons Why People Overeat
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You Want To Be Social:
When you're a social butterfly, the last thing you'll do is decline an invitation for a girls' night out. If you eat to be around others, you're probably overeating socially, say authors Anne Dranitsaris and Heather Dranitsaris-Hilliard of 'Who Are You Meant To Be.'
What you can do: People who tend to overeat while socializing should try planning activities that don't centre around food or eat smaller meals before meeting others.

You're Bored:
Face it, sometimes you eat just to kill time. Dranitsaris-Hilliard says people often eat out of boredom because they're not feeling challenged that particular day. "This can be both people who are under-challenged and people who complain about not doing new things."
What you can do: Find activities like reading, watching a movie or even exercising to keep yourself entertained.

You Eat To Decompress:
Dranitsaris says some people have such busy schedules, they often ignore their own needs for rest and relationships, and end up emotionally eating.
What you can do: The next time you have a bad day at work or you get into a fight with your partner, Dranitsaris recommends calling a friend to talk about it rather than heading towards the fridge.

You Eat Mindlessly:
Can you keep track of everything you ate today? Unless you're using a nutritional journal or eating the same foods, most people don't remember everything they ate as snacks. Dranitsaris says people who are focused on what they're doing (work, school, etc.) are not always aware of what's actually going into their mouths.
What you can do: To avoid this type of overeating, chewing gum and drinking water can be good alternatives and always ask yourself (and your body) if you're actually hungry.

You Eat For That Rush:
You've had a long day, but instead of going to sleep or taking a break, you head to the kitchen for a quick sugar or coffee fix. Dranitsaris says people who eat for stimulation often ignore their body's signals of feeling tired or exhausted. Instead, these people often eat junk food or drink alcohol to get that instant high.
What you can do: If you do see yourself doing this on late nights, Dranitsaris recommends eating small meals throughout the day to sustain your blood sugar levels.

You Eat Out Of Habit:
If mom always taught you to eat everything on your plate, this could be another reason you're overeating. Dranitsaris says even when our bodies tell us we're full, some people still end up eating and eating — as long as they don't feel guilty about wasting food.
What you can do: To avoid this, try meal planning or pack smaller lunches and snacks to keep you full.

We Eat To Comfort Ourselves:
Dranitsaris says there are some people who just don't like to talk about their feelings. They don't like to be held, they don't like to cry in front of others and for the most part, they tend find satisfaction eating alone.
What you can do: This type of overeating can only be conquered if one talks to a health professional like a therapist, or find time for yoga or meditation to de-stress.

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