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7 Most Common Reasons for Overeating

feeling hungry all the time

If you're always hungry it's best to figure out why in order to avoid overeating. When you consistently eat more food than your body needs to function you gain excess body fat, which snowballs into a whole host of problems.

Through studying human behaviors we now understand that sometimes you feel hungry because you're bored, stressed, depressed, thirsty etc. While it's tempting to give into those urges, doing so will cause you to pack on the pounds quickly. To arm yourself against the tyranny of overeating, take a look at the 7 most common reasons for it and ways to avoid it.

1. You're Thirsty

This is the number one most common reason for overeating, and you have your brain to blame. The same part of the brain that interprets your hunger sensations also interprets thirst. So naturally sometimes those sensations get confused. The older you get, the harder it is to interpret, because your thirst mechanism just weakens over time. Also, dehydration and hunger have nearly the same symptoms like feeling tired, dizzy and nauseous. If you're feeling hungry all the time, and you want to make sure thirst isn't the culprit, try drinking a glass of water before eating. I start every morning with a tall glass of water as I'm an intermittent fasting dieter and usually don't eat breakfast. After the glass of water, I have a better gauge of how hungry I really am. I also add electrolytes to my water throughout the day to help keep me hydrated.

2. You're Sleepy

When you're sleepy, your body suppresses the hormone that makes you feel full and satisfied. When that happens your hunger hormone is left to wreak havoc, and the next thing you know you're in the snack cabinet at 1:00am. If you think you're feeling hungry because you're sleep deprived, strive to get at least 8 hours of sleep every night and stick to a schedule. If that's easier said than done for you, try a no T.V. or phone policy for the bedroom. You can read before bed, or meditate. Try anything that's calming. If all else fails safe supplements like melatonin are a good bet to knock you out.

3. You're PMS-ing

It's bad enough that your body reminds you every month you're not pregnant with a week of cramps, bloating and fatigue. To take it one troll step further, it also makes you ravenous in the days leading up to your period. This is due to an increase in estrogen and progesterone in your body. Both hormones trigger your hunger sensations and it doesn't stop there.

Your body also burns slightly more calories before and during the beginning of your period. Don't get excited, it's not enough to slip a burger and fries into your diet plan unnoticed, but it's a solid extra 100-300 calories. If you think PMS is the cause of your excessive hunger the best thing you can do is continue your fitness regimen as is. I know, I know that doesn't sound very helpful. However, you just have to ride it out with drinking water, exercising, abstaining from alcohol, etc.

4. You're Stressed

I really cannot say enough awful things about stress. Initially, stress suppresses the appetite, then like the true champion it is, when it persists it makes you overeat. Stress triggers your hunger hormones and it changes your food preferences. When you're stressed and hungry your brain seeks out foods that trigger feelings of euphoria which are usually high carb and high sugar. You can avoid overeating due to stress by first understanding stress-related symptoms, then implement simple ways to reduce it like exercising and meditation. In the meantime, keep junk food out of your house to reduce temptation.

5. You Don't Eat Enough Protein

Carbs are not the enemy, but If you're a carb-o-holic this could be a huge reason why you're always feeling hungry and could certainly lead to overeating. Carbs are filling at first but digest quickly, which means your hunger sensations reappear more quickly. This is pretty simple to address, just eat more protein. You should be eating at least 1g of protein for every pound you weigh. Eating the appropriate amount of protein will not only help you feel full, but it will also help your grow muscle, and maintain it.

Eating enough protein is daunting at first because it's so filling and digests slowly. You're going to feel like you couldn't possibly eat more. That feeling will subside once your metabolism readjusts. In the meantime add protein shakes and bars to your diet to help you through the transition period.

6. You Don't Eat Enough Fat

I know what you're thinking "yes! I've been waiting for Ri to give me the 'okay' to scarf down a burger and fries!" Nice try, but I'm referring to healthy fats found in foods like avocado, dairy, nuts, and oils only. Fat makes you feel fuller because it provides your body with a whopping 9 calories per gram. That's over double what carbs or protein provide.

If you're an avid low-fat or fat-free food shopper this may be a part of the problem as well. Companies remove the fat from these foods and replace it with certain sugars that don't trigger fullness sensations. When you don't feel full, you'll keep eating until you do, which puts you at risk for overeating. To avoid overeating due to eating too little fat, first make sure you're eating the appropriate amounts of carbs, fats, and protein. Second, eat more healthy fats according to your carbs, fats, and protein goals. Lastly, unless it's a taste preference try to avoid purchasing low-fat and fat-free food options.

7. You Drink Alcohol

I'm not bashing drinking at all. Personally, I'm a fan of a libation or two. However, after a night of drinking, you typically feel extreme hunger. This is because your body interprets alcohol as a poison and goes into repair mode. Repair mode can result in vomiting, but most often the urge to eat loads of greasy food for the fat content. Remember, fat provides the body with 9 calories per gram and it needs that energy to fuel the repair process.

Drinking alcohol also leads to dehydration, which spurs feelings of hunger. It's sort of a double whammy. Take it easy on the drinks, try to limit it to just a few. Remember that your body is in a state of repair and that's why it's trying to get you to overeat on fatty foods. Instead, keep drinking water and do sweat-inducing activities.