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Eating just for the sake of eating & the psychological hunger

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  • Eating just for the sake of eating & the psychological hunger

    Does anyone suffer from uncontrollably eating, even when you're clearly full and don't want more food? I'm a college student on a mandatory meal plan, and usually my meals are some variation of the following:

    Breakfast: 3 HB eggs, some sausage/gluten-free meat, sometimes a bowl of sliced fruit and/or banana/apple; black coffee
    Lunch: 3-4 thin hamburger patties and chicken breast (littered with PUFAs and doused in canola oil), salad, sometimes fruit
    Dinner: same as lunch, some diced sweet potato/grilled veggie entree if it's available, sometimes scoop of ice cream and fruit

    For the past few nights, I've come back after dinner and microwaved like 3 medium- to large-sized sweet potatoes, smothered them with butter, and ate them on top of my meals!

    I've noticed I tend to do this when I've stressed (even when I don't realize it externally) or procrastinating. I try to distract myself, but sometimes I think that I simply can't keep food in my fridge anymore, even if it's "healthy" like sweet potatoes -- I just eat it all!

    Is this due to lack of self-control? Am I not absorbing enough nutrients from the cafeteria food and therefore feeling like I need to stuff myself with additional (unnecessary) calories to compensate? I'd like to lose about 20-30 lbs.

    Thanks much for the advice!

  • #2
    Overeating is common when stressed out. Chewing your food slower and drinking water in between bites may help prevent overeating. Eating dense food also helps.
    Last edited by Paleo0731; 10-18-2013, 08:39 PM.


    • #3
      It may resolve on its own. It's common when eating this way for people to go through cycles with appetite - eating a lot for a few weeks and then dropping down for a bit.

      But if you are truly not hungry and eating to distract/procrastinate/comfort yourself, you may need to work on substitute activities. When that urge to get up and get food strikes, try making tea or going for a walk or some other activity until the urge passes.
      Using low lectin/nightshade free primal to control autoimmune arthritis. (And lost 50 lbs along the way )


      • #4
        Stress gives me the munchies without fail. Usually I give in, unless it's late in the evening. I aim not to eat after 7PM.

        Stress signals the body to raise blood sugar, and so you get food craving.

        It is different from tummy rumbling hunger.

        Perhaps there are other things you can do to manage or reduce the stress when you recognise it happening.


        • #5
          Eating hits a pleasure signal in the brain. A cycle of overeating is like a cycle of over drinking alcohol, over use of a drug, etc. It's a behavior that you have to consciously unlearn and it can be very tough to do so. How to do that is up to the individual and using times when you've broken other bad habits is a way to see what works for you.

          One problem with taming food as a pleasure is that unlike drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, etc., you can't just remove food from your life and move on. I have a mini theory that part of the reason we've all gotten so into food is that we've become so puritanical about other vices.

          A place to start might be with a mantra or question. Example: Grab a cookie and before you eat it, ask yourself if eating a cookie feels better than getting a wolf whistle when you walk by a construction site. Better than a pair of size 4 jeans? I think there's a disconnect in some of us when we overeat. We "forget" the ramifications until we're done. Try learning to think of the consequences of what you're doing before you do it.

          Good luck to you.
          "Right is right, even if no one is doing it; wrong is wrong, even if everyone is doing it." - St. Augustine


          Who says back fat is a bad thing? Maybe on a hairy guy at the beach, but not on a crab.


          • #6
            I was only able to stop overeating when I began eating liver. Apparently I was deficient in B vitamins or something. But the monster I had my whole life finally died when I began eating liver. A lot at first, like two pounds a week. Now it's maybe a pound a week.
            Crohn's, doing SCD


            • #7
              Originally posted by fcby9 View Post

              littered with PUFAs and doused in canola oil
              I think the crux of your problem lies squarely in the industrial seed oils used in the cafeteria food- even on the healthy looking "primal" options like chicken and grilled vegetables, and of course the salad dressings.

              Avoiding PUFA in the cafeteria should be your number 1 goal, IMO, over and above avoiding grains or sugar (unless of course you have a verifiable sensitivity to either).

              That cafeteria is a minefield. You've got to learn how to navigate it for optimum nutrition with the least amount of toxicity possible. While the primal approach is very healthy- it only works when people can make sure those bad fats are not sneaking into their food, i.e. they cook at home. Eating meat and veggies cooked in canola (or worse) is the antithesis of healthy. If rather eat a plate of plain pasta than canola oil*

              *for the sake of not being a hypocrite, I do get dosed with canola when eating out and I can feel it, ugh, still working on this one myself.


              • #8
                It could be to do with a nutritional deficiency but it could also be learned behaviour from childhood. If you were fed or offered food when you were stressed or upset, you might be subconsciously trying to recreated feelings of security by eating a lot now.
                In the past year I have discovered that I am gluten, grain, dairy and legume intolerant.

                I am trying to make sense of it all through my blog:


                • #9
                  I have this relationship with food. It's like a drug. Fasting has worked for me. I find that I can usually go until lunchtime without eating and fasting makes me less hungry not more. If I eat when I'm not that hungry I become even more hungry.

                  You could try the "fast diet" or just do fasting as it suits you. Weirdly my numbers on the scales have hardly changed but I've DEFO lost weight around the waist/middle and have dropped a dress size.


                  • #10
                    Sweet potatoes and (salted?) butter is an incredibly stress suppressing combination. I don't know if you conscientiously chose that combo for that reason or if it's just what you craved, but that's really interesting.

                    I really don't believe it's due to lack of self-control. You're probably either still hungry or craving food to suppress your bodies stress hormones. Stress can play a huge role in your body's desire to eat.
                    Salube Up! - SalubriousU


                    • #11
                      Can you double up on the breakfast and shrink the other meals? I agree the oils sound dire.