42 Reasons You Overeat

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If you’ve ever reflected on your day and wondered how you overeat, over and over, this list of reasons might give you some insight.

The amount of food eaten to be considered “overeating” is different for every one. You can overeat anytime that you consume more food that your body needs to thrive.

I began a series on Instagram that explored some subtle ways we overeat, such as a :

The calories in a little extra peanut butter...

peanut butter serving size calorie compare

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The portion size difference of extra granola….

portion size comparisons

Or even the calories of just 3 chocolate covered cinnamon bears!

calorie comparisons strawberries and chocolate covered cinnamon bears.

Sometimes, we don’t even realize we are overeating, but sometimes the evidence of overeating is physically painful!

So, why do we overeat? What is happening that ignores all the signals in our body to stop listening, and keep stuffing our faces? A quick brainstorm from my own life uncovered 42 of MY reasons, and I’m sure if I kept at it, I could come up with 42 more! I’d love to hear yours as well if these spark any of your own reasons in your mind that you overeat.

Common reasons for overeating

  1. Digital distractions while eating (like scrolling Instagram while eating breakfast).
  2. Too many food choices, like at a buffet. (see my Marie Kondo your Diet Article).
  3. Boredom, and eating is a cheap activity.
  4. Working on a difficult project. Using food to procrastinate.
  5. Eating at a computer.
  6. Eating in front of the TV
  7. Eating in the car on a road trip.
  8. Not being aware how many calories are in a food, and eating several handfuls (like the chocolate covered gummy bears above, but also graham crackers!)
  9. Not using Portion Control Plates (these really do keep you mindful of the amount you should be eating.
  10. Socializing with people who are grazing, or eating a lot of food.
  11. Holidays.
  12. Having a treat that you think you’ll never be able to eat again the rest of your life. (dramatic I know).
  13. The day before a new diet. (gotta get it all in because you’ll never enjoy food again the rest of your life… also dramatic)
  14. Eating at a restaurant.
  15. When you’re angry at someone. I know I’m eating out of anger, yet I do it anyway.
  16. Eating out of a box or bag. (not being mindful of the amount of food.)
  17. Snacking or grazing.
  18. Because “I deserve it”.
  19. To celebrate.
  20. To reward yourself for a job well done.
  21. Because life isn’t fair so you should have one thing that makes you feel good.
Trail mix is another food that people often overeat

Reasons for overeating continued

  1. The “what the hell” effect. You already ate too much earlier today, why stop now?
  2. The food is highly palatable. It just seriously tastes good!
  3. A candy bowl to walk by over and over.
  4. Being within arms reach to food.
  5. Looking at food pictures on pinterest and suddenly the cravings are out of control.
  6. It’s a habit.
  7. Comfort in times of loneliness
  8. Escaping the stress of the day.
  9. Sticking to a health plan is boring.
  10. Feeling socially awkward and using food as a buffer.
  11. Inability to say no when someone made something from scratch.
  12. Wanting to fit in and not be the “weird healthy girl”
  13. Fatigue, tired (the mid-day slump).
  14. Eating quickly and not checking if you’re full.
  15. Discount valentines candy at the store (Or Halloween, or Easter, or Christmas…)
  16. Having trigger food too easily accessible.
  17. Having PMS
  18. Feeling restricted for too long in your diet.
  19. Watching other people eat.
  20. Going to the movies and buying the popcorn.
  21. Not paying attention to portion sizes.

While there are may reasons you or I may overeat, the best strategy is to create an environment that supports portion control and better ways to handle emotions.

I’d love to hear some of the reasons you overeat, and if any of the ones on this list resonated with you.


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