The 3 Worst Reasons to Eat and How to Avoid Them

With spring on its way, many people are planning on hitting up the locker room and jumping on the treadmill in hopes of getting back into shape and losing the weight they stocked up on this winter. As great of a goal that is, many people don’t even think about changing their dietary habits. Eating healthy is easier to accomplish after looking at common patterns and finding where the problem lies, and if you’re planning on shedding some pounds before summer gets here, you might want to look and see if you’re guilty of eating for any of these reasons.

Stress Overload

Those college days of cramming for finals the night before it was scheduled always made for stressful, exhausting study sessions, and the only solace you were able to find at a close reach was the result of a midnight trip to the nearest fast food drive-thru. As alone as you may feel using food as a crutch to deal with stress, you’re far from the only person affected. Many studies have come out trying to help explain what the relationship is with food and stress (it’s called comfort food for a reason). According to an article on, adrenal glands release a hormone called cortisol during periods of intense stress which causes the appetite to increase, and that’s one explanation as to why you might feel a sense of relief after consuming a large amount of heavy food during a frenetic time in your life.

homer eating donuts

Depression-Induced Binges

Romantic comedies and generic teen dramas often illustrate that the best way to deal with a bad breakup is to dive into a gallon of ice cream and eat your sorrows away. While that’s fictitious and intended to be humorous, there is a lot of truth to those images shown on screen as depression-induced binges can be just as common as those food rampages caused by stress. Sugar and carbs have been known to increase serotonin levels in the brain, the chemical that helps regulate and balance your mood, and eating large amounts can result in a temporary elevation in your current state of mind. It’s normal to get into an emotional slump every now and then, but eating to compensate for other areas of your life is never the healthy way to go.

A Snack to Pass the Time

Boredom is a fairly common reason for eating, and you may not even realize you’re doing it. To really get a good grasp on the subject, think about how many times you eat throughout the day without including meals; if you’re like most people, you probably eat sporadically at your desk at work, on your break, after work, and before bed. Human beings thrive on entertaining the senses, and eating is one of the quickest ways to satisfy one of them that you can fit in between tasks at work or at home. It’s commonly heard of as grazing, and it can make gaining weight very easy because you don’t feel as though you’re eating a lot. A snack here and there might not seem like much at the time, but you’d be amazed at how fast the calories add up.

Girl watching TV and eating chips

Helpful Tips to Avoid Overeating

Analyzing the reasons why your eating habits are poor might seem depressing, but before you slip into old habits and reach for a cupcake, turn the negative into a positive. Once you’ve realized why your eating habits are unsatisfactory, you can make strides to improve your relationship with food. Here are a few helpful tips to help you get started:

  • Before you bite into anything, really ask yourself whether you’re eating out of hunger or out of desire.
  • Schedule and plan out your meals, so you know exactly when and what you’re going to be eating.
  • Only buy healthy snacks such as dry cereal, nuts, carrots, celery sticks, and fruit. These will all help tide you over until your next meal without consuming a heavy amount of carbs, sugar, or fat.
  • Drink green tea to help suppress your appetite in a healthy, natural way.
  • Try yoga or meditation in order to deal with your emotions without the use of food.
  • Make a list of areas in your life you’re feeling stressed about, and brainstorm solutions to help organize those areas of your life more efficiently.
  • Take an iPod or a crossword puzzle to work, so you have something to occupy your breaks with.

Eating is a necessary part of life, and just because you might have a few unhealthy eating habits doesn’t mean food shouldn’t still be enjoyed. The trick is to examine your eating habits, make improvements where necessary, and start your journey to becoming the healthiest version of yourself. Realizing there are changes to be made is half the battle, and the other half is getting enough motivation and momentum to actually act on the changes you want to pursue. After that, it’s all uphill.

James Anderson

James Anderson is a life long sports fan and outdoor lover. He spends the warmer months in the great wild, camping, running, and writing. He currently writes about fitness, sports, and secure storage for

2 thoughts on “The 3 Worst Reasons to Eat and How to Avoid Them

  • May 1, 2013 at 10:00 am

    Thanks for your tips. Recently I’ve given up processes foods such as pasta and bread. I stopped drinking sweet drinks and now only drink water and green tea. I’m snacking on nuts and raw fruits & vegetables. I’ve lost 20 lbs and feel great.

  • April 30, 2013 at 11:02 pm

    James.thank you for your enlightening article.
    Only buying healthy snacks, like you recommended made a big difference for me – No matter where I go, I always bring along healthy snacks. As soon as I crave for sweet snacks, I eat a carrot, some almonds,…and because I’m a sweet tooth I started a 3 week sugar clearance (from Tim’s blog on: Now on week 2 it’s getting easier to avoid sugar and being proud of eating healthy becomes addictive :)
    Thanks again,


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *