You know that feeling after you have eaten so much you have to unbutton your pants and you get sleepy and uncomfortable?  It is the feeling often referred to post Thanksgiving dinner as “food coma.”  When we stuff ourselves, many times we experience bloating and gas, pain, heartburn and indigestion. Overeat enough and you may gain weight, develop bad skin, high blood sugar, high cholesterol, irritability, exhaustion and even bad breath. 

Here are my top 5 reasons for overeating and how to tackle them:

Celebrating

You are celebrating and what better way than with drinks and desserts. During the holidays there might be weekly events like this, but you should not skip the parties to avoid overindulging. Instead, be more aware of your choices. Drink one glass of water per hour. Have a vodka seltzer or champagne spritzer in place of a sugary cocktail. Choose the veggie platter over the fried appetizers and the proteins over the pasta.  

Boredom

Sitting in front of the television tends to trigger mindless snacking. Being at a job that is unfulfilling can lead to picking on treats to pass time.  Boredom is a common cause of overeating; just think about how many times you open and close the refrigerator at home when bored. Try keeping healthier snacks handy like nuts and fruits. Chew gum. Read, knit, draw, exercise, or anything else that may distract you from diving into the Doritos. 

Rewarding yourself

When training a dog, trainers mostly use treats and snacks. You are not a dog. Do not frequently reward yourself with food. Yes, you deserve to be rewarded for reaching your goals, I am a big advocate of celebrating victories big and small. Just not with food. Treat yourself to a massage, a new accessory, or that pair of sneakers you have been eyeing. 

Sluggishness

A mocha latte around 3 p.m. with a muffin will absolutely, yet temporarily, give you the boost you need.  But why are you crashing at 3 p.m.?  What is your body trying to tell you? Are you eating a big breakfast, healthy snack and a good lunch? Are you hydrated? Get to the root of the problem so you don’t have to depend on that carb and sugar snack.

Stress

This is the worst culprit of all. We all encounter stressful situations and there are many people who stress eat.  Binge eating is common when under stress. Emotional eating can turn into an eating disorder if not addressed. Finding ways to eliminate stressors, as well as learning coping skills like meditation and yoga, can be helpful. If you find yourself emotional eating often and cannot get it under control, I suggest reaching out for professional help.