Why do I want to eat all the time?!
Gurgle, rumble, and a craving … rinse and repeat x1000 …
This post dives into common reasons why you want to eat all the time. At the bottom of the post you’ll see a video of me casually talking about this phenomena in my kitchen.
The overall gist is simple. Usually you are missing two things. One thing is nutrition and the other thing is emotional.
The emotional part is harder, that’s what I help people with after they get their nutrition basics down, have more energy, and are feeling better overall.
First, the food you’re eating is not good “fuel” for your body so you always need to eat more of the same crappy food.
Second, food is temporarily filling an emotional hole that you must be honest about.
If you’re wondering “Why do I want to eat all the time?!” here’s why:
1 – Too Little Protein – protein fills you up and you’re not getting enough
2 – Too Little Fat – Fat isn’t bad. Think of an avocado. It fills you up.
3 – Not Enough Inner Peace – You have an inner critic criticizing you every time you eat
4 – Emotional Eating – Food helps distract you from something painful
Why do I want to eat all the time
Here’s the thing about fullness …
Fullness, you know… that nice feeling in your belly … where you aren’t going crazy for food, thinking about food, battling inner demon trains of food thought …
You only get happily full if you eat well.
On the other hand, if you eat tons of processed carbs like McDonalds or pastas, you will experience ‘unhappy’ fullness.
Unhappy fullness is of course the opposite of happy fullness.
“But isn’t fullness fullness?”
No. Not all fullness’s are created equal. There are different types of fullness.
And if you’re asking “Why do I want to eat all the time” then I know you are NOT experiencing the right type of fullness.
So let’s examine fullness. If we can understand the difference between good and bad fullness, we’ll be able to clarify our diet and stop desiring to eat all the time.
And again … I made a video at the bottom of the post which you can watch for more info.
What is Bad Fullness?
There’s a difference between a binge and bad fullness.
Obviously a binge is horrible. But a binge is bloatedness, it’s stuffedness. It’s a binge.
And it’s different than bad fullness.
Bad fullness is filling up on bagels.
Bad fullness is filling up on candy.
Hell, just the other day I experienced some bad fullness.
I went over to my friend’s house to play boardgames. I was bringing over the board game and people were waiting on me, so I decided to skip a meal. Then at my friends house they served pizza from Domino’s.
And domino’s pizza, not to offend anyone here, but domino’s pizza is cheap and dirty. Domino’s pizza has 3 ingredients – simple carbs, tomato sauce, and cheese.
So I was hungry, starving and I got filled up on Domino’s pizza.
And as you can imagine, I got ‘bad fullness’.
So by bad fullness I mean, I got full and didn’t feel well.
I didn’t feel content.
Bad fullness = equals physical fullness but not content
I wanted to keep eating, even though I wasn’t hungry.
The most common symptom of bad fullness is a desire to always keep eating… sound familiar?
If you’re wondering “Why do I want to eat all the time?” then bad fullness has something to do with it.
So if can relate to bad fullness, then the rest of these steps will make a heck of a lot more sense!
At the bottom of this post I made a video where I talk about these different ways to get good fullness so be sure to check that out too. There are resources out there if you struggle with food so keep learning!
Too Little Protein
Why is protein important? Protein keeps you full!
If you’re eating Domino’s pizza, guess how much protein that has?
Like Zero! Pizza, pasta, white bread, muffins, chips, these things don’t have protein!
Chips can make you ‘bad full’. Chips with salsa will definitely fill you up. But after you get full off chips you’ll want to keep eating more, and more. Ever wonder why restaurants serve chips before the main meal? You’re more desirous of food even though you just ate!
And here’s a hint too: make your protein visible and solid.
The other day someone sent me a picture of a whole mish-mash of food. The picture looked like they cut a burrito open and swirled the innards of the burrito in a bowl.
But where was the protein?! Sure, there were beans in the burrito. Sure, there was some specs of guacamole. Perhaps some sour cream.
But the protein was not easily visible. An easily visible piece of protein would have been a hunk of chicken breast. An easily visible piece of protein would have eggs.
Technically speaking eggs are a ‘good fat’ but more on that below.
Basically make your hand into a fist. I want you to get that much protein, per meal, and see it!
If you’re really wondering “Why do I want to eat all the time?” then try this. Make your protein visible. Make your hand into a fist. Get that much protein per meal.
You have to eat more than you think you do.
I gained 30-40 lbs while I worked as a personal trainer
I can speak from personal experience here. Back in the day I was binge eating a lot. I got anemia. I was hardly eating anything because I had all these restrictive rules. So I was very underweight.
Long story short, I healed my binge eating by living as a zen monk for 13 months. But I was still very underweight.
I applied to work as a personal trainer at a gym. The gym is a crazy place to work at because there are so many buff guys around. Some of them were on steroids.
But not all of the guys did steroids. Only a few did. In fact, most of the other personal trainers were very big guys. Not taller than me, but bigger, with muscle. And so I wanted to fit in, I wanted to be like these guys. I wanted to gain muscles.
And in order to gain muscles, I had to gain weight.
The first month I tried gaining weight I didn’t gain any weight. In fact, I lost weight.
But then something shifted. A personal trainer looked me in the eye and said, “You have to eat more than you think!”
And this advice changed my life, and it can change your life as well. Eat more than you think!
If you are wondering about why you’re always hungry, eat more protein than you think!!!
Eat more good fats
Now much of the same principles applies to eating more of good fats too.
Good fats are amazing because they keep you full!
These following foods are crucial if you want to stop feeling hungry all the time:
- Nuts (unsalted peanut butter)
- Olive oil
- Various meats (fish, chicken, beef)
Now if you notice many of these foods like chicken and yogurt were mentioned above in the section about proteins.
Many good fats have protein too! Take for example an avocado. An avocado has tons of good protein and good fat.
Again, follow a similar rule. Eat a lot of good protein and fat!
By a lot I mean make a fist. Get that much good protein and fat in your meal! This means 3 meals per day, get this much amount of protein.
Won’t this much protein/fat make me fat?
No. The reason is simple. A handful of chips or muffins is the same amount of calories approximately as a handful of avocados or any other source of good fat.
Yet chips lead to ‘bad fullness’ while avocados and other good fats lead to ‘good fullness’.
So meal 1 you sit down and have chips. Let’s say a fistful of chips is 400 calories. For meal 2 then you have a big avocado which is approximately the size of your fist and is around 400 calories. Calorie wise both meals are equal.
But then meal 1 you get hungry again a few hours later. Whereas for meal 2 you are still full and content.
So then for meal you are snacking again just a few hours later. More chips. More muffins. Again, more simple carbohydrates. And now you start to wonder “Why do I want to eat all the time?!”.
Let’s dive into the next reason which is about inner peace. You can also watch the video at the bottom of the post to hear me talking about this topic.
Not Enough Inner Peace
I am eating disorder therapist. I work with people to help them stop binge eating and stop emotional eating.
And many of the people I work with have been given tons of “how to” nutrition advice of their years.
- They’ve gone to dieticians.
- Nutritionists have been sought after.
- Personal trainers have been purchased.
- Doctors have been consulted.
- Weight loss clinics visited.
Yet their food struggles only get worse. And then they start to realize they have a real problem. Which is scary. Facing this truth is scary. This is the problem of inner peace. It’s tough. Communication is difficult.
People start to realize that how they eat food is how they live their life. So if they are at war with food, then you can bet that this person is at war with life.
Being at war with life sucks. Life is way more powerful than you. You always lose. So people start to try to change their relationship with food. And this is a beautiful process. It’s what I live for.
So, not enough inner peace with food. You know this deep down if this is you. Please know that the journey of healing is worth it.
Please realize that my binge eating has, over years, become my friend. Please realize that without my food struggles, I wouldn’t have gained the confidence and freedom I have now today.
This is the heart of struggling with food. Food is emotional.
You are bad if you eat a certain way, good if you eat another way.
This is a draining process. It’s a battle you cannot win.
Actually eating certain foods gives you an emotional reward.
Studies of binge eaters and bulimia has shown that binging and purging can become highly addictive behaviors. Why?
There is a release of tension. Temporarily, there is a lull. There is a temporary blankness. A temporary reprieve.
Food is a drug.
Now the good news is that you can beat this. Let me tell you a quick story.
We’ve all heard of the mice that get addicted to cocaine. If you haven’t, hears the story in a nutshell.
A mouse is locked in a dark cage and has the choice between food or cocaine. The rat gets addicted to cocaine and stops eating food. The rat dies.
Pretty bleak picture eh? You might read this and think you’re hopeless too. You’ll always be addicted to food, living an isolated secret life in a metaphorical dark cage.
But more recent studies have changed our understanding of addiction completely.
Instead of being kept in a dark cage, mice were given freedom to roam around. They were given lots of sunlight, opposite gender rats, toys, and just lived good little mice lives.
Not one of these rats became addicted to cocaine!
They preferred regular amounts of normal food.
What’s the take-away? By meeting your emotional needs, you can learn to be normal with food. As powerless food might make you feel, you can learn to meet your emotional needs and have a normal relationship with food. It’s tough, but well-worth it.