Some All-Too-Common Excuses for Overeating

Some All-Too-Common Excuses for Overeating

If you’re trying to lose weight, you may be dieting, but hopefully you’re really working on making positive, permanent lifestyle changes.

Only lasting changes to your eating and exercise habits yield lasting results.

But either way, while you’re dieting or transitioning, you’re bound to suffer some periodic feelings of deprivation. These feelings, as well as emotional triggers, tempting food situations, and just good old-fashioned moments of weakness can prompt you to binge, or at least to eat more than you should (or something you shouldn’t).

Of course, the occasional treat or stumble isn’t a big deal.

In fact, we should all allow ourselves an indulgence every once in a while. But when it becomes frequent, it becomes a problem that undermines your efforts and your health. And very often, people fall back on some common excuses for overeating in an attempt to justify regularly making poor decisions. This could even be one of the reasons you’re not losing weight like you expect.

The most important thing is simply to realize what you’re doing. If you believe the excuses rather than recognize them for what they are, you’re working against your own weight loss success. So, below are some of the most common excuses for overeating. Look over the list and learn to spot them when they’re floating around in your head as you reach for that junk food or that extra serving you don’t need to feel satisfied and energized.

Ways People Justify Overeating

  • I can afford it because I worked out! People often think they can get away with eating more because they exercised. In reality, you just undo the calorie-burning benefits of the workout.
  • I deserve it because I worked out! Same as above. Yes, you should be proud of yourself. But no, you shouldn’t reward yourself in a counterproductive way.
  • I had a rough day! We all do. But this is a form of emotional eating, which is a problem many overweight and obese individuals struggle with. Don’t give in to it.
  • It’s the weekend! Weekends are great, and you should enjoy yourself. But they aren’t a reason to eat more than you need to, or to throw your healthy food choices out the window.
  • It’s a holiday! Big meals and desserts are part of some major holidays, and that’s OK. If you find yourself using this excuse all weekend or all week, though, that’s not OK. Or if you find yourself celebrating Arbor Day with a box of doughnuts, you need to reevaluate.
  • I’m on vacation! Again, special vacations can be a time to treat yourself. You can, however, make good decisions for most of the time. Also, just because you have a three-day weekend, that doesn’t mean you have a green light to turn off all the self-control.
  • I’ll start over tomorrow! This is an easy trap to fall into. Starting over is usually harder than staying disciplined, and too often, it never happens.
  • I’ve already blown it! This too is a dangerous mindset to get into. Having slipped is no reason to start doing more damage. Don’t beat yourself up when you slip up, but don’t go the other route either and just give up. Bounce back, don’t snowball.
  • It’s healthy! A trail mix of nuts and dried fruit is healthy, or dark chocolate may have antioxidants, but they’re also high in calories that add up just the same. Low-calorie snacks may have half the calories of another snack, but if you eat twice as much because of it… well, you do the math. Also, getting used to smart portion sizes and following your body’s hunger and fullness cues is crucial to successfully losing weight and keeping it off.
  • I can’t waste it! Nobody likes waste, but it’s no excuse to overeat. It’s rare that something can’t be saved, at least for a little while. Focus on better meal planning to avoid putting yourself in this position.
  • It’s free! Free stuff is great. But it’s not a reason to stuff yourself or binge on junk food. Because when you think like this, there is a cost—to your health.
  • Life’s short! Enjoy it! True, but life will probably be a lot shorter if you’re overweight or obese. Smart diet and exercise choices will have you healthier, more energized, and feeling better—meaning you’re better equipped to really enjoy life, and a longer one at that.

Originally posted on

Jason Littleton, MD

Jason Littleton, MD is a board-­certified family physician offering convenient concierge healthcare. He emphasizes personal attention, prevention, and smart lifestyle choices for optimal health, wellness, energy, youthfulness, longevity, balance, and happiness. He encourages patients to eat nutritiously and focus on fitness, providing clear, practical, personalized guidance for doing so in our busy lives.

Dr. Littleton earned his MD from Michigan State University College of Human Medicine and a BS in Biology from the University of Michigan. In 2010, he received National Doctor’s Day Recognition from the Practitioner Excellence Committee for “compassionate and excellent care” of patients at St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Rapids, MI. He also received the Resident Teacher Award as a family medicine resident. Today, Dr. Littleton serves patients in the Orlando area.

Additionally, Dr. Littleton is CEO of WellSpring Human Energetics, author of WellSpring: The Energy Secrets to Do the Good Life, an in-demand motivational health speaker, and frequent guest commentator on national television programs and in national print publications.

Learn more about Dr. Littleton at

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