Does coffee trigger binge eating? Even though it’s considered an appetite suppressant, does it cause overeating in the grand scheme of things?
And does not allowing yourself to have coffee also trigger binge eating? After all, dietary restriction is one of the top psychological reasons for overeating.
And if you didn’t know that, you’re in the right place — because this is Psycho-Spiritual Wellness: a purely psychology-based method to stop binge eating.
Coffee can be quite the monkey wrench when it comes to binge eating. So let’s get some clarity on coffee and whether or not there’s a place for it on the path to stop overeating.
At the end of this post, there’s also a free ebook on eating psychology that you can download. If you want it now, click here to gain instant access to it!
The Coffee and Binge Eating Cycle
Coffee can be confusing because, at first, it seems like a good thing for general health and weight loss. After all, coffee has antioxidants and naturally suppresses your appetite.
While there are surprisingly few studies proving that coffee is an appetite suppressant, there’s no arguing with the phenomenon. We all feel it sometimes!
But what if you’re trying to follow an intuitive-based eating program (like Psycho-Spiritual Wellness) to stop binge eating? Coffee can make it difficult to listen to your body and, as a result, foil the attempt to stop binge eating.
Here’s how the vicious cycle goes:
Let’s say you skipped breakfast but finally have lunch around 12pm. With your lunch, you have a cup of coffee. If you don’t have a tolerance for coffee yet, it could help you steamroll through your day and suppress your appetite well into the evening — with or without you even realizing it.
Suddenly, you might find yourself going 8 full hours without eating. But now it’s 8pm and you’re hungry. And since you haven’t eaten since lunch, and you also skipped breakfast, it results in binge eating.
After all, who can eat a normal-sized meal after they haven’t eaten for 8 hours, and their total caloric intake for the day is barely enough to keep an infant alive?
Which brings me to my point:
If You Want Coffee, Think It Through
When you go long periods of time without eating, you need to eat. I am not a dietitian or a health expert, but this is common sense.
Even when you don’t feel hungry, you should still nourish your body in a reasonable way, which means eating enough food to sustain your daily activities (which is probably more food that you’ve been trained to think).
Don’t let the fear of gaining weight get in the way of making reasonable eating decisions. Otherwise, you’ll just perpetuate the restrict-binge-restrict-binge cycle.
If you go 6+ hours without eating, you should probably eat something. Your body needs nutrients and calories to function.
This advice goes against the Psycho-Spiritual Wellness Eating Guidelines. Specifically, coffee makes it hard to follow guideline #1: to eat exactly what appeals to you when you’re hungry.
With coffee, you can’t really feel your hunger. This is why I consider coffee a monkey wrench when it comes to overcoming binge eating.
Coffee forces you to use your intellect to inform when you eat, which obviously makes it extremely hard to listen to your intuition.
Coffee = Intellectual Eating
If you insist on drinking coffee, you need to make peace with the fact that you’re going to need to use your intellect to inform when you eat.
When you cannot feel your body’s hunger cues after drinking coffee, and you find yourself going for unreasonably long periods of time without eating, you need to eat.
Here’s what “eating intellectually” looks like for me:
I’ve found that when I drink coffee, and I find myself thinking, “Gee wow I haven’t eaten for 6 hours, but I’m not even hungry! This is crazy! Oh wait… that’s probably the coffee talking.” And that’s my intellectual sign to go eat a little something.
This advice can be unattractive for those seeking an intuitive-based eating program (like Psycho-Spiritual Wellness). And if you don’t like this, sadly the solution is to stop drinking coffee. I know it sucks, but it is what it is.
The Decision Is Yours
Don’t be too disappointed through. You always have free will, and you have two options really:
Option 1: Wean yourself off coffee, which would suck but it might be better than your second option, which is…
Option 2: Learn to listen to your mind to inform when to eat on days where you drink coffee. You’ll have to learn to translate the “gee wow I’m not hungry” into “okay, maybe I should eat.”
Again, this is really hard to do when you’re learning to stop dieting and eat intuitively, because the whole point is to listen to your body, not your brain. I really do recommend option 1.
Whatever you do, try to find balance. When in doubt, do the compassionate thing.
joe Dubiel says
I’m trying to stop sugar.
Kari Dahlgren says
I am a believer that not all sugar is bad. But if you’re feeling bogged down by unwanted sugar cravings, I do have an entire workbook designed to help with that.