April 15, 2019

Overeating: Why Procrastination May Be a Significant Factor

Written by Rachel Eddins

woman procrastinating work by overeating snacks


Don’t put off reading this post. Please. We all delay the actions and choices we face. But for some of us, procrastination is our default setting. Far more than feeling overwhelmed and choosing to put something off, procrastination is a maladaptive lifestyle choice. It is our way of avoiding something and has the potential to lead to other problems in our lives, including overeating.

Why Do We Procrastinate?

In some cases, procrastination can be traced back to childhood. Perhaps your parents were very demanding or even manipulative. The only form of control we could conjure up as a child was putting off our response to their demands. While it likely resulted in negative attention, we still may have unconsciously decided to maintain this style into adulthood.

Other causes of procrastination include:

  • Anxiety: Not surprisingly, anxiety is a primary factor in procrastination. It could, for example, be related to social fears or an inability to make decisions.
  • Lack of Structure: There are many reasons why we may lack structure in our lives. Without such a framework, tackling a to-do list can be a major challenge.
  • Thrill-Seeking: Let’s face it, some people like the rush of doing things last-minute. For them, there’s a euphoria involved with almost missing a deadline.

Can Procrastination Lead to Overeating?

The short answer is yes. A hallmark of procrastination is seeking out distractions. We know we’re avoiding a task so it helps to have an “excuse.” You know you’ll get to something after you finish doing this other thing.

A big problem occurs when that “other thing” is eating. Everyone has to eat so it’s a great alibi. Plus, food can be so comforting. Therefore, that impromptu meal is not only giving you permission to procrastinate but it’s soothing you in the process.

As procrastination becomes more and more pervasive and thus dysfunctional, eating as a distraction transitions into overeating — and a dangerous cycle is created.

Are you an intuitive eater? Take our quiz to find out which areas you may need to work on to become an intuitive eater.

4 Ways to Deal With Procrastination and Reduce Overeating

1. Get to the Root

As highlighted above, procrastination is a symptom. It grows from long-term causes or deep, underlying factors. As highlighted below, working with a therapist may be the ideal path towards realization. It’s not easy to expose your own patterns. A skilled counselor can be a wonderful guide is such situations.

2. Get Help From Friends and Family

The “buddy system” is almost always an ideal option. When a task looms and you feel yourself feeling uncomfortable it, get someone to help. A buddy can gently hold you accountable for your responsibilities. Knowing that someone is watching helps to shine a light on our own choices in a big way.

3. Identify Your Time Management Style

Not everyone is a list maker. Each of us needs to cultivate our own methods for getting stuff done. Sure, it helps to find a role model but in the end, your approach has to feel authentic to you.

4. Find New Distractions, Just in Case

The goal is not perfection. Ironically, perfectionism is a common cause of procrastination. Accept that there will be times when you put off your daily chores. For such times, prepare in advance as to what you may do to postpone a tedious task. First and foremost, do not let eating be an option. In fact, imagine how cool it’d be if you used something like push-ups or sit-ups as your delay tactic!

How Does a Procrastinator Get Started in Seeking Help?

Learn more about the connection between overeating and procrastination It may seem counterintuitive to tell a procrastinator to consult a therapist. After all, the answer might be something like, “Okay, tomorrow.” Here’s where it’s crucial to be self-loving. At Eddins Counseling Group, in Houston, TX,  we have experienced counselors that specialize in treating disordered eating habits, anxiety, and procrastination. Forgive yourself for past procrastination and reward yourself (not food-related) for performing each step, e.g. calling a therapist, setting up an appointment, and getting started. Call us at 832-559-2622 or book an appointment online.

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