Sensory overeating

So, I’ve been trying to figure out why I overeat. I’ve always said it’s not because I comfort eat, I can’t eat when I’m sad/upset, I only eat when I’m content/happy. I don’t eat to fill any hole inside, except when my stomach is empty. Actually, I struggle to eat when my stomach is empty as it literally hurts, when I’m super hungry I have to wait until the hunger pains have passed for the moment before I can eat, and drinking anything really, really hurts. If I don’t eat enough food before I go to bed then I have to miss breakfast because I will be too hungry to eat (strange but true).

I do sometimes overeat because I’m bored or because there happens to be food lying around, and I can’t just eat one and put the rest back. If I open a box of chocolates I usually eat the whole lot there and then. I also have an issue with not being able to eat food that’s been open for more than a day, usually because it tastes stale and gross. I also love trying new foods so when we get lots of shopping I want to try everything. Yes, I’m impulsive.

Then, there are times when I eat even though I am full, even though I don’t actually want any food going into my stomach and when I feel sick because I’ve eaten too much yet I can’t seem to stop eating. I’ve always said it’s because I like the taste. It’s taken me a while to fully figure this out (I can be slow sometimes).

Sensory overeating.

Having food in my mouth and chewing it or letting it melt is a sensory thing. I don’t care whether the food goes into my body or not, I just want that sensation of having it in my mouth. Especially crunchy or chocolaty food. I love food which can be eaten several ways, like Ferrero Rochers, you can bite into them whole or bite off each layer bit by bit, or let the chocolate melt then half the wafer and lick the caramel until only the nut is left. I can spend hours going through a bag of chocolates and savouring the taste of every bit.

I think this might be why some Autistic children overeat, they are craving the sensory input from food.

I’d like to lose weight, but I find it hard not to eat certain foods (chocolate) and I end up feeling like I need something in my mouth (I have tried a chewigem but it’s not the same). My mouth feels like something is missing and I end up being unable to concentrate on anything else. If only there were healthy chocolate that gave me the same sensory input without causing me to get fat. But at least now I (finally) know what the problem is. There might not be much I can do to stop it but at least now I have a response when people say I eat for comfort or need to just stop eating. It’s a sensory issue, it’s not that easy to control.

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One thought on “Sensory overeating

  1. I totally get it, and I’m not even Autistic. I literally can not continue with a certain task unless I am chewing something. It really helps my son obviously, he’s got PDA. I am finding out so much about my own needs and quirks because of him and others like you. Thank you.

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