Why we can't stop eating!
(And dieting isn't the answer)
You know that if you eat less, you’ll lose weight, right? But it’s not that simple...
I see a lot of clients for weight loss, many of them share the feeling of despair over their lack of ability to manage their weight.
Most have a long history of dieting & successful weight loss, followed by gaining more than they'd lost.
If you tend to resume your ‘normal’ eating habits after a diet, feeling that you’ve lost the weight and now deserve to ‘eat again’, the result is weight gain, followed by negative body image, and so the cycle continues...
Here are some of the contributing factors;
Modern life: In England, almost 65% of adults are now overweight or obese.
Technology (the car, central heating, electricity, TV, computers) as well as desk jobs, high-calorie food, and clever food marketing have all contributed to inactivity and overeating. We are victims of our own success!
"Obesity is a consequence of the abundance and convenience of modern life as well as the human body's propensity to store fat," says Susan Jebb, Professor of Diet and Population Health at University of Oxford.
The price wars between supermarkets, introduction of bargain shops and our ability to eat out or buy take away/fast food all encourages more and more consumption of rich,tasty, fattening foods.
If you compared a 1940’s dinner set to the size of our plates etc. now, they would look tiny. If you feel short changed when you're served a small portion nowadays, it's because eating 'big' has become the social norm and you've unwittingly trained yourself to eat more and more if you eat until you're completely stuffed! Your brain has forgotten how to sense 'satisfied' and only registers 'uncomfortably full'. You can change this with practise.
Genetics: In the past it was a good idea to overeat when we could - to store fat for times of need. Our brains would literally ‘light up’ with pleasure when we found a big source of energy like honey, fat or carbohydrates, we would gorge on them as a precious, rare resource. This is why we crave them. We are not designed to have access to all of this food!
In a very short space of time, we’ve come from naturally coping with a feast or famine lifestyle & being very physically active - to living in a world of convenience & technology where we drive to the supermarket & buy what our brains crave! We do much less physically than we are designed for, so we don’t burn off all the extra calories.
Emotional eating: We HAVE to eat to live - so we’re doing it every day anyway, which is why it’s so common to become addicted to over eating.
Sometimes we eat when we’re not even hungry, when we’re tired, stressed, anxious, sad, depressed, emotional, upset or even to celebrate. No wonder most people tell me they actually can’t remember what feeling hungry feels like! Often clients say they are so bloated after their evening meals that they’re uncomfortable, but they just can’t seem to stop eating.
Sending our brain ‘satisfaction feelings’ when we’re not in a great mindset makes us feel better, which is why we ‘comfort eat’. Unfortunately though, we often feel bad about it afterwards, which puts us in a negative mindset - and so the cycle continues. If you’re staring into the fridge aimlessly, you’re not hungry - you’re probably feeding a ‘feeling’. Differentiating between real and emotional hunger will help reduce this.
Unconscious Issues: From childhood lessons like ‘finish everything on your plate’ or never having enough food to go around, to always having dessert. Some things stay with us below the surface of our everyday thoughts. More complicated issues like rebelling against something, or not wanting to be slim because of a limiting belief can be lurking out of our awareness; “if I’m slim I’ll be a totally different person” or “I don’t want to be sexy”. It’s surprising sometimes for clients to realise they hold a belief that they’ve never noticed before.
Exploring your own psychology enables you to make changes more effectively and ditch those old habits for good. If you understand why you are doing something, or notice old patterns creeping in – you can do something about it when you’re armed with the right tools.
My focus is not on fast weight loss, but gradual, permanent change & increasing your positive mindset. I believe that you will get better results if you are being kind to yourself mentally.