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Over 90 percent people experience a rush of appetite that has nothing to do with a real need to eat. So why do we eat when we are not hungry? Because we like it, because for most of us, food is pleasant and easily available, therefore it becomes an easy temptation to satisfy our various needs, including emotional ones. How to deal with overeating?

Food is used to reduce emotional tension, distract attention, it becomes a panacea for all ailments, for sadness, anger, emptiness. We confuse hunger with a sense of danger, anxiety, tension and fatigue. We still eat, snack, bite … Carmines of ourselves or others to get something for ourselves. As a result, we are full, but still hungry, mainly for love, acceptance and attention. Over 90 percent people experience a rush of appetite that has nothing to do with a real need to eat. It should be remembered that surrogate ways of satisfying needs are never fully satisfying and therefore often turn into obsessions or addictions.

Food is measured by serving size, not calories

Our clothes can tell us that we eat too much, but how do we tell at lunch? When we are binge-eating, we usually look at the amount of food, or volume. We try to eat the same amounts of food we see as we always do. It is difficult to count the calories in a meal, and it is easy to judge the serving size. We know that we will fill ourselves up when we eat a whole plate of dinner, and that we will not fill ourselves up when we eat half a plate. In other words, volume beats calories.

The size of the package determines the appetite

The size of packages, sets and plates also has an impact on overeating. Large packages and large portions suggest a certain standard of consumption. We all use more content from large packages, regardless of the type of product. If we give people a large bag of dog food, they will put more on the dog, if a large box of washing powder they use more. It is the same with food - our consumption standards are rising because packaging is increasing. From 1970 to 2000, the number of large packages increased fivefold. In the 1960s, a portion of French fries had about 260 kcal, and now over 610 kcal. As the size of our dishes increases, so does the applied portions. Large and large dishesspoons is a big problem. We put more on because normal portions feel tiny on them.

Research shows that we eat about 20 percent. more, without knowing it at all. Therefore, we are looking for signs and signals of how much to eat. One of them is the package size. We overeat because we receive signals and clues from the environment that tell us to eat. It is not human nature to wonder at every bite whether we are full or not. When we eat unconsciously, and most of us eat like that, we look for clues that tell us that we have had enough, e.g. if all the plates have already been empty or the last person has left the table.

The cause of overeating may lie in childhood

It also turns out that what we heard about it in childhood has an impact on the role of food in our lives. We may have been subject to some food manipulation, often unconsciously of course. How and how much we eat remains to some extent a pattern written in our subconscious, fixed at the family table. Our mothers, grandmothers, often unconsciously used such messages that were aimed at us eating everything that was on the plate. Who among us has not heard - "Eat until the end, the food is not thrown away, the plate should be empty!" or "You won't eat it all - you won't go out to play with your friends"? Unfortunately, such messages are a kind of manipulation that often makes our relationship with food in adulthood difficult and leads to irrational eating.

Why do we console ourselves with our food?

Source:ń dobry TVN

Rewarding and comforting with food - a dangerous habit

When in childhood, we were rewarded for our successes mainly with food, in adulthood, when we achieve success, get promoted, we make the right decision, e.g. instead of being proud of ourselves, we most often reward ourselves with sweets, snacks, dinner. It is a custom quite deeply entrenched in our society - various occasions are celebrated with meals. Of course, there is nothing wrong with that, as long as it is not the only or the main way of rewarding yourself.

The encoded message "Please clean your plate completely" often results in losing contact with our real needs related to the center of satiety and hunger, we do not know when to stop, we follow external signals, i.e. what is on the plate , we have no conscience to leave or throw away food. Then we usually treat our stomach like a garbage can, doing ourselves a disservice. Eating for consolation becomes an antidote to unpleasant feelings, situations when parents in childhoodthey did not deal with the emotions and real problems of the child, but overfed them or gave them something tasty to improve their mood. Probably because they had a hard time dealing with their own emotions, they were unable to give the child an emotionally stable environment.

In adulthood, when we experience difficulties, the boss will upset us, we will argue with our husband, the best relief for troubled nerves is eating. This is one of the most common ways to relax. Then, when we eat too much, we most often feel heavy, the stomach is stretched (as opposed to a cramped stomach), and we experience a pleasant sleepiness. It would seem to be the perfect remedy for stress. Unfortunately, it ceases to be so perfect when unnecessary kilograms appear. Eating for boredom makes us willingly go to the kitchen on a gray winter day to cook (find) something that could be a cure for boredom, a distraction from boring work and boring household chores.

What to do to avoid overeating?

At the beginning, it is worth taking a closer look at my beliefs about food, recognizing the messages that accompany me in my mind. Think about how I can reward myself differently for my successes, what other pleasures in life can make me feel better. The solution is mainly to change your bad eating habits.

The whole process of a habit is a three-step loop, which consists of: clue or trigger, habit or habit, and reward, e.g. boredom may be a clue, so chocolate becomes a habit, and the reward is arousal / pleasure. What you can change is just a habit, which is to find something to replace your routine activity, such as eating chocolate when bored. What could it be? Go for a walk or go to the movies. Turn on your favorite music or movie. Call a loved one. Look for other pleasures that will make you stop bored - reward yourself in a different way than just with what you like to eat. Remember - it is important that your other routine activities give you a reward commensurate with eating chocolate.

If you gain control of the habit loop, you can force these unfavorable tendencies to retreat. To get started, choose one habit that you want to work with. Until the action is automated. Then you can continue to work with other habits. Too many changes have a demotivating effect. The small steps method is the most effective.

Pattern for changing a habit:trigger(e.g. boredom) →habit(e.g. eating chocolate) →reward(wake up).

Use the same trigger, deliver the same reward,change HABIT.

This will be useful to you

7 tips for binge eating

  • Listen to the signals flowing from your body.
  • Eat carefully and consciously.
  • Remember that the stomach has three settings: hunger; I am full, but I can do more; I was overeating. The most important thing for you is the second (I have had my fill, but I can do more) - this is the moment when you should put your plate down.
  • Realize that eating will not solve your emotional problems, you will have more in the form of extra pounds.
  • Eat in small plates, the same portion will appear larger and you will eat less (the brain is subjected to what is known as an optical illusion).
  • Never go shopping hungry, only buy the necessary things that you have planned in advance.
  • Discover and change your bad habit.
Worth knowing

About the author

Elżbieta Lange - psychodietician, he alth coach. He deals with the psychology of weight loss. It helps overweight and obese people regain control over their food. He conducts "Conscious slimming" workshops - more at

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