Americans spend about 33 billion dollars annually to lose weight. 20 million American women are struggling with eating disorders. 25% of men and 50% of women are constantly following a restrictive diet, and 9 out of 10 Americans gain all the weight back after they stop their strict eating plan.
Restrictive diets will never have a long term effect. But why is this happening? Well, because sooner or later the yo-yo phenomenon will claim its seat. And because food and weight are the symptoms, not the problems. Focusing on the weight itself doesn’t do more than offering a convenient, reinforced culture distraction from the real reasons why so many people eat when they’re not actually hungry.
These reasons are often more complex and way deeper than the individual’s will, than focusing on counting calories and exercising. They’re dealing with abandonment, lack of trust, lack of love, sexual abuse, physical abuse or unexpressed anger. But leaving aside the versatile psychology, along with all of the factors mentioned above – which do you think is the primary reason why people opt for binge eating?
Did you guess? It's all about eating automatically or emotional eating. The eating is induced by and correlated with a specific activity (such as watching a movie, a long drive, reading) – and not hunger. Eating anywhere besides the kitchen or the dining room is NOT indicated. Otherwise, the psychological anchoring inevitably occurs - meaning that you will associate watching a movie or staying in traffic with eating.
The concept of emotional eating is derived from the psychosomatic theory. This theory attests that emotional eaters are unable to differentiate hunger from physiological state accompanied by negative emotions.
Wanna expose the recipe that leads us to developing these really bad habits? Imagine the following situation: you eat popcorn at the cinema; you eat while watching television at home; you eat while you work or perform any other activity. Congratulations, you have the best prescription to develop a bad habit; this psychological anchor will trigger you every time the movie starts. And it will disturb the satiety centre, as well. Therefore, these habits were linked with weight gain.
Because accountability was paused and the autopilot was activated you become a kind of robot in that moment. Eating becomes mechanical. You are no longer attentive to the quality of the food and to the amount of food that you ingest. Binging can be connected to a movie or a television series, and may cause the habit of eating even when not hungry.
Recommendations? Be aware and present. Try not to do anything else while eating. Thus, the conscience of what you eat and how much you eat will increase. Eat slowly. Chew well. Savour each bite. Eating is a metaphor for how we live, don’t let it fade away.