Do you have a hard time stopping after the pieces of chocolate you’ve pre-determined?
You pour tea or hot chocolate, open a packet of biscuits and say, “I’ll eat one or two, the others will save them for another time!” … but you can’t stop…
Is that the same with the other food?
Do you complain after that you didn’t stop on time?
Are you accusing yourself of something wrong with you?
And you shouldn’t. It is quite normal, logical and predictable that you cannot say “no” to certain products. This applies to all people. We’re losing control, we want more and more.
When was the last time you heard the words: “Oh, I told them the game of broccoli. I just couldn’t stop! I even continued with cauliflower and Brussels sprouts.”
Do you often overeat with buckwheat, celery stalks or salmon?
Sure, no. Apparently, there is a connection between the products and overeating with them.
Subject to overeating in 90% of cases are processed foods. Such are all packaged snacks and “activities”: biscuits, chips, candy, chocolates, corn sticks or the like.
They differ significantly in taste, smell, texture, appearance and shelf life from their original state. All these changes are aimed at one thing: to use the maximum number of pleasure centers in the body: in the mouth, brain, stomach. They give us desire, influence our consciousness and subconscious, and give us instant pleasure at a relatively lower cost (the latter is not always the case!).
With the creation of such products, so delicious that it is impossible to resist them, a whole industry and extremely capable specialists in different fields – marketing, psychology and manipulation, physiology, medicine are engaged.
So, if you get to eat a whole packet of cookies or a huge packet of crisps, relax – you’re not damaged. Your body and brain react exactly as they’re supposed to.
The food industry using a variety of supplements and the most complex marketing tricks makes the product “easy” to eat… and overeating, respectively. And increasingly, we have no idea how much we are at this risk.
Why do we eat more than we need?
Here are just six reasons (not a complete list):
- We are convinced of the usefulness of refined (processed, processed) products.
Marketers working for the food industry are on the lookout. And they’re extremely capable of what they do. Processed products are sold in colored packaging. To attract our attention, cartoon characters, celebrity calls, words and photos are used to induce positive associations, promotions, rewards and everything they have managed to invent to manipulate us. It’s a matter of morality and they don’t feel guilty – that’s their job.
On the packaging of cereals, you can see the words “healthy”, “natural”; on bread – “multigrain”, “with flax seeds”; on a bag of sauce – “with olive oil”, “with natural spinach”, etc.
Not to mention that we may also see “no fat” or “no cholesterol” on the water – things that obviously can’t have, but the goal of specialists is to emphasize “modern words”.
Although in the nutritional value of such products there is a lot to be desired, the use of popular fashion words and fashion ingredients helps to influence the consumer. They convince us that it is “good for us” by putting these products in the basket, and later in the mouth, that we make “wise” and “healthy” decisions and that we take care of ourselves.
Moreover, if the product is “healthy” and “we deserve it”, why not eat a lot?
- Big packages make us think we’ve made a good deal.
We bought more for less money. Sounds tempting, doesn’t it?
Between a small cake of quality ingredients for 30 BGN. and a huge cake with trans fats and a picture of a favorite movie character on it, for the same money – the big beautiful cake is probably the best choice? And can we deny the child that joy?
Trans fats and other nuisances may be affecting him in years to come… and we’re not even alive. They will have already fed their children (our grandchildren) the same way.
We don’t take into account what might be called a “health tax” or a “health mortgage” – the price we’ll pay later. And which is much bigger than we expected. If we regularly consume highly processed foods high in calories and low in nutrients, we will end up paying with our health.
Do we want to slowly destroy our children and grandchildren?
- Diversity provokes appetite.
We’re unlikely to eat 10 tons of apples. Even if we defer them in time, even if they’re our favorite, we’ll get bored.
But let’s imagine that we are facing the so-called “block-buffet”, laden with all sorts of sorts – we want to try this and this, and this… we can’t stop. The more things there are on it, the more we are tempted to try everything. And we do it until we can take over any more, even though we haven’t eaten everything on our stacked plate.
The greater the variety, the greater our appetite.
That’s not our fault either, it’s instinct.
He distracts us from the signals of our own body.
Do we have a plan, what and how much we need for this meal, for the day, for the week, for the month? What about a shopping list?
Let’s just reduce diversity and it will be easier for us to make informed decisions that are not influenced by our instincts. As a result, we will eat less.
- The combination of several tastes is very difficult to resist
Usually these are sweet, salty and greasy (or two of the three). The divine sweetness, spicy salty and oily texture are the most insidious “friends”.
It is rare for someone to eat sugar or salt with a spoon or drink oil from the bottle. But when this trinity unites, it’s impossible to resist it.
Examples a lot. Salt and fat coexist perfectly in chips and French fries. Sugar and fat are the basis of every roast, in ice cream and other confectionery, in everyone’s favorite chocolate. But the most dangerous is the combination of sweet, fat and salty, as in brownies with salted caramel, French fries with ketchup (as far as this “chemistry” can be called ketchup) or various chocolate desserts, or candy.
- Food pleases us.
In principle, food is necessary for organisms, including humans, to survive. The body and brain effectively perform their functions thanks to food. Eating food rich in nutrients is a very sensible solution.
But at the same time, food is more than fuel. Food is a pleasure. When we enjoy the taste, aroma and texture of food, the brain receives certain signals, remembers them and urges repetition. The ability to enjoy food keeps the person from disappearing. If they did not enjoy food, our ancestors would not have embarked on a dangerous mammoth hunt and tucked into prickly, even poisonous shrubs, to look for useful delicious fruits and plants.
This feature of the brain, which we inherited from our ancestors, no longer meets the conditions of abundance that civilization has built itself. Therefore, let us not allow food to become the only source of pleasure.
- Food and social communication
It is not easy to give up pizza with friends or the family feast with grandmother’s magnificent softies. Food makes communication more complete, and time spent with loved ones more joyfully.
How to stop overeating
What helps us when we already know why we lose control of ourselves and continue to eat even when we are not hungry?
Here are six strategies to combat these phenomena and instincts.
- To trigger thinking and turn on our attention
Processed food is easy to eat: less chew, breaks down faster and takes up less space in the stomach. Such food we can eat in much larger quantities in a shorter period of time.
Do an easy experiment. Detect how long you eat an entire product – apple, steak, orange, pineapple or whatever. Then detect for how long you will have a piece of cake or cake.
It takes 20 minutes for the signal of satiety to reach the brain. Just think about how much food you can take during this time, especially processed!
Include the most complete foods in your diet and minimize or remove highly processed foods.
- Let’s not forget that, however much we are not recognized, we easily succumb to manipulation (and that traders in no way care about our health, but how much and for how long they will earn more).
Even if we are sure that the photo of a happy family from an advertisement of mayonnaise or margarine will not convince us to make a purchase, marketers will find other ways to influence our decision to do it anyway.
Shelves of processed products are usually the first thing we see the store. Marketers lately have been trying to “smear” this, starting with fruits and vegetables, but so much so. In large chains, everything is considered to the smallest detail: in which place, in which row, at what height is the product. Even what a scent is spreading around it. They use everything legitimate to make us buy, buy, buy. Without the slightest interest in whether they will have a negative impact on our health.
It’s not hard to think about marketing tricks before buying and going with a ready-made list in the store- this will allow us to make better choices and not buy unnecessary things.
- Let’s put order in our kitchen cupboards and refrigerator
Let’s do an impromptu “revision” of our kitchen cabinets and fridge. Are there unwanted or pseudo-healthy foods in them? if there are, why did we buy them? or because we liked the packaging? Or is there a “fashion” ingredient in the contents? Or because the words “organic”, “gluten-free”, “sugar-free”, “no cholesterol”, “fat-free” on the label impressed us? How many varieties of such products have you found? Let’s do an analysis for ourselves and try not to make such mistakes in the future.
It is perfectly logical to buy and store at home only products that we would like to see on our table. If we have junk in the cupboards and refrigerator, surely the time will come to reach for them, because they are easily accessible to us.
- Let’s look for a connection with our emotional state.
Excessive eating is a sure sign of emotional discomfort. We eat more when we’re sad, bored, when we’re stressed, depressed or just tired. Food gives us temporary relief. If we resort to this “drug” in any such situation, we form a habit.
Habits have tremendous power over us. They can have both positive and negative effects on us. Luckily, we can control that. If we understand it and establish how this habit formed.
It’s not complicated. We recognize the factors that push us to overeat. We don’t have to look for them – they are usually obvious. We find other solutions and appropriate behaviors that contribute to our health and well-being. This can be a walk-in nature, a meeting or even a chat with our loved ones, hobbies, meditation or yoga.
If we’re happy, we’re unlikely to resort to food as a medicine- to make us feel better.
- Our health and happiness are determined by our way of life and does not depend only on food.
Now everyone knows that a healthy life is not just about food.
Let us pay attention to our mental attitudes, our physical activity, our relationships with others, the working and life environment.
- Let Us Love Ourselves
It’s not selfish, it’s not bad quality.
This is actually an indirect concern for our closest people.
If we enjoy perfect health and age beautifully, we would not be a burden on their loved ones, but only an occasion for their pride.
Our generation experienced the burden of caring for their parents and understood these words beautifully. But we do not need to test them on ourselves to understand them and take timely measures.
Share in a comment your reasons and your ways to stop overeating – let others see that they are not alone in this struggle and exchange our experiences.