You might not notice it until the next time you step up to the weighing scale: you’ve gained a few excess pounds. You don’t understand why but your belt seems tighter, your clothes seem smaller and you can actually grip your love handles. No matter how often you exercise, you can’t meet your weight loss targets. If you feel that this may be happening to you, take a step back and assess how often you eat in a day and why you continue to do so.
If you have a tendency to associate food with every activity in your life, you may be overeating. You can’t rest without a bag of chips by your side, you go over three rounds at the company buffet and you never say no when relatives ask if they can send you food or sweets.
Once you can admit to yourself that you have an overeating problem you can begin to examine your eating patterns and how much you eat in a day. More importantly, you’ll have to delve into the underlying reasons for why you tend to each so much. You may have underlying problems beneath your behavior patterns which you need to work on.
Try asking yourself the following questions:
Are you bored? Eating in itself is a fun and entertaining activity that does not entail the trappings of social interactions and excessive spending. Your senses may be wired for it more than others, as eating is a visceral activity. Consider forcing yourself to enjoy activities outside that require you to move.
Are you trying to get over an addiction? If you’ve been hooked on drugs, have a gambling problem or always intoxicated with alcohol and are trying to get past bad habits you might think that eating a lot can be a harmless alternative. All vices have a certain deviant rush to them and since you can’t have them back, you might be trying to recreate the feelings you once had by making food your new addiction. Just keep in mind that there are horrendous health risks associated with overeating, just as much as any other vice. You’re not getting rid of your withdrawal pangs this way, you’re just covering them up. See what happens when you suddenly stop eating and start craving, and you’ll realize that it’s just the same.
Do you feel anxious and stressed all the time? The pressures of life never stop for anyone and you might find yourself unequipped to deal with a nagging partner, overzealous and demanding boss, financial setbacks and family problems all at the same time. Everyone needs an outlet, but some people turn to food. Again, it is first seen as a harmless alternative, especially when compared to illegal and destructive vices. Eating gives us a sense of control over our own lives and a gustatory sensory overload, yet it is a temporary solution to an ongoing problem.
Are you trying to please your partner too much? Your partner may be fond of cooking for you and you find it hard to refuse a second or even a third helping. You might be so attached to your mother that you want to make her feel good by eating more than half of whatever she puts out of the kitchen. It is easy to see this happen in married couples since most of life happens at home for them.
Do you have an eating disorder? Bulimia and compulsive overeating are signs of behavior patterns that need the intervention of a psychoanalyst. If you have a tendency to eat alone in order to hide your habit and if you feel a certain amount of guilt and anxiety after eating too much, you may be avoiding dealing with a major issue in your life. If you think you may have an eating disorder, please consult your physician and/or contact the ANAD for help at (630) 577-1330. ANAD operate 9 AM-5 PM Central Time, Monday through Friday and can help you find the treatment to fit your needs.
The first step towards getting past a bad habit is admitting that you have a problem. The second is to be very honest to yourself about what the problem really is. Beyond an eating disorder, you may be suffering from an emotional, physical or financial crisis. Treat the problem at its root and you can not only assure yourself of a newfound sense of healthy living, you may feel peace of mind once again.