Research simply does not support the idea that overeating is emotionally driven. Studies have shown, despite discrimination in both academic and work settings; overweight people show no greater psychological disturbance than non-obese people. Overweight people do face struggles and emotional problems because they are human and, perhaps partly, because they are fat in a culture that rejects fat people. So this research debunks the idea that overweight people are emotional jellyfish who deal with their psychological problems by eating. The idea that people overeat simply because of their emotions is terribly depressing because all people are emotional. The good news, if you have thought of yourself as an emotional overeater, is that you’ll soon learn that this “diagnosis” doesn’t apply to you in the way you have thought. You can be forever freed from the scourge of “emotional
Every human being is emotional but not everyone is overweight. Therefore, many people who feel stressed, fearful, worried, upset, nervous, anxious, terrified, intimidated, sad, hurt, disappointed, ashamed, confused, resentful, frustrated, guilty, embarrassed, angry, or disturbed, do not eat in response to these feelings. There’s a logical reason for this fact and it’s not because they have more fortitude than emotional overeaters. The reason some overeating is blamed on emotions is because bingeing and emotions show up together. There’s a real explanation for this coincidence, but it’s not cause/effect. I’ll explain this connection in Chapter 6, dedicated to the emotional overeating theory, as well as the food addiction idea and the use of behaviorism as a tool for weight loss.
Food for Feelings? How People Gain Weight in the First Place Photo Gallery
Why do overweight people so often eat particularly poor quality food? Although taste preference and habit may play very significant roles, there is something else less apparent happening in many over weights who eat lousy food. Whenever anybody becomes overly hungry on a regular basis, whether from dieting or just reckless eating patterns, they are likely to be more interested in foods that are fat producing. This too is a physiological phenomenon, and will be discussed in the next chapter, Why Dieting Backfires.
How People Gain Weight in the First Place
Dieting isn’t the only way to experience a famine, although it’s a particularly obvious and concerted one. People everywhere experience some kind of food restriction and/or eat very poor quality food. Just like going hungry regularly, eating a lot of poor quality food triggers the body’s survival response. Lousy food doesn’t satisfy the body’s need for nutrients. There are several ways to under eat besides dieting. One of the big reasons the obesity rate is skyrocketing is that people fall into these common habits. These habits mimic those of dieters because they involve under eating on some level. People go hungry even though they are not dieting: They miss meals because they are in a hurry. They don’t take time to prepare and eat meals or snacks. Most people don’t take food with them for times when food is inaccessible. They don’t recognize the symptoms of hunger, and consequently, don’t eat when they need to. Job schedules often interfere with workers’ ability to eat meals or snacks when they are hungry. Poor quality food is regular fare for many people and families at home, school, and work. And, it is common for people to ignore their hunger because eating is inconvenient and they don’t realize how important it is to avoid going hungry.
Very often, the unconscious habit of going hungry during the day and then overeating at night is a daily pattern. Sometimes it is weekly, with overeating on the weekend. These patterns lead to weight gain and maintenance of excess weight in most people.