Six reasons why we over eat

If like most human beings in this exceptional time of uncertainty, you are frequenting the fridge and the pantry and find yourself over eating and/or snacking incessantly, rest assured you are not alone. 

And guess what?  It’s NOT YOUR FAULT.

Here’s six reasons why we over eat.

  1. Well-intended But Wrong Advice

We over eat because we are following some well-intended but bad dietary advice.  Introduced in the late 1970’s, a low-fat diet was promoted by health advocates in an effort to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.  But when you restrict dietary fat, hunger increases because dietary fat makes us feel full and satisfied.  And by default, when you restrict dietary fat, carbohydrate consumption increases.  And the recommended carbohydrates were predominantly included bread and pasta, both of which are made from refined grains (flour) and highly processed.

We listened.  We got fat.

  1. Exercise

We believe exercise helps with weight loss.  Exercise has multiple benefits, but weight loss is NOT one of them.  Please do not misunderstand.  Exercise is important for our health and well-being, and daily exercise is great for longevity.  But most of all, exercise makes us hungry and more often than not, we believe we earn a treat after a workout.  We routinely over-estimate how many calories were burned and under-estimate how many calories we consume as a reward.

  1. Eat Less / Move More Weight Loss Gospel

To this day health advocates promote the Eat Less/Move More weight gospel as THE solution to our weight loss struggles.  Doctor, dieticians and fitness gurus alike, profess “fewer-calories-in-than-calories-out” is the key to achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.  So… eat less (take in fewer calories) and move more (burn more calories) and you will lose weight.  Sounds so reasonable, so logical… But it fails, 99% of the time.  Sounds outrageous right?  Outrageous but true!  Ask any chronic dieter.

  1. Your Brilliant Brain

The primitive brain is the oldest part of the human brain and its job is to ensure survival in a hostile environment where food was scarce.  But in the 21st century, thankfully, we no longer live in a hostile environment and food is not scarce.  Your brain loves it and keeps asking for more… just in case famine is around the corner.

  1. Really Tasty Food

The food supply in the 21st century is hyperpalatable – it’s really tasty!  Food manufacturers know our brain loves refined carbs (sugar and flour).  They also know that the more refined carbs we eat, the more our brain craves them.  Furthermore, they know refined carbs give the brain a massively wonderful feeling.  In response, your brain, doing its jobs most efficiently, is like “whoa! this is great stuff, get more soon.”  And you can, very easily… so you do… again and again and again.

  1. Your Brilliant Body

Our body is designed to survive through periods famine with occasional feasts.  Our body exquisitely manages our energy supply with insulin, our fat storage hormone.  During times of feasting, insulin levels increase and our body stores excess energy as body fat.  During times of famine, insulin levels drop and we burn our body fat stores for energy.  It’s a beautifully fine-tuned energy conserving machine!

Fortunately, nowadays, famine is rare.  In fact we are almost always feasting. And insulin, doing its job, stores all the excess energy as body fat.  And in our food-aplenty-feasting world, insulin is very efficiently making us fatter and fatter.

Losing weight is one if the hardest things you will ever do.  It is also one of the most worthwhile things you will ever do.  Believe in yourself.  Believe in your potential.

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Live life, love life, always
Dr Karen