There are many reasons why you eat.
And different people have different reasons.
The top 10 reasons why you eat is about creating awareness around habits, something that is a primary focus point for the Downsize Me program.
1. You’re hungry (part 1)
There are many top reasons why you eat….but hunger? You’re kidding right?
In our Western World, we don’t really go hungry.
There is so much food in abundance and we eat at such a regular intervals that we don’t really get hungry. If you eat healthy food that is nutrient dense, your body has longer and better access to vital nutrients, it means you last longer and you won’t “feel hungry” as quick.
2. You’re Hungry (part 2)
Like Pavlov’s dogs, we are very well trained.
If you always eat at noon, come noon, you start to feel hungry and you’ll need something to eat. It is your habitual behaviour that is making you “feel hungry”. If you eat at regular intervals (like every two hours) your body is fine tuned to receive food at those times and you will start to feel hungry.
So we can really blame the (body) clock for this one. But hunger? Not really.
3. You’re Hungry (part 3)
By now you know where this is going.
Many people think they are hungry, but they are actually dehydrated. So next time you “feel hungry” have a big glass of water instead.
Water is very important to your body. On average 70% of your body is water and your brain is even 90% water. Lack of water may result in sluggish brains and a drop in sugar levels (the reason why you may crave sugary drinks like juice or soda). Don’t wait to feel dehydrated. Instead commit yourself to drinking regularly (if you need to, create a drinking-water-strategy, such as a big glass of water on the hour, or a litre bottle twice per day). Getting up to get a glass of water is also good for your body because it gets blood circulating and it will refresh you.
4. Peer Pressure
Another top reason why you eat: Peer Pressure.
Ever been for lunch, ordered a leafy green salad and mineral water only to be subjected to comments designed to make your companion feel better about their food choices?
“Come on, have a burger and fries, enjoy yourself, we don’t catch up that often” or “You are making me feel guilty” or “You are no fun to go out with”. It can be very hard to go out with friends and feel the pressure to eat. The same goes for alcohol. Go out to a bar and don’t drink and you will encounter a lot of pressure to drink.
Another great example of eating peer pressure is birthday celebrations at work where there is cakes, pastries, chips etc. Say no to the cakes knowing that you are making others happy, simply because they have more cake.
Don’t worry, Eventually people will get used to you not drinking or eating junk food. Don’t let being healthy, be a reason for not enjoying yourself.
A good response: “I am here for the company not the food”.
Sometimes you walk past a bakery and you see this cake, that reminds you of your childhood and you have to have it…simple.
In one of my recent work places they used to have biscuits and one selection rotated. Many people got very excited when their favourite biscuit was up “I loved those when I was a kid, I am taking two (or more)”.
6. Foods that controls you.
You know the expression “Once you pop you can’t stop”? This is the slogan of a “chip/crisp in a tube”. And it is true.
For somebody it is chips/crisps, for others chocolate, for others licorice (that would be me!). Once I open a pack it is gone in less than 30 minutes. Between leaving the store and arriving home the bag of licorice is often empty). That food definitely controls me. I promise myself: 2 pieces only, okay maybe four. All right, I’ll stop after the next two.
I am only kidding myself.
7. Because it is there
You eat food simply because it is there.
If you have biscuits in the pantry you may just eat it because “it is there”. You open your pantry, and it is right there in front of you screaming “eat me eat me” and you do.
The funny thing is, you would never consider buying it for yourself, but your kids want it and you buy it for them. You end up eating it simply because it is there.
The solution is to simply not buy the food (or hide them in the back of your pantry so the food doesn’t scream at you when you open the door).
I once worked in an office where they had 7 different kind of biscuits on every floor every day (see point 5). Tough especially when the selection includes your favourite, the only solution would be discipline and will power.
8. Emotional eating
For many people this is the top reason why you eat. I am not just talking about a lifetime of excessive eating.
Also on a daily basis you might go for some emotional food. Because you are tired, had a bad day or simple because “why should I be resisting this cake while I have been so good? I deserve it”.
When you talk to people about their journey towards becoming overweight many are able to pinpoint a point in their life where they experience “upset” or “trauma”.
In other words learn how to manage your emotions when you want to manage your food intake.
Sitting at your desk doing your job can be really boring, nothing to do.
If you have food around it is very easy just to grab something. Just make sure that you have healthy foods around such as fruit, nuts, seeds. Avoid eating too many biscuits, sweets or other foods high in sugar and low in nutrients.
If you are well rested you have better resistance.
Sleep well because next time you are ordering your coffee in your favourite café in the morning, you are more likely to resist that muffin, if you are well rested. Another reason to make sure you get a good night sleep.
I hope that this is creating some awareness around the triggers that are making you eat. What are the top reasons for why you eat?