About 2 thirds of the UK population are overweight or obese. This is because we eat/drink too much and don’t exercise enough. We all know this, but we still continue overeating. Why? Off the top of my head, I can think of 3 major reasons why we eat/drink:
- Biological reasons
- Psychological reasons
- Social/cultural reasons.
Examples of the biological reasons include:
- To get the energy we need to live and be active.
- To get the raw materials we need to grow and repair our bodies after injury.
- To get all the tiny micronutrients that are essential for the chemical reactions in our body.
Examples of the psychological reasons include:
- Comfort eating – we often eat to make ourselves feel better/happier etc.
- Boredom – this can be when you are doing a monotonous job, or if you simply don’t have anything to do. So we reach for the biscuits/crisps or simply raid the fridge.
- Habit – If we have always eaten a certain thing at a certain time, then we can get into the habit of doing it even if we don’t want/need it.
- “Want” – This is when we smell/taste something and we just really want it now! eg smelling fresh bread, or seeing an advert on TV and our mouths start to water.
Examples of social/cultural reasons include:
- Humans are social animals and when we are together, we often eat/drink. This is a major bonding activity for us all.
- Every culture has a celebration/holiday where feasting is usually a major activity. Here in the UK, Christmas is the obvious example.
- Peer pressure – this is very similar to social eating/drinking, but the person feels they have to do it to “fit in”.
As you can see, I can think of many more psychological/social reasons, than biological ones. And this is a major reason why so many “diets” fail in the long term, and why so many people end up being “yo-yo” dieters. Because these diets don’t touch the psychological/social reasons that we overeat. If you want a healthy body/diet for the rest of your life, and you want to avoid weeks/months of misery, starvation and cravings, then it is vital you deal with these psychological and social/cultural reasons you overeat. This has nothing to do with forbidden foods, or diet sheets etc. It is to do with adapting/changing your habits and behaviours of a lifetime.