Friday, April 27, 2007

Reason 2 for being overweight

In recent posts, I've explained that there are 3 reasons for being overweight, and discussed reason 1. Today, I'll talk about reason 2, a compulsion to overeat.

A compulsion to overeat is more than a bad habit. It's a stress, lodged somewhere in your body, that makes you feel uncomfortable if you don't take that cookie and put it in your mouth.

Many people have a compulsion to overeat, although I'm not sure why. Well, I think I have an idea, but it's probably different for different people. In general, when people experience some anxiety, they find that eating makes them feel better. Over time, whenever that stress comes up, they continue to eat. Eventually, the sight of food triggers the need to eat and people lose control.

Most diet books and even dieticians ignore the compulsion to overeat. "Just eat a little bit less at each meal." " Take smaller portions." Yeah, right.

However, there are a number of tools for dealing with compulsion:
  • Rules: "I am not allowed to eat sugar."
  • Motivational techniques: One is fear. The kind that happens when your doctor tells you that if you don't lose weight, you'll be dead in a few years of a heart attach or stroke. But you can also be motivated by the desire to look good, be sexy, and so on.
  • Removing yourself from temptation, that is, food: An example is staying out of the kitchen.
  • Removing the temptation: An example is not buying fattening foods, so they're not in your house.
  • Desensitization: This is similar to the techniques used for people who have phobias.
  • Stress reduction: Here I can only recommend what I know, which is the Transcendental Meditation technique. There's lots of research on it.
  • Finding the stress point: If you can find where the stress is, you can put your attention on it and start to heal it.
So, all is not hopeless, if a compulsion is one of the reasons you overeat.

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