Whenever I see a list of reasons why people overeat, I never see anything that applies to me. Although I believe that there are people who stuff their faces because of low self-esteem or emotional pain, I'm not that girl. Once I come across the standard list of reasons in a diet book, I usually stop reading. My thinking is that if the list doesn't apply to me, then the rest of the advice won't, either. Winning By Losing also has one of these lists, but Jillian Michaels get points from me for also stating that there may be other reasons why a person overeats. Here are mine, some common and some not:
1. External Cues: I'm tempted by food on television, but not in the way you might think. Commercials rarely make me hungry, while people eating on TV shows will send me to the kitchen every time. Gilmore Girls is especially tough to watch because they talk about food a lot. Strangely, weight loss shows also make me hungry. As they go on and on about all the healthy food you should eat, I find myself craving a burger.
2. Entertainment: This is not the same as boredom, which is a common reason found on most lists. I have so many interests that I don't have time to be bored. Unfortunately, many of my favorite activities are conducive to consuming calories. Watching TV, surfing the web, reading, doing puzzles, playing games--all of these can be done while munching away. The only hobby that can't be done while eating is needlework. Unfortunately, I have to limit my stitching to 20 minutes a day to avoid wrist and shoulder pain. This leaves me many more hours to stuff my face.
3. Socializing: Just as there are social drinkers, I believe there are social eaters and I am one of them. As in many families, no social event was complete in our house without a large spread of food. Even now, a date or gathering of friends is more special to me if there is great food involved and in my mind great food doesn't include low-fat or artificially-sweetened anything.
4. Entitlement: This one is a bit difficult to explain without making it sound like emotional eating. I don't eat when I am sad; usually when I am upset I lose my appetite. I also don't eat to reward myself for a job well-done. If I've worked hard, I treat myself to more time in front of the TV or the computer. I eat what I want because it tastes good and I feel like I am worth it. There are so many things in my life that I can't have or don't have control over (the big one is working when I would rather be at home with my children) that I want to enjoy my food. Eating healthy food makes me feel deprived. It's not so bad when I am at home, but to pick the salad at the caf when other people at the table are eating fries just gives me a bad attitude for the rest of the day.
OK, I've written them down for the three people who read my blog to see. Now what?