Why Our Brain Makes Us Overeat

April 15, 2016

There are many reasons why we are becoming an obese nation.  It’s not just the highly processed foods but an intentional agenda to make us consume more to increase corporate profit.  Tremendous amounts of money go into industry strategies to make us eat/buy more.  Some are obvious but works, such as priming with ads, having food available everywhere all the time, or strategically placing foods at eye level or at the end of the aisles at a supermarket.  Industries use what they know about human psychology to sell more.  I hope this article will help you become a smarter shopper and consume less and at the very least, consume more consciously with healthier options.

I find our innate habits so interesting.

  • Discipline is a muscle.  When asked to control their emotions after watching a sad movie, these people ate 55% more ice cream than the people who weren’t asked to control their emotions.  With our days full of decision-making, concentrating, and emotions, we are exhausted by the end of the day.  Most of my clients tell me they are great all day, but the end of the day is where they make terrible food choices.  Self-control does not work.  That’s why I believe in building healthy habits so you don’t have to rely on discipline and learning effective coping mechanisms.
  • Fatigue results in impulse.  When offered either chocolate cake or fruit salad, the group who had to memorize 7-digit numbers was 50% more likely to eat chocolate cake than the group who were asked to memorize 2-digit numbers.  Fatigue leads to impulse eating which is another reason why I focus on reducing fatigue and stress.  We naturally gravitate towards the “unhealthy” stuff when we are out of balance.  Calorie counting just won’t cut it if other aspects of life are challenging.
  • Being popular is for survival.  The more people we dine with, the more we eat.  We mimic what others do so if they pick up another serving or another roll, we do the same.  We mimic.  It’s a survival skill to be liked.  We don’t even realize that we mimic.  When salespeople mimic their customers, research shows that the customer has a more positive impression of the salesperson (and therefore generates more sales).  Choose who you eat with.
  • We don’t rely on hunger cues.  We all think that our choices are deliberate and that we are fully aware of what we’re doing, but we often don’t recall what we’ve eaten.  The group who described their pizza ate fewer cookies after lunch than the group who did not write down their eating experience (before being offered cookies).  Most of us eat mindlessly.

There are so many psychological barriers that make it difficult to lose weight successfully.  If we keep barking up the same tree of restriction, dieting, calorie counting, and discipline, we are doomed to fail over and over again.  We MUST address the root of what’s going on, whether that’s stress, balance, career, relationships, anxiety, depression, knowledge, habits, cooking, happiness, or anything other than being treated like a robot without emotions.  We are complex creatures who are not stupid. We just need a smarter method.

Learn how to have a great relationship with yourself, food,  exercise, and build great habits with a free health consultation at www.HappyFoodHealth.com or (619) 876-2655.  See if this is the right match for you. I do things very differently to make health a natural lifestyle and this is not for everyone.

~Samantha Hua, Nutrition & Health Coach, San Diego, CA