The Problem of Overeating

September 22, 2015   •  Posted in: 

The human mind is a wondrous creation, an amazing tool with the power to inspire us to victory or to overwhelm us with defeat. Targeted below are some of the reasons we use for overeating, as well as ways we can turn the tool of the mind to a more constructive purpose.

Reason #1: We eat to reward ourselves. Sometimes, when the world is treating us especially rough, we feel that we owe ourselves a little treat, to spoil ourselves a little bit with the infamous comfort foods. Because foods like chocolate cause a release of endorphins into the body, eating certain foods really does make you feel better…at least for a time.

However, like any chemically induced solution, it is only temporary. As your bad feelings about your weight compounds the likelihood you will suffer “down” moments, you can quickly find yourself in an eat-and-regret spiral that leads to more and more weight gains.

Instead of rewarding yourself by feeding your body, reward yourself by feeding your mind. Enjoy a favorite activity, go to a movie, or take a walk in a beautiful outdoor area. Read an inspirational book, spend some time with your family, or tackle some little item around the house that has been on your to-do list for a long time. The sense of accomplishment will help offset the down mood you were in.

Reason #2: We eat to punish ourselves. “No one else cares about me, so why should I care about myself? I’m having a donut!” This is really a variation on the “reward” trap. Although we recognize the bad effects of overeating; feelings of inadequacy, low self-esteem, etc., have us believing that we don’t deserve any better.

Reason #3: We eat as a defense mechanism. If you are overweight and unattractive, then you won’t have to deal with the uncertainty of relationships. You’ll know where you stand. This attitude is common among people who have been overweight and have some success losing weight. When friends and associates start to notice, it can make the person who is losing weight uncomfortable.

When someone remarks on how much you’ve lost, don’t say things like, “I still have a long way to go” or “Not as much as I should have lost.” Instead, embrace these compliments as affirmation of the transformation you have chosen! Tell them, “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet!”

Reason #4: We eat when we are bored. It’s amazing that, with all the time demands we have in our lives, we still get bored. To relieve the feeling of restlessness, we often resort to eating. If this is your problem, find activities that you enjoy and write them down. Then, the next time you feel like eating, reference those activities and select one from your journal. Postpone eating and do one of things you enjoy and love. Afterwards, assess your feelings about your decision, and you might find it was worth it!

Reason #5: We fill ourselves full, because we aren’t fulfilled. Read those words again since it’s a big idea to get our minds around. Many of us feel an empty place inside. The cause can be varied—lack of a partner to share our lives, loss of a loved one, depression due to life situations, or other circumstances. Many times we try to fill that empty place with food—and, of course, it just doesn’t work.

If you have any reason to suspect the cause is a real medical condition, then get your body checked out as soon as possible. Depression can have real physical causes, so if you’re suffering from this, see a doctor…for your own peace of mind, if nothing else!

Fulfillment is not achieved through accomplishments or “success.” How many successful people admit they struggle with addiction, marital conflict, even thoughts of suicide? Just check out the magazine headlines in the grocery store for evidence that worldly success doesn’t bring immunity from troubles.

So where does fulfillment really come from? Fulfillment comes from diving in and acting upon the will of God. Has God been speaking to your heart, asking you to act on something? God has a plan for you, a purpose and a mission for your life, a means to utilize your talents and abilities to further his Kingdom. It’s time to take an honest assessment of where you are, no matter how much or how little success you have had, and make sure that your journey and God’s path for you are the same.

If you or a loved one is suffering from overeating or an eating disorder, it is imperative to seek professional help. Our team at The Center • A Place of HOPE is skilled with dealing with all different types of eating disorders, and is committed to helping your recovery journey. Fill out this form or call 1-888-747-5592 to speak confidentially with a specialist today.

Dr. Gregory Jantz

Pioneering Whole Person Care over thirty years ago, Dr. Gregory Jantz is an innovator in the treatment of mental health. He is a best-selling author of over 45 books, and a go-to media authority on behavioral health afflictions, appearing on CBS, ABC, NBC, Fox, and CNN. Dr. Jantz leads a team of world-class, licensed, and...

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