Why do people eat too much

Or, more plausible explanations for inexplicable crap

Photo credit: mwboekmann

Photo credit: mwboekmann

Once again, I must remind you that all answers presented in this column are not so much answers or even opinion but stuff I thought maybe sounded like it could be the explanation. If you copy this for your homework, I will laugh myself silly at you.

Stephen from The Rat Race Trap asks: Tracy, why do people who tend to gain weight keep eating unhealthy foods and way to much food overall?

That’s a million dollar question, isn’t it? I imagine most people would start off their answer talking about evolution and holding on to fat for lean times and so on and so forth, but I’m not sure that explanation holds water. Think about it, you’re a caveman, life is nasty brutish and short and there are always things to run away from. Are you telling me that you’d spend excessive time looking for food and then eating so much that it impairs your ability to run away from saber tooth tigers not to mention make you unable to power your vehicle? Hardly likely.

All of us, but especially the overweight, think about food too much. Yeah, yeah, I know, I totally capitalize on that for my own fame and fortune. I have kids to feed, leave me alone! So, you realize you’re 5-10 lbs over capacity for your pants and the first thing you think is, dang, I need to go on a diet! And that’s when it begins, you start thinking about what you can eat, what you can’t eat, how much to eat and when to eat it. You buy books and magazines filled with pictures of food to help you decide and you actually read email forwards that start with “OMG, you can totally make a cake out of fat free whipped topping, carbless flour and a diet Pepsi!”.

What this is doing is making thousands or even millions of connections and pathways in your brain that will go crazy the next time you’re alone with a bag of Fritos. And after you eat them, you’ll think about what you should have eaten instead and where you’ll buy it and how to avoid the bad stuff, and again the message your brain gets is FOOD.

So you find yourself wondering why you can’t just leave the candy bars in the vending machine and the more you think about it and what kind of snacks to bring from home instead and reading magazine articles with helpful hints that all seem to involve packets of instant oatmeal, the more connections are formed labeled FOOD.

And what happens when you see food? Electrons start firing like crazy in your brain and you have to get some of that. And what foods are we most likely to see? The ones in bright packaging, the ones shelf stable enough to be in the vending machine, the ones you can eat right away. Junk, mostly.

This is not to say that I think that the overweight are food obessessed and with no self control, but I have noticed that a lot of times when us people go to correct a problem we overcorrect and wind up making things worse.

My totally unproven and non-FDA approved weight loss plan is instead of saying, hey, I need to diet! Is to say hey, what fun thing could I do today? Instead of thinking about what you could or should eat, think about that hobby you’ve wanted to take up. You can’t open a bag of Ruffles while playing the guitar!

Total semi-related self promotion

I have a guest post up today on some guy I talk about way too much’s blog called “A Life Less Boring“. It’s about avoiding a life of crushing boredom by following your passion. I’d love to hear what you think, so go head on over and give it a read.


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