There was a day when people never worried about getting “fat”. A day when food served only one purpose—hunger. Yes, there was such a day. It was when we lived in caves, hunted and gathered, and ran from wild beasts. At that time, there was no concern of over-eating but rather a concern of not having enough food, and more than that, having to hunt and gather for it, not because it was a choice, but because there was no grocery store down the street selling packaged goods! Everything about our environment today, from job stress, fitness magazines, to food commercials, and to the outlandish number of restaurants, has resulted in countless more reasons for us to eat besides hunger. Oftentimes it’s not “Lets eat, because I’m hungry.” But rather, “let’s eat… because why not?!” Here is just a handful:
1. You eat to avoid negative emotions.
2. You eat because you feel you deserve a “reward” for an accomplishment.
3. You eat to send pleasure signals to your brain and create that fuzzy feeling.
4. You eat because there are starving children in China, food costs money and your mom always told you not to let anything go to waste.
5. You eat because someone bought you food or cooked for you and you feel guilty not eating it.
6. You eat to punish yourself. You are angry with yourself for one reason and you think that weight gain is the ultimate punishment so you stuff your face.
7. You eat because you’ve already fallen off the wagon with that one cupcake, may as well eat the entire box.
8. You eat to distract yourself when you are nervous and waiting for the outcome of a big event.
9. You eat to procrastinate doing other things. The thought of cleaning your entire house suddenly makes you feel hungry. Better feed yourself before doing anything else, right?
10. You eat because you’re unconscious of it—say you’re reading a book or watching TV.
11. You eat because you may never come across this particular food again (or so you tell yourself if you’ve been dieting).
12. You eat because it helps you transition from one part of the day to another. Eating lunch means that it’s time to move onto a new activity.
13. You eat in anticipation of an upcoming diet.
14. You eat because you’re about to workout or because you just worked out.
15. You eat because no one is watching.
16. You eat because you’re a grown up and no one can tell you not to!
17. You eat because it is part of your creativity—you are a cook or a pastry chef.
18. Holiday eating
19. Ritual eating—you eat because that is what you do at certain times or events
20. You eat for two—pregnancy eating.