How to Stop Overeating

How to Stop Overeating

How many times have you seen a "skinny" person eating some sort of junk food, and thought to yourself, "I don''t know how she does that. If I ate that it would go straight to my thighs!?"

Do you know the difference between the skinny person that can eat whatever they want and you, who feels you
can''t?

The difference lies in the perception of the food.

If you perceive that the food is a treat, a delight to indulge in, and you eat it with pure joy, your body is relaxed. Your body receives it in a relaxed mode. When this happens, your mind tells your body, "This is okay." It''s enjoyed and passed along. Gallons of ice cream are not needed to get the pure joy when you are indulging in the delight of it.

But if you think, "Oh, I shouldn''t be eating this... " or "I''m eating too much... just a little more though... ", you start to feel guilty, shameful, angry with yourself, whatever. With these emotions, your brain releases stress hormones into your body, like cortisol and norepinephrine.

According to Wikipedia, "Stress hormones such as cortisol and norepinephrine are released by the body in situations that are interpreted as being potentially dangerous. The hormone regulating system is known as the endocrine system. Cortisol is believed to affect the metabolic system and norepinephrine is believed[by whom?] to play a role in ADHD as well as depression and hypertension.

Stress hormones act by mobilizing energy from storage to muscles, increasing heart rate, blood pressure and breathing rate and shutting down metabolic processes such as digestion, reproduction, growth and immunity.

Constant stress causes continual release of various stress hormones which can cause:

- A depletion of energy storage
- Stress-induced hypertension
- Effects on metabolic processes
- Ulcers (digestion)
- Hampered growth
- Decrease in testosterone levels in males and irregular menstrual cycles in females.
- Increased likelihood of infectious diseases."

So when you''re eating with negative emotions fueling your body with stress hormones, your metabolism changes--among other things. Your body shuts down, loses energy and becomes vulnerable to ulcers, sickness, heart disease and more. As your metabolism slows, the calories you just ingested can''t be burned. And so they go into storage in your fat cells.

Not only do the extra calories get stored because the metabolism slows, but they get stored as protection. If your body is under attack from stress hormones, it goes into protective mode. It knows that something is up. Something is happening that is causing these hormones to be released. Not knowing how long the attack will last, or if it''s coming again soon, the body hangs onto as much as it can.

The same thing happens when you restrict your food intake. When you start restricting, this triggers the metabolism once again. This creates stress, as your body thinks it''s being starved. Once again, the stress hormones are released and the metabolism slows. If the body thinks it''s being starved, it will hold on to all the energy that it can. The calories that may have ordinarily been burned up are now stored for safe-keeping in the fat cells.

When you take on the rules of a diet, you employ willpower as your guide. It can work for awhile. However, as it becomes a requirement for the success of your diet, you set yourself up to protect against vulnerabilities: you remove all the "bad" food from your house, you avoid going out to social situations where food not on the diet will be involved, etc. Your control has shifted from inside of you to outside. When this happens, you no longer have control over food. It has control over you.

If diets were simply about restricting food intake, the success rate of gastric bypass surgery would be much greater. According to one 11-year study of gastric bypass patients by Drs. Nicolas V. Christou, Didier Look, and Lloyd D. Maclean, they found that just 34% had maintained a loss of 80% of their excess weight. Listing multiple other studies, they say that the average gastric bypass patient maintains a loss of between 50% and 75% of their excess weight 10 years after surgery.

The stomach has the ability to stretch, so it''s not unusual for people to gain most or all of the weight back that they have lost from surgery--just like diets.

A friend of mine that I grew up with had gastric bypass surgery a few years ago. It went well, and she had no complications. Several weeks after the surgery, she checked in with a 38 pound weight loss. You would think she''d be happy, but it was actually the opposite. My friend said that she felt like she had "lost her best friend". She slumped into a deep depression. In the year that followed, she stopped taking her vitamins and eventually had to be hospitalized until she was stable again. 8 years later, she''s gained back a little more than half the weight lost. She had 5 years of counseling to coach her through her depression so she could start to enjoy her life again.

Why does this happen? Why do we so often hear about (or experience) weight gain after dieting or surgery?

Because the attack was on the physical result, not the internal triggers that had caused the result. It''s like a band-aid. If the emotional needs and psychology that causes weight gain aren''t addressed, the result is a life-long battle with weight gain and constant dieting.

Sometimes the internal shift can happen in a few moments, and the physical change in the body follows. It''s a process that evolves with a persistence in self-development. By understanding yourself in a new way, you can begin incorporating new behaviors around food. As your internal beliefs shift, you can work to build a support system around you to build your momentum.