Diet Plans: Avoid External signals Telling Us to EAT:
Diet plans based on avoiding signals to eat are often the most successful.
You do not have to go back to prehistoric times – just think of the 1940’s and 50’s to see the effects of external signals on eating patterns – fast food was virtually non-existent and food portions were smaller. The rapid increase in obesity is not due to any new “imbalance in hormones” but to the increasing effect of external signals telling us to eat. Virtually all of our senses can send powerful messages to the brain that signal us to eat.
Misinterpreting Signals as “Hunger:”
Signals that tell us to eat more, when we may not need more food results in rapid weight gain. This kind of eating makes a person feel “better” only for a few minutes and soon there is the need for more food to satisfy these urges, followed often by feelings of guilt.
Stress may or many not cause overeating:.
It’s probably the nature of the stress that plays the most important role in overeating. Major stresses appear to cause less eating and minor ones more eating. This may have significant effects on those trying to control their weight due to the relative infrequency of “major stressors” in most people’s lives and the more frequent occurrence of “minor stressors.”
Fatigue can cause overeating:
As more and more people are working two or more jobs, or working and taking care of a family, it is becoming more and more important. Some people cannot distinguish between hunger and fatigue. When they are fatigued, they can be just as hungry after a large meal as they would be if they had not eaten for a whole day. Researchers have found physiological changes that may increase appetite and calorie intake in fatigued individuals by lowering their levels of Leptin.
Habits, time triggers and behavior patterns: These are among the most common triggers for what is perceived as hunger:
A Semi-Filled dinner plate:
More than 60% of overweight individuals are habitual plate-cleaners: they will eat whatever is on the plate and accept that portion as the appropriate amount to eat. With increasing portions, we eat more without even recognizing it. The normal hormonal signals to stop eating are ignored or overridden by these very powerful signals in this case a semi full dinner plate!
It’s “time to eat:”
Some of these eating patterns were learned in childhood. Some of us feel hungry because the clock says it is lunchtime at noon or dinnertime at 6 PM; we believe it is time for a meal and tell ourselves we are hungry. Smart dieters do not eat just because it is a particular time of the day; they try to save the food for when they are truly hungry.
Thirst is often confused with hunger:
One reason is that most drinking occurs at mealtime and sometimes these signals become confused. Often it is a just physical feeling; the individual wants something in his mouth.
Thinking of food, smelling food, or seeing appealing foods is a hunger trigger:
Visual or olfactory images actually cause hunger by triggering past memories of pleasures and calmness associated with eating. Carbs and salty foods are usually what most people think about, rather than vegetables or fruits.
Whatever the reason, the smart dieter spends a second or two before grabbing whatever is in front of them.