Fairfield County Hypnosis, LLC


COMMON REASONS WHY ANYONE MAY OVEREAT


YOU EAT TO REWARD OR ENTERTAIN YOURSELF.

From the very beginning of your life you have been rewarded with food for your accomplishments—anything from a simple task to a monumental success. As a baby you get a cookie as a reward for picking up your toys, saying “please” or “thank you,” etc. As a growing child you get dessert for cleaning your plate. Your teacher gives a candy to each student who gets an A on the spelling test. When you are a teen-ager, the coach takes your team out for a pizza after a good game. You go to the movies to be entertained, and while there, you may consume a soft drink, popcorn, or a bar of candy. When you graduate from school, your parents take you out to the best restaurant they can afford.

When you’re an adult, you get a job promotion, and you celebrate by going out to dinner. You take prospective clients out to lunch. You go on a much-needed vacation, and the first thing you do is seek out those great little restaurants.

You may be reading this and thinking that a lot of these examples fit you, or come fairly close, but the trouble is that you enjoy these activities. Should you avoid these situations now? You might be surprised to know that you can participate in these food-focused functions with new habits firmly established and still enjoy being there.


YOU EAT TO LESSEN OR NEGATE AN UNPLEASANT EXPERIENCE.

Again the pattern is established when you are very young. You are teething and miserable, so you are given a tasty teething biscuit. You fall off your play swing and get a cookie. The pattern continues throughout your life. You don’t get accepted to the business school or college you applied to, so you go out and binge with your friends. You go out with someone you really like, the date doesn’t go well, and you know you’ll never see the person again. You walk into the kitchen and find yourself a little comfort in the contents of your refrigerator.

You can add to these examples. You know which things are so upsetting that they propel you to that cute little bistro around the corner where the fondue is delicious. But how long does the consumption of food negate the earlier unpleasant experience, such not getting into your school of choice. If you are honest, you will probably have to admit that the hurt is only partially desensitized while you are devouring the cheesecake.


YOU EAT BECAUSE Y OU WANT TO BE NOTICED, TO GAIN AUTHORITY.

You can have a very big body and, at the same time, an exceptionally small ego. You may need to command more attention, feel more important, actually take up more space than those around you. There is a certain fascination with an individual of great size. Even though the fascination is often negative, it is, at least, some form of attention. Most people would agree that it is far easier to get negative attention than positive attention.


YOU EAT WHEN YOU NEED LOVE.

Go back to the beginning of your life again. As a baby, you cried and you got a bottle. If you were lucky, you got held and had a bottle at the same time. Now you eat when what you really want is to have someone smile at you, give you a kind word, touch you, give you a hug. You may want someone to make love to you, so you love yourself by giving yourself lots of wonderful things to eat. The trouble is that this behavior creates a treacherous cycle: As you create a bigger self, the more likely it is that your self will be, from a social point of view, unlovable. Unfortunately, our society rewards thin and scorns fat, which leads us to the next major cause.

YOU EAT BECAUSE YOU ARE AFRAID

Afraid of what? There are more than a few possibilities. One common fear is of the potential of your own sexuality. If you are unattractive to the opposite sex, you do not have to worry about the consequences, problems, opportunities, and decisions a relationship can bring. You can stay in your present situation, which demands nothing of you emotionally or physically, because you are not sought after, and therefore don’t have to deal with a relationship.

Interestingly enough, a husband may encourage his wife to stop for donuts or a hot fudge sundae when he knows that her resistance is low, that she has just arduously taken off three pounds and will rapidly gain it back again if she follows his suggestion. Why does he do it? It is his insurance against her attracting male attention and finding that she has options, and his finding that he has competition. The last factor serves to increase his insecurity, which was the reason he tried to insure the safety of the relationship to begin with.

Another fear may be related to good health. You may have been raised to believe that thin was unhealthy and therefore undesirable. The message you received as you grew may have been “If you are plump, you are healthy. If you are healthy, you are less vulnerable to disease.” So you make sure that you always have pounds to spare and thus keep illness at bay.

WHERE DO YOU GO FROM HERE?

Regardless of the cause of your overeating, the procedure you follow for change will be the same. You need to replace the emotional satisfaction that food provides with an activity that serves the same purpose. For example, during a busy day you may need to stop and take a break. A snack is just the thing to help you relax, but what you really need at this moment is an appealing, satisfying alternative. A good alternative to snacking would not be to clean your windows or drive to the bank. It would be to sit down, close our eyes, relax for five minutes, and listen to some soothing music.

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