One of the most important topics in anthropology is food. How did people eat long ago? One thing we can be certain about: human beings used to subsist on far less food than their modern counterparts. Today, most of the people in United States, and increasingly the rest of the world, are consuming too many calories for their sedentary lifestyles.
In today’s post from Museum Anthropology Review, we are going to look at the overeater. What exactly triggers the appetite in the overeater? Good-tasting food, for one thing.
Unfortunately, the thought or presence of good-tasting food is not the only cue that may trigger appetite in the externally oriented overeater.
For a number of individuals, a particular mood or anxiety may be what signals a desire to eat. It goes back to the types of situations one learns to associate with feeding in early childhood. In some households, stress, or distress, is alleviated with food. And the more often food is used to comfort, the greater the number of circumstances in which a child learns that eating is an appropriate response to anxiety. By the time the child becomes an adult, the mood-feeding connection is firmly in place.
Taking an appetite suppressant like PhenQ can help prevent food cravings from arising in the first place. This weight loss supplement not only reduces the appetite, but it also increases the metabolism. This means that calories are burned faster.
In addition, Dr. Brownell suggests that the most effective way to cope with moods or situations that wear down your resolve is to view patterns of overeating as “chains” that consist of many “links.”
Take, for example, a young woman who ends up eating an entire pint of ice cream directly from the container while watching television on a Saturday evening and feeling upset that she does not have plans to go out. One way for the woman to reflect on the evening is to say, “I was bored and lonely so I overate to comfort myself.” But if she pays attention to the separate links in her chain, she affords herself more opportunities to break it at its weakest points and, if not avoid eating the ice cream altogether, at least avoid eating so much of it.
For instance, she can decide not to have ice cream in the freezer on a Saturday night that she will have to spend by herself. Or, she can go on to the next link and make up her mind that instead of moping about being alone, she will do something constructive like write letters or put a pile of loose photographs into an album.
A closer look at other links might suggest to her that she put a scoop of ice cream in a bowl rather than eat from the container, or that she should not eat during the television program because that diverts her attention from the amount she brings to her mouth. Such tactics make it easier for a person to overcome long-established patterns of turning to food in response to a situation in which eating should ideally play no part.
Those whose appetites are triggered by one or another type of anxiety, incidentally, would do well to ask themselves whether eating truly reduces the tension. In point of fact, it never does. The stress isn’t brought on by a lack of food in the first place, so food can’t alleviate it.
What’s more, eating to reduce stress often ends up putting someone in an even worse mood because it intensifies that “out of control” feeling that may have been instrumental in producing the nervousness originally. And feeling out of control strengthens the self-defeating “I’ll never lose weight” attitude that sets the stage for future binges.