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Fiding The Reason You Overeat

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Old 12-28-2007, 06:34 PM   #1
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Default Fiding The Reason You Overeat

What if you can't seem to put your finger on the reason that you are overweight? Everyone says you have to find the reason, before you can lose and I can't isolate a reason.
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Old 12-28-2007, 06:40 PM   #2
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I don't think that you have to find the reason why you are overweight before you tackle the issue! Think of it this way -- IF you go to the doctor, and the doctor says that you have a medical problem, the medical problem is treated. There may be some investigation as to WHY you have the problem, but the bottom line is that the problem is treated right away.
I think the same applies to weight loss. You may have self-esteem issues, or childhood issues, or whatever, but the bottom line is that if you have a weight issue, you can address it right away! It may take years to figure out WHY, but why wait until then? Why not address the outside and the inside at the same time?
JMHO!
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Old 12-28-2007, 06:42 PM   #3
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I think that is ridiculous. I can think of the OBVIOUS reason I was overweight..I ate too much and moved too little! The emotional baggage behind it I'm STILL not sure of...have some guesses, but it doesn't REALLY matter.

The bottom line is, we are only overweight because we eat too many calories for the amount that we burn, period. The reasons we do that vary, but don't change the equation. Burn more calories and eat less, and you'll lose weight. You'll also likely figure out some of the reasons you overeat as you go along. It is NOT a prerequisite!
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Old 12-28-2007, 07:29 PM   #4
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ROSEBUD 64 ~ Actually, I agree with both of these ladies ...

Technically, the simple answer is ... to lose weight, you must use up more calories than you take in. Why we are told we must find some elusive reason for not doing that, is beyond me; but we do know that numerous factors can lead to 'unhealthy choices'.

And like Maya suggests, there is no reason why you need to wait to try and lose weight now. BTW, this is a great place for ideas, suggestions, and support.

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Old 12-28-2007, 10:45 PM   #5
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For me the reason I am overweight is simple. I love to eat, and to eat big. And really, I'd rather not exercise. That's it. No complex psycological reasons. No hidden tramas or phobias or neurosis. Eatting is pleasurable, it feels good when I do it, and I like to do it alot.

When I started my new way of life, I didn't worry my head about the "Why me"s of it. I just started tracking my intake, and getting on the elliptical whether I wanted to or not (and believe me, I didn't want to).

For me, the negatives of being fat were greater than the pleasures of the lifestyle that I choose that made me that way.
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Old 12-28-2007, 11:15 PM   #6
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I think you absolutely do not need to figure out the reasons before you start. That is utter hogwash.

Now, if there is some underlying reason you emotionally eat (self-sabotage etc.) you will probably have to confront it at somepoint, but truthfully the WHY can be very difficult.

I lost weight without confronting the emotional issues. I developed strategies for situations, I learned trigger foods, I planned, etc.

Now, to be fair I have been mired in a 4 month cycle of emotional eating that I am struggling to break through. If I could figure out WHY I self sabotage when I am close to success, I would be happier on so many levels, not just weight.

I regained 7, lost 5, regained 6 etc because of this. But overall I am down around 50 lbs so is my effort pointless until I figure it out? Heck NO

I am not sure I will ever know WHY, the best I can do is figure out how to set myself up for success.
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Old 12-29-2007, 01:28 AM   #7
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I had always heard that as well. I mean I knew "why" I was overweight - just like Mandalinn said, I ate too much, waaaay too much and moved too little, waaay too little.

I DO think at one point I was eating to comfort myself, to entertain myself, to combat lonliness, stress, frustration, boredom - whatever. I'm still not sure why though, that I chose to absolutely ABUSE food (and myself) in the way that I did. I mean there are no excuses for it. I too, for a very long time, thought that I had to have it "all figured out" before I could be successful at weight loss. Well, I got tired of waiting around for all the answers to fall into place. I may never know why I chose to overeat and stuff myself with food in the way that I did. NEVER. I'm sure glad I didn't wait a second further to take some ACTION and put a HALT to the overeating.

So, I don't think it's necessary to know for sure why we overeat. But like Ennay said, I think the most necessary thing, is to find our weaknessess, food wise, and set up steps to combat them. Have a plan in place. Stratergies. A course of ACTION to deal with the emotional issues.

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Old 12-29-2007, 03:56 AM   #8
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I have a slightly different perspective on this. I agree that you do not need to figure anything out before you start to lose weight - but for me it has been important to understand some of the reasons I became obese in order to continue losing over a long time.

For some people, I think it comes down to education. I've asked lots of women if they know how many calories they need in a day, and with rare exception nobody seems to know. They guess… Or they don't even think about it.

In my case I had lost the first 10kg (22 pounds) before I was able to even confront the question of why I overeat - or eat the wrong food. At its core, it was because I had started my life in an orphanage and was quite neglected there. When my foster family got me they "fed me up". So I now know that I associate overeating food with safety and health - and love.

Try unlearning THAT! I think it's why it has taken me 17 months to lose my first 50 pounds.

Rosebud, the women here have some wonderful collective wisdom. For my own sustained weight loss though, I couldn't keep it off if I just did the "calories in/calories out" without taking a hard look at "why" because of my emotional connection to food.

I think everyone is different, and we all have our own experience. But please don't wait until a 'light bulb' goes off, and you figure it out before you start to lose weight. After a while that becomes an excuse.

Good luck! and welcome to 3FC.


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Old 12-29-2007, 08:15 AM   #9
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I agree with PerthChick. I think it's important to gain the education about what makes people fat in general, how our bodies work with regards to input and output of energy, etc. But I don't think you have to find "the" reason that YOU are fat, because it's the same reason(s) all of us got fat!

Also, there is almost never one single reason for getting fat. There are hundreds of reasons! We love food, we eat too much, we don't get enough exercise, our emotions make us want food, society serves us large portions, healthy food isn't as widely available, fruits and vegetables are expensive, etc etc etc.
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Old 12-29-2007, 11:10 AM   #10
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I just started trying, without trying to understand the underlying reasons. Along the way, I have learned a lot about some of my own particular issues. A lot of it I don't think I could have learned as well before trying to lose weight and change habits. It was in confronting the habits that I started to figure out some issues. But I still don't really know all of why I ate so much and didn't exercise, but that hasn't stopped me from losing and maintaining...
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Old 12-29-2007, 03:25 PM   #11
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I don't think there's a one-size-fits-all answer here. In fact, I think they can both apply. The whole science of psychology has "schools" that are diametrically opposed in philosophy:

You have the Behaviourists (a la Skinner and his rats) who believe that behaviours are just behaviours, and can be learned or unlearned, with proper motivation and judicious application of rewards. This is akin to the simple "calories in must be less than calories out" way of approaching weight loss.

On the other hand, you have the Analysts (eg. Freud) and/or the Developmentalists, who tend to trace everything back to an unresolved issue in life. IE. We need to discover why we're fat before we can do something about it.

As applied to me personally, I know that to lose weight, I need to change my behaviours, simple enough. But I have lived many years with a binge eating disorder, and I have no doubt that therapy to get to the root of that would make this whole process easier, because I don't tend to "overeat" per se - I either eat well/"normally" or I binge. I'm doing well, gradually, in getting past the bingeing, but I suspect that I would have licked it long ago if I could have figured out why I did it in the first place.
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Old 12-29-2007, 05:51 PM   #12
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JANIE ~ very insightful answer! Explains both sides of this complex problem very succinctly ~ lol!

As I said, I know that NUMEROUS FACTORS led to unhealthy choices in my life; and I am/was a binger too. I don't binge very often anymore though, possibly becuz I don't deny myself food anymore (IMHO).

In retrospect, I had to address why I let things get so out-of-hand, and didn't keep up the lifestyle choices that I know were good for me and my health. I think that we just have to DO IT becuz we need to; at least, that's my commitment to myself ...

I started my new lifestyle changes before I tried to look for the reasons of why I haven't been able to keep the weight off. I was very successful in the past at losing weight, but I find it much harder now. Before, I was more interested in finding out HOW than WHY; but now, I would like to know both.

Like TEALEAF, I love food, plain and simple: everything about it; but I don't enjoy the exercise part too much ~ lol. BUT, I have learned a lot more about this issue and myself, since I have come here (thank you all).

My plan is to make healthier food and lifestyle choices at the same time. From what I can see from all the successful people here, that should be a winning combination!

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Old 12-29-2007, 06:12 PM   #13
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It depends. Weight and Why Do I Overeat? are seperate issues, as demonstrated by the numbers of *normal weight* people with compulsive overeating or bulimic tendencies.

Obviously, you have to eat less than you use to lose weight, and so physically its very very simple. You dont HAVE to confront anything necessarily. But I think its a matter of degree....as in, do you simply tend to eat whilst bored, or is it really tied up with deep, negative issues that really do need tackling? The first reason for overeating is much easier to tackle by building in more distractions. The second is a right pain to deal with, takes ages.

I think its more *how deep is your reason for overeating* rather than *why do you overeat*. It only REALLY matters if its severely messing you up and persistently holds you back..can you afford to ignore it, kinda thing.

I'm suffering cognitive blurring due to med sideeffects, this may not make sense!
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