Black Women's Improvement Project (BWIP)

What’s Eating You? Reasons You Overeat That Have Nothing To Do With Hunger

Now that we’ve dipped our toes into 2012, I’ll bet you’ve got your new running shoes and yoga pants ready at the door so you can step out into the new year a few pounds lighter. You’re really gonna do it this time. Really. Really? You can exercise until your flat-ironed hair sweats back to the Motherland, but if you don’t get your eating under control the scales might not tip in your favor long enough for you to see results. In order for real change to occur you have to get to the heart of your appetite, which happens to be in your head. Turns out there are plenty of reasons why we eat when we’re not even hungry.

How many of you have just eaten something just because it was there? You’ve just had lunch and someone’s popped popcorn in the lunchroom and you grab a bowl because it’s there. Maybe you’re watching some ratchet Real Housewives franchise and you just don’t feel right sitting in the easy chair without your salt and vinegar potato chips. Eating because you’re bored will derail your weight loss journey big time. So before you pick up another chip or another kernel of popcorn ask yourself, “Am I really hungry?” Sometimes it just as simple as checking in with yourself to gauge if those are indeed hunger pangs.

Weight As a Shield
No one really knows how pervasive sexual abuse occurs in the black community, but experts suspect it happens much more often than is discussed. Young black girls in their teens are often targets of abuse by older men or male peers and many swallow the pain, anguish and shame with food. It is often not a conscious decision to create a body armor made of fat, but often patients who seek therapy realize they used their girth to become less physically alluring and thus, a less likely target for unwelcome attention.

Undiagnosed Anxiety Disorders
Gloria, 41, stuffs cookies in her mouth in a corner of the kitchen. She does it quickly, because she doesn’t want anyone to catch her. She eats in secret because she doesn’t want anyone to know how out of control her eating has become. Gloria has an anxiety disorder, and the food she eats triggers chemicals in her brain that make her feel peace and pleasure. In church on Sunday, she’s told that true believers don’t need psychiatrists–they just need to pray. And so she prays, and she eats. And eats, and eats. “Be conscious of your stress level and try to keep it under control. Whatever your reaction to stress, it’s normal for you so don’t fight it. You can counteract stress if you learn to be active, think positively, keep your priorities straight, don’t spread yourself too thin, and enjoy relaxing pastimes,” says Lavinia Rodriguez, PhD, author of “Mind Over Fit Matter: Conquering Psychological Barriers to Weight Management”

If you recognize yourself in any of the above examples, it’s time for some serious introspection if you’re got to start your New Year’s resolution and this time, have it stick.

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