Beliefnet
Dr. Norris J. Chumley Satisfied Life

Last week, I posed a question about being trained to overeat.  I asked for your thoughts, and a few of you shared what’s going on —  see comments here.
I bring this up in addition to having written recently about “covering up fat,” this week (which got a LOT of comments), and also about a houseguest who overeat in secret (which got tons of controversial attention).  This is all about habits, and it’s about being in a culture that trains us to overeat, feel bad about ourselves, and to hide.  I think that’s sad, and it’s time to take some action.  First step: uncover the “fat” thinking, training, advertising, cultural conditioning, the shame, the pain and get it out into the open.  Talking about what is behind overeating, and less-than-healthy habits is a great way to “deciminalize.”  Writing about it is great, too.
I thought it was very interesting to note that some people commented about others, particularly husbands and fathers (Starting Over Again in 2010, drmarion, and Rhonda) who have trained them to eat everything on the plate, or even overeat.
Also of note were some patterns connected to advertising. Maria from Australia (a regular reader and cherished commentor!) wrote “seeing ads on TV or in magazines do not make me want to eat ; but seeing the actual food such as when preparing a meal…is often all it takes start me off eating.”  It’s usually the opposite, at least what we are conscious of, that advertising prompts us to eat.  Maria brings up an important point – seeing food, and I’d add smelling, touching, hearing it made or someone chewing – sensorial cues, are very powerful.  We are trained to eat from these, whether real or images or sounds.
An anonymous reader wrote, “I think I want to feel very full all the time. And if I see something I like, I want to have it. If it is available, I will have it. It is hard for me to even try to resist.” That’s a major point:  we are trained to feel full all the time.  It’s like every meal may be our last.  It will help you to be aware of this need to be full, or even stuffed with every meal or snack.  Of course, it’s not necessary.  Of course, overeating with every meal actually adds up!  Find out what a good structured food plan, with suggested amounts and types, is something you may want to try.  Although not perfect, and under review at the moment, the USDA Food Guide Pyramid website at www.mypyramid.com (click here) may be a good, general way to get an idea of what and how much to eat might be for you.
Finally for the moment, Cynthia Brown wrote, “I have had to fight not to eat ever since 6th grade. I gain and never lose as much as I gain. I will start out walking and not eating at night. I always fill my plate up. I always want to fill up at night knowing it is not good to do that. I eat high fiber food.”  I wonder if you have been scolded a lot in your past, or heavily criticized.  If not from parents, peers, or teachers – perhaps you carry a lot of shame and difficult feelings about yourself.  It sounds like there is a constant conflict with food going on.  How about taking some time to appreciate yourself some more, like you did when you said “I start out walking and not eating at night…and I eat high fiber food.”  What are some other “good” actions you do?  What is it about you that you love?
Also, daily meditation and prayer will go a long way.  Once conscious of how you have been trained negatively, you can hold these thoughts and habits in the glow of God’s light, and ask for help.
More comments, please!
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