"I eat every night": how we develop food addiction

Feb 26, 2019

We all know how to eat properly, how to pay attention to calories, eat fruits and vegetables and refrain from fast food and sweets. However, in the evenings after work or at the weekend you may open your fridge, take out your favorite dessert, start eating and suddenly you cannot stop.

Constant overeating does not simply become an obstacle towards having a dream body, but it also creates a vicious circle. After each “gluttony event” you start to feel guilt, shame and even disgust towards your own body.

What is compulsive overeating? Why can’t we control our relationship with food by sheer willpower? Our article will help you find out.

Contents:

  1. Overeating is an eating disorder
  2. How overeating affects our life

 3.How to stop overeating

Overeating is an eating disorder

People often consider overeating to be a simple lack of discipline, so they don’t ask for help. But the sense of guilt and anger towards ourselves creates a vicious circle.

In reality, compulsive overeating, also referred to as hyperfagia, which can be psychogenic, is an eating disorder. It has been officially included in DSM-5, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of mental disorders, from 2013.

If you often feel an uncontrollable desire to eat a lot of food and don’t stop even after feeling full, you are quite likely to have an eating disorder.

“Every day on my way home I go to a bakery or a grocery store and buy myself something tasty. I want to pamper myself and forget about all my troubles. It is food that brings me solace. I buy pastry, sausages, bread, mayonnaise, potato chips and a lot of other things. At home, I lay the table and eat everything I have cooked. I just cannot stop. I enjoy eating, I like the smell of freshly baked buns, I absolutely love tender pastry with a lot of custard creme. Afterwards, I look in the mirror and hate myself. I am always frustrated and in despair: I cannot stop eating once I have started. Without tasty food life loses its meaning.”

– Alla, suffers from overeating

People are still studying the reasons for this disorder. However, it is already clear that it comes from psychological causes. It is the sense of distress that is pushing us to seek relief in food. People often overeat sweet foods, salty foods or fatty and flavorful foods.

People suffering from compulsive overeating encounter rather unpleasant symptoms:

  • they find it hard to concentrate on work;
  • they sense chronic fatigue;
  • they feel sick;
  • they are displeased with themselves, other people and the whole world;
  • they have apathy, a pessimistic view of the world and they feel depressed;
  • they cry often;
  • they are prone to aggression and conflicts;
  • they find it hard to control their moods.

Of course, many people enjoy tasty food and a good meal. However, the main difference between this and an eating disorder is that a person suffering from such a disorder continues to eat even after feeling full, ignoring their body’s needs. A tasty smell and the attractive look of their favorite food prompts them to start eating, but then the taste of food, its quality and attractiveness become irrelevant, while the amount of food consumed in one sitting only increases.

 

How overeating affects our life

Even though overeating lacks the clear consequences of alcohol or nicotine addiction, one must never underestimate the effects such dietary pattern will have on their health.

The main consequence of overeating is obesity. According to the Russian Statistics Agency, about 40% of the working population in Russia between 19 and 60 are overweight due to excessive eating. Such a habit leads to lack of self-confidence and dissatisfaction with one’s appearance, which can evolve into depression.

Some people manage to maintain slim bodies even with constant overeating and tend to think that their habit does not affect them, but it is not true. Fat deposits in such people accumulate around internal organs. Such deposits are called visceral fat. Excessive amounts of this fat impede the blood supply, which can lead to pathological conditions.

BMI, body mass index, can help to find out if a person is overweight. It represents the ratio between height and body weight.

 

BMI can only be used for approximation, as it does not take into account individual peculiarities of the body. The World Health Organization proposed this rendering of the index:

Body mass index
Ratio between body mass and height
16 or lower
Severely underweight
16–18.5
Underweight
18.5–24.99
Normal (healthy weight)
25–30
Overweight (pre-obesity)
30–35
Obese Class I (Moderately obese)
35–40
Obese Class II (Severely obese)
40 or more
Obese Class III (Very severely obese)

Obese people are at risk of developing complications and unpleasant symptoms that affect the quality of life:

  1. Increased risk of severe cardiovascular diseases.

Overeating and obesity are some of the main causes for cardiovascular diseases. An excessive amount of nutrients leads to the formation of fat deposits. This can cause the fatty degeneration of the heart. Moreover, it leads to an increase in blood volume and, therefore, impacts on blood vessels. According to statistics, the presence exists of coronary heart disease in 20% of obese people and primary hypertension in 75% of them.

  1. Dysfunction of the pancreas gland.

This appears as a consequence of excessive consumption of fats and carbohydrates. The dysfunction of the pancreas gland can lead to serious diseases, such as pancreatitis and diabetes. According to statistics, 60% of obese people develop Type II diabetes.

  1. Skin problems

The consumption of food with high fat content can lead to the appearance of acne. This happens due to the stimulation of oil glands, which start to secrete subcutaneous fat.

  1. Problems with libido.

Scientists have recently proven that
obesity increases the risk of erectile dysfunction in men. 79% of men suffering
from erectile impairment are at the pre-obese or obese stages, which means that
their body mass index (BMI) is 25 or higher, while the normal BMI is 18.5–24.9.

The higher the weight, the more the
person is at risk of erectile dysfunction: [1]

·
at the pre-obesity
stage (BMI 25–30) the risk is 1.5 times higher;

·
at the
obesity stage (BMI greater than 30) the risk of developing such a disorder
becomes 3 times higher.

Moreover, more than 50% of men with diabetes suffer
from erectile dysfunction
,
and the risk of developing diabetes is very high for obese people.

How to stop overeating

It can be extremely hard to escape the vicious circle of overeating.

Wherever we go, we encounter food advertisements. Many families love the tradition of gathering around the dinner table, and food becomes the main way to convey love. This can especially be felt during celebrations. People eat like there is no tomorrow.

However, when such a feast occurs every day, the consequences for our health are imminent: the body weight grows, the digestive and cardiovascular systems suffer from increased impact, and the hormonal system cannot handle the amount of incoming nutrients.

If you have noticed signs of overeating we recommend you to consult a specialist. Overeating can be defeated by changing the mode of behavior.

Our new 7Spsy method of behavior modification has been developed by the Institute of remote psychology. It will help you enjoy your life without having

“gluttony events”. Our method is based on the traditional behavior psychology founded by I. P. Pavlov.

The course lasts 2-6 weeks. The length of the course depends on the patient. As the result of taking the course, you will stop comforting yourself with food and being ashamed of your body. You will learn to feel full after having small portions of tasty food, and you will start to enjoy outdoor activities once again.

Information from this website cannot be used for self-therapy and self-diagnostics. 

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