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The Psychology Behind Eating

To understand how anyone may lose weight and keep if off we need to understand how we gain weight. The answer is primarily overeating, but the question becomes why we are overeating.

Hyper-palatable foods are foods that we just can’t get enough of because we are addicted to the taste like delicious sugar fats and salt filled foods. Your taste buds are the only part of your sensory system that is directly connected to the pleasure centre in the brain and when you eat a hyper-palatable food you feel an instant, powerful, positive emotion called pleasure.

The hierarchy of substances and their capacity to create a substance dependency is based on the strength of the positive emotional response that you feel once your have consumed it. Drugs like cocaine and heroin are at the top. Next there are foods like cookies, cake, ice cream, chips, cheese, crackers and bread with butter. Way down below these is alcohol and further down are cigarettes.

Sugar, fat and salt are at the top just under drugs and it seems that everyone always under estimates their power because they are cheap, socially acceptable and marketed to children.

Hyper-palatable foods are just part of over-eating; the second tragic piece of this story that has locked in overeating and driven our generations’ greatest health risk is substance dependency, which is a repeated behaviour despite the adverse consequences.

80 years ago in Russia, a guy named Pavlov taught his dogs to salivate to the sound of a bell by pairing a delicious sausage mix with the sound of a bell. Once a day he rang a bell and the dogs would receive the delicious sausage mixture and he would measure their salivation. On the 11th day he rang the bell and the dogs went nuts. They barked and salivated because they had paired the delicious sausage mixture with the sound of the bell.

So what has this to do with losing weight and keeping if off? The first and most important question to ask yourself to understand your over-eating habits and form a routine that will sustain your weight loss effort is to know what and when your bell rings.

Types of Eaters:

The Night Eaters
Happens between your dinner and sleep between 8 PM and 12AM when you are watching T.V. and relaxing

Dessert Lovers
A meal is not complete without something following that is a hyper-palatable food preferable a dessert that contains sugar fats and will often say a meal is not complete without the substance you are dependant on.

The Big Dinner Eaters
Dinner is the biggest meal of the day because you don’t eat much else during the day. The amount eaten at dinner is large and the meal become rewarding.

Homecomer Eaters
Once you arrive home after a lond day of school or work you consume before dinner snacks, which can amount to dinner's worth of calories.

The Afternoon Snackers
Snack through out the afternoon, which is often associated with a lifetime of afternoon snacking, going back to the after school snack when you were younger. An afternoon snacker often senses a lull in energy and are looking for that boost.

Dr. David A. Macklin is one of Canada’s leading physicians in the field of Lifestyle Medicine. He founded the WeightCare clinic in downtown Toronto in May 2005. He is board certified in Family Medicine by the Canadian College of Family Physicians, a member of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, the college of Family Physicians of Canada and the Ontario Medical Association. Dr. Macklin has committed his career to helping others with behaviour change, healthy lifestyle and weight management.




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Coming Up

Tue 30 Marilyn’s Big Little Experts! 
Wed 31 The latest fitness trends