Why We Eat Too Much

Most articles on obesity (you can say being fat) start with statistical data on numbers of overweight people in a certain population. I'll skip that part and ask why is this so, why are we overweight.

Some believe fat to be the cause. Others know no better than to blame carbs. Third group blames sugar. The processed one, of course. But each of these reasons misses the point.

Why do we get fat?

We're fat because we eat too much. We take in more energy than we expend, so it accumulates in our body in form of fatty tissue. This isn't the fault of carbs nor fat, but the total calorie intake coming from both sources, as well as from proteins, and alcohol as well. In other words, none of these items make us fat, even though one can get fat from all of them – from broccoli as well, in theory.

The fact remains that it's easier to get fat from certain foods than the others because it's easier to eat more of them – either because they don't make us as full, or are too tasty to stop eating them on time. But that doesn't mean they make us fat.

Why do we eat too much?

Primarily because we're programmed to do so. Our bodies evolved in a constant lack of food. Up until recently, food was hard to come by. Evolutionary speaking, those who could eat more than they needed in order to store supplies for a period of starvation – survived.

Of course, a predisposition for something isn't enough. Another essential part is the surrounding. Modern world provides the perfect setting for obesity. Everything is available in high quantities, foods and tastes are full of variability, and it's hard to say no to that.

Other than the fact we are programmed to eat too much tasty food that is more than available, we should also address the fact we don't eat just for the sake of feeling hungry.

We eat while we hang out with our friends. We eat as a way to deal with our emotions. When we're sad, when we celebrate. Even when we're bored. Even though many judge this types of behaviors, I think of them as human, and thus very much unavoidable, therefore I think that reduction strategy is more successful than total inhibition.

How to stop obesity?

One should be aware that will never be fully possible because of strong base it holds in human nature. However, if we utilize human methods, emphasizing the importance of prevention, and approaching the problem from a social and even more importantly, individual level, I believe results can be a lot better than the ones we currently (don't) see.

When I talk of more humane methods for preventing obesity, what I mean is skipping the unnecessary avoiding of carbs, counting rice grains on your plate, or avoiding sweets in order to maintain weight. When I talk of more humane methods for dealing with obesity, what I mean is skipping the unnecessary science-fiction diet regimes and/or the ones that cause you to lose your mind, let alone the healthy relationship with food. When I talk of more humane methods, I talk about skipping the social judgment.

When talking about approaching the problem on an individual level before the social one, I reffer to the importance of public programs for obesity prevention. For example, removing fast food restaurants from school vicinities. But I mostly emphasize the importance of individualized approach to obesity, which is best achieved through working with a nutritionist.

Excess body weight does not always have an easy solution. Some predispositions are extremely strong, and some habits are hard to break. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't try. A nutritionist can be of far greater assistance here than you would expect. Don't forget, excess weight is not just an aesthetic but a serious health problem as well.