It is clear that food is a basic necessity indispensable to the life of all of us, it is even part of the basic human rights of every human being. But what happens when the intensity and frequency of food is out of our control?
In this article we will see how we can get involved in a situation of food addiction and we ask ourselves a “why can’t I stop eating?”. In addition, we will also look at the best treatment methods for this situation.
Why can’t I stop eating? Possible causes
Let’s take a look at some of the most common causes why a person may have trouble stopping eating constantly. Several factors can be at the origin of this behavior. Let’s see them.
1. Emotional hunger
This cause is the most common of all; it is an irrational appetite motivated by particular moods, And has nothing to do with the physiological sensation of being hungry for basic survival reasons.
When emotional hunger becomes present in people’s lives, it does so as an escape mechanism from certain situations or sensations that produce feelings of anxiety and high stress.
For example, a person he might be having a binge eating (Eating compulsively and quickly) because of the unpleasant news they just gave you, or when you are under withdrawal symptoms from a substance on which you are addicted.
2. Eat by inertia
When we ask ourselves the question “why can’t I stop eating?”, It is often because we realize that, almost without thinking, we are already opening the fridge. In these cases, we eat through inertia, we do it in an essentially involuntary way.; we are not fully aware of the irrational behavior we are maintaining. We eat in a haphazard way, regardless of the time of day.
The amounts of food we eat can vary widely depending on the circumstances in which we find ourselves. If it is a busy day, we may eat less than we should, on the contrary, if we have a day off at home, we may end up overeating and not realizing it.
3. Perceive food as a source of heightened pleasure
Some people see food as a disproportionate source of pleasure that allows them immediately satisfy the food driveIn other words, for these individuals, the act of ingesting food represents the ultimate end of pleasure.
Whether they are satisfied or not, seek to eat frequently, to feel how they manage to satisfy their desire. What is sought in these cases is to obtain satisfaction and not to satisfy a physiological hunger.
4. Poor frustration tolerance
Having a low tolerance for frustration often leads to the pursuit of satisfaction through food. Since there are situations the subject cannot control and the result can be frustrating, he seeks pleasure in something he can control, Just like eating food. Faced with such problems, adaptive capacities must be developed.
5. Dysfunctional lifestyle
Dysfunctional or unsuitable lifestyles, in general, result in the person being affected in various areas of their daily life, including food, which must be excessive.
When the subject carries a routine atypical in relation to his basic needs, all this is altered, and although for him this may be a normal situation, it is still harmful to health.
6. Body dysmorphia
This disorder is characterized by the person who suffers from it a disproportionate and irrational hatred towards his own body and tends to desperately seek ways to change it. It is a disorder with a higher prevalence in women.
When this disorder occurs, some people have to stop eating to change their body shape; others, on the other hand, compulsively eat food for the same purpose, only that the change would focus on weight.
How to resolve this situation?
The first is to accept that the behavior is a problem for our lives in terms of physical and emotional health, once we accept this fact we are ready to start looking for the best solution.
1. Establish new routines
Replacing our dysfunctional routine with another with healthy habits is within everyone’s reachJust start organizing our new expectations with a personal strategic planning method and putting them into practice.
The establishment of a number of meals per day, which should not be exceeded, accompanied by a schedule for each of these meals, will eventually give us the habit of eating at the right time and in a structured way without the inertia of the eating disorder.
2. Attend therapy
There are several effective therapeutic methods for dealing with such situations. Some of the best results are cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavior therapy.
All of them aim to change the patient’s maladaptive and irrational thoughts by replacing them with more appropriate ones, which will allow him to behave better in his daily life. Thus, thanks to a psychotherapeutic intervention process that lasts between several weeks and a few months, you learn to better manage emotions and adopt healthy eating habits according to the real needs of the body.
- American Psychiatric Association (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.). Arlington: American Psychiatric Publishing.
- Bennett, J .; Greene, G .; Schwartz-Barcott, D. (2013). Perceptions of emotional eating behavior. A qualitative study of university students. Appetite, 60 (1): 187–192.
- Macht, M. (2008). How Emotions Affect Eating: A Five-Piece Model. Appetite, 50 (1): pages 1-11.
- Turton, R .; Chami, R .; Trésor, J. (2017). Patterns of emotional feeding, forced feeding, and animals with binge eating disorder. Current Obesity Reports, 6 (2): pages 217-228.