Some people prefer calorie counting, others like the hand portion size approach, and others like intuitive eating. It is also myopic to think that people are overeating meat portions, vegetable portion sizes, and grain portion sizes as opposed to junk food portion sizes and alcohol. Sure, it can happen, in a few cases, I guess.
Believe it or not, in nutrition counseling, I DON’T spend time educating people on the fact that one cup of broccoli equals one serving. Most people aren’t overweight from eating solid, nutritiously balanced meals of real food, and many who aren’t overweight aren’t using calorie counting or use hand portion methods.
These are what I find are 17 reasons people eat. The summary is that they are not hungry. Never fear, there are not clickbait ads you have to scroll through a slide show to scan through all of these!
- Eating to socialize with others.
- Eating to avoid talking with others. Social anxieties are common, and food is comforting as well as something to look like you are doing something.
- Eating when drinking alcohol. It’s just something you do. Some people smoke here, too.
- Eating when watching TV because you eat when you watch TV. That’s just something you do.
- It is someone’s birthday at work (when is it not?) and there is cake. You wouldn’t want to be disrespectful of their birthday, now would you?
- Becky/Mom/Grandma/Chad made cookies for you. You’ll hurt her/his feelings if you don’t have them NOW and show how much you appreciate their effort.
- It’s a holiday. Don’t be a party pooper by not eating with us.
- It’s time to eat. It is 12p. I must consume food now because it is “lunch time.”
- It’s after 7p. I am not allowed to eat (and may feel guilty doing so), but I’m going to rebel against whoever made this rule (I don’t support this rule) and eat something off the record because I can. Who are you, my mother? I’ll eat whatever I want!
- Being told you cannot have something to eat, like a poptart, is a good reason to go have it and get off on your feeling of rebellion. You showed them!
- Fear of not having food for a long period of time, so better eat more now.
- Overeating when starving.
- You worked out, so you deserve food now.
- You worked out and have been told there is a scientific yet magic 30 minute window of opportunity during which you will not benefit from any of your workout unless you eat now to avoid going all “catabolic.”
- Because you are emotionally drained, you eat in hopes it will give you energy.
- It tastes good and is pleasurable. You want more of it.
- Because you are actually hungry and need the nutrition.
If I missed any, please add your non-nutritive reasons you eat in the comments.