Social Question

josie's avatar

Why do people eat too much?

Asked by josie (30926points) May 3rd, 2012

If you eat too much, compared to your physical activity, you will gain weight and in the extreme you will get fat. Political Correctness notwithstanding, most people recognize that being fat is unhealthy and generally regarded as unattractive, plus there is a not so subtle negative moral judgement cast toward fat folks. Being unhealthy, being unattractive, and being subjected to a distinct social antipathy to fatness, is a burden that most people would choose to avoid. Since avoiding this issue is, in most cases, a matter of eating less, why do people eat too much? Most reasonable people want to be healthy, attractive and socially acceptable. And although lots of people exercise, most do not exercise too much. But many people eat too much. So why is extreme exercise regarded with skepticism, but extreme eating is regarded as no big deal?

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68 Answers

SuperMouse's avatar

There are many physical disorders and genetic reasons for people being over-weight or obese. There are also many psychological reasons that people overeat. No one is free from issues, even those with their weight firmly under control.

tom_g's avatar

Huge topic and much to unpack here. I’ll just add that I have had a little bit of insight on my own weight gain as of late. I could stand to lose 10–15 pounds that I just put on in the past few months. I’m suffering from a little bout of depression and f*ck-ton of stress right now. I am apparently a stress eater, and I feel really uncomfortable right now. Note that I don’t eat fast food, I am a relatively healthy eater, I have 3 kids that keep me active at home, but I sit at a computer all day and have no – yes, seriously, no time to engage in exercise.

Just thinking out loud here, but I suspect that some weight gain is a result of mindless eating that is attempting to treat the symptoms of depression and anxiety of modern life. Sure, I know that a brisk walk when the kids are finally asleep, followed by meditating, will do more than eating more. But I’m not in a rational space right now. Time to raid the cabinet.

So, to summarize, sure we have a culture of consumption and excess. And sure we have the knowledge and tools to determine what our caloric consumption and exercise levels should be. But what if your mind is trying to f*ck you over? Maybe extra pounds is the external sign of internal pain?

creative1's avatar

Hmm I wonder why @josie your not asking this question about an alcoholic or someone addcited to drugs??? To me it has the same/similar underlying causes except with food you need it to continue to live. Why pick on someone overweight instead of say an alcoholic???

josie's avatar

@creative1 Because I chose food. Where does it say I have to include every vice?

Blackberry's avatar

@creative1 I understand your concern, but I think it’s a valid question. I was preparing to ask a question about how people become 400lbs and above. I wanted to know about the various genetics and disorders that come in play. The reason I was going to ask this question was because I was thinking about how it’s not very advantagous (sp). It turned out that I just happened to be thinking about that is all.

creative1's avatar

@Blackberry I feel for the overweight having been one at one point in my life but the thing I find about someone who is obese is that they are turning to food to bury something that hurts and can’t come to terms with it. For me personally it was the death of my father at 17, I never fully dealt with it until I had gastric bypass in order to loose the weight. By dealing with the pain is the only way I can say that I didn’t put all the weight back on in 8 years now. I feel if a person doesn’t deal with it there is nothing in this world that will work. I know a few people who put back on the weight even after gastric bypass because they didn’t do the work they needed to.

SuperMouse's avatar

@creative1 I know more than one person who put on the weight after a gastric bypass. I know one person who has had it done twice and has put the weight back on after both.

I think over-eating is such a challenge because, as you said, there is so much emotion and psychological stuff behind the food choices we make. I also think it is tough because one cannot quit food all together the way they can with other addictive things. It is also really, really easy to overeat and in a culture such as ours where food is plentiful and easy to get, it is represents quick and easy comfort.

It is so much easier for me to eat a package of Oreos than it seems to be for me to get to the Y for a body pump class!

Coloma's avatar

There is also the temperament/personality factor. I am the Enneagram type 7 known as the ‘Enthusiast/Epicure’ which corresponds with the Meyers/Brigg ENTP the extroverted, intuitive, thinking, perceiving type. We are known for our creative, innovative, spirited and enthusiastic approach to life, and our corresponding ‘sin” is gluttony. haha
My type is the most addiction prone of all types and I have to keep a tight rein on my hedonistic side. I LOVE FOOD and if not paying attention could easily pack on the pounds.

We are the inhalers of life and experience and I have joked for years that it takes a lot for me to “go off my feed.” I have a hearty apeitite for life and sensual pleasure.
There is a big link between personality style and certain propensities for over indulgence.
I know one other ENTP a successful engineer and he is a glutton for life and food too. He has gained and lost the same 50 lbs. 3 times over in the last 25 years.

Not all people that tend to gain weight are lazy, in the case of us ENTPs it is more about being some of the most life AFFIRMING types out there.
I have dropped 14 lbs. from the holidays and am ramping up my walking again, getting more fit for summer, but… when I work out it is always with a reward in mind, and the reward is always good FOOD! lol

I just ordered 8 blocks of my favorite cheeses and Saturday is a cheese and beer party. YES! :-D

tom_g's avatar

@Coloma: “I just ordered 8 blocks of my favorite cheeses and Saturday is a cheese and beer party.”

I’m pretty sure I want your life.

Coloma's avatar

@tom_g I have Caraway Jack, Salami cheddar, Garden Jack, Extra sharp cheddar, and Wheat Beer! Life is NOT worth living without good food and rich beer! :-D

JLeslie's avatar

All sorts of research has been done on this and there are also many hypothesis not even researched yet.

There is science that shows that part of overeating is similar to other addictions. That you need more to feel normal. Certain pleasure centers in the brain get altered like when people do drugs.

Also, there are flavor additives added to packaged foods that some scientists believe increase our cravings for foods.

Another point that has been made is now we are bombarded with things that trigger our craving for food. More commercials for food, more restaurants as a we walk or drive down the street. And also with the branding of chain restaurants we respond to signage like a pavlovian dog. Golden arches, Olive Garden sign, Chili’s logo. Back in the day of local restaurants the signage was often low key, and not hitting us with constant food messages.

Plus, the hidden amount of fat and calories in restaurant food is ridiculous. Whe. Something is laden with fat, we might eat the same size portion to our eyes, and the. The fat calories hit later as the food starts being absorbed. Eventually our bodies become accustomed to that calorie count if we eat those foods often.

Plus, portions are much bigger now. Even the typical plate size at home is much larger.

Lastly, I think people are bored and feel less connected then ever before, just look at the stats on prescribed antidepressants. I know I over eat when I feel bored or lonely.

tom_g's avatar

@Coloma: “Life is NOT worth living without good food and rich beer!”

Truer words have never been spoken. Sorry to derail.

Coloma's avatar

@JLeslie True, all that. Emotional overeating etc. but also, I have read that salt and sugar are hard to come by in nature, hence, us humans crave salt and sugars. If you think about, aside from fruits, only honey and sugar cane are/were available sources of sugar in nature for thousands and thousands of years. All sorts of animals go for the sugar, and also fermenting fruits which turn into alcohol.

I’m pretty sure I’d fight off a bear to get to that honeycomb. lol

wundayatta's avatar

To add to @JLeslie‘s list, let me point out the amount of sugar in the stuff we drink. Soda and juice and tea and just about everything we buy to drink is sugar water. Only water doesn’t have sugar in it. People drink a lot of this stuff every day, and it puts on the pounds. I love orange juice. That’s got so much sugar in it. It might be fructose, but it still puts on the pounds.

My other weakness is cheese. I have an Italian water bufalo milk cheese in the fridge right now, as well as a cloth-bound aged cheddar from Somerset, England. There’s an Italian blue cheese, and a French soft cheese, a bit of sharp provolone, a black diamond cheddar from Canada, and probably a gruyere. Not to mention the cream cheese and the reggiano parmesan and god knows what else might be in there. I just finished the aged gouda earlier in the week. How many different cheeses did I mention? Plus the mozarella sticks for the kids.

Did I mention that I like cheese? Every week after my sons piano lesson we go to DiBrunos. They import cheese from all over the world and they’ll let you stand there and try as many as you want.

Food is my great pleasure in life. It is the source of everything meaningful that doesn’t come from love, sex, or music or dance. It is a way to be creative. It is a pleasure sensation. It is comforting, psychologically.

And combine that with a sedentary lifestyle, and it’s no wonder I am fifty pounds overweight. Other people have other reasons. Fast food packs all kinds of calories in fat. Food is so easily available.

Our bodies evolved for times when fat and sugar and salt were very difficult to come by. We were strongly motivated to consume them. Now they are very plentiful, but our bodies are still acting as if we starve for them. So it’s no wonder we tend to be fat. This will only change if fat people die before they reproduce. Since that’s not going to happen, this problem won’t go away until we get a pill that turns off our cravings.

@Coloma If I bring some of those exotic cheeses and maybe a six pack of a nice IPA, can I come to your party?

JLeslie's avatar

@Coloma I would not argue with you that Americans eat a tremendous amount of sugar, and it most likely is a very bad idea in those large quantities. But, I also know I grew up on Coca Cola and Entemann’s chocolate chip cookies. But, I never pigged out on anything back then. My portions were much smaller. We almost never ate out either. My mom did not really cook very healthy food, but it was from scratch for most dinners most of my childhood, school lunches, and often sugary cereals for breakfast or English muffins soaked in margarine. I was very thin as a child into my teens. All I can think is these kids now eat huge portions. I know when I am out for dinner I cannot believe how much food the fat people eat. I know that sounds awful, but it is true. Breaded meat with butter filled mashed potatoes and green beans with pork in it. Huge plates. Plus, they had started with a salad drenched in dressing. These same adults don’t know the size of a normal portion and over feed their kids I think, and so they pass down the problem.

I want to lose weight myself; I over eat all too often, I regret it every time.

Plus, social interaction in America now is many times meeting up to eat. I don’t know if it was always like that? It kind of bothers me. I wonder if cities that meet up for coffee more often than a full meal have thinner citizens in general?

wundayatta's avatar

@JLeslie People have different metabolisms. My wife has a high metabolism and can eat anything she wants and still stay thin.

Coloma's avatar

@wundayatta But of course! :-)
@JLeslie Yes, habits are passed down, but it is also metabolism. I’ve know kids that lived on pizza and candy and were thin as sticks. Go figure. If I had 3 wishes one of them would be to eat whatever I wanted without weight gain or health effects, hands down! lol

JLeslie's avatar

@wundayatta True metabolisms vary, but probably 80% (made that up) of the population has very similar metabolism at the same age. I saw a medical doctor who works with and studies weight gain, and he said it is only a very small portion of the overweight community that actually has a slow metabolism.

wundayatta's avatar

@JLeslie I was thinking that the thin people are aided by a fast metabolism, not so much that overweight people have a slow metabolism.

JLeslie's avatar

@Coloma Well, I was thin, but my cholesterol was very high. Bad genes, plus high cholesterol foods.

Metabolism and genes does not explain away the whole overweight problem, because we have not had enough time in the last 50 years to have evolved to be physiologically very different, yet more people are fat, and much fatter.

JLeslie's avatar

@wundayatta Hmmm, I see your point. I never thought about it like that. It makes sense that a fast metabolism accounts for possibly a significant percentage of very thin people. I don’t think I had a very fast metabolism though. I ate much less than I do now. As a teen I needed 9–10 hours sleep. I never could run more than 3 minutes ever in my life. But, I was much more active generally up through my early thirties than I am after that age. I added on a bunch of pounds when I had Account Executives taking me to two hour lunches. That was the beggining of the end.

josie's avatar

@JLeslie , @Coloma
Eventually, people learn about themselves. So a person will eventually figure out if they have a fast metabolism or slow metabolism. And a reasonable person will act accordingly. Sort of like people who have a family history of high blood pressure. Such folks would be fools to be overweight or to smoke. Once you know your predispositions, you can make choices.

marinelife's avatar

1. People do not get the feeling of satiety that would stop them eating.

2. People who have hypothroid (which is epidemic in this country) put on wight more easily.

3. Physical activity as associated with work has lessened enormously in the last 100 years.

4. People eat for emotional reasons confusing food with love.

JLeslie's avatar

@josie The thing is, if the addiction theory is true, reason is hard to come by. The person is compelled by a physiological need or they feel like crap.

nikipedia's avatar

So many reasons. I think one of the simplest but most insidious reasons is that we eat such calorie-dense food. Part of what signals your brain that you’re done eating is when your stomach physically has a lot of food in it. But the amount of space taken up in your stomach by 200 calories of butter vs. 200 calories of broccoli is completely different. By creating such calorie-dense foods, we fool ourselves into feeling like we aren’t finished until we’ve actually eaten way more than we need.

I think when you talk about people become extremely morbidly obese, there’s some kind of compulsive behavior involved, like people with OCD.

We also have socially conditioned ourselves to completely misperceive appropriate portion sizes. For instance, a 3 or 4 oz serving of fish (one portion size) is probably about half of what people would expect to be served at a dinner party, and ¼ of what you would get in a restaurant. My big weakness is pasta; I can eat 2 or 3 servings easily and not realize it.

Plus, let’s not forget—food tastes fucking great.

Coloma's avatar

I’m all for health, but I’m also all for letting people just be who and what they are. I’m the original St.Pauli girl, german descent on my dads side gave me my blonde hair and blue yes and curvaceous but petite figure. All I need is the frock and the beer tray, already have the pigtails. lol
My mom was 5’1 and never weighed more than 105 lbs. her whole life, my dad was 6’4 and had the 50 lb. big guy belly.
I’m 5’4 and “gained” 3 inches on my mom but also inherited a 30 lb. deficit from dear old daddykins.

I like my face and boobs much more when I’m 15–20 lbs. over my idea weight.
If I work my body into maximum shape I feel like my face looks gaunt.
Personally I don’t judge people by their weight, I judge them by their character.
Obviously being morbidly obese is not ones highest choice, but fighting 20–40 lbs. is pretty “normal” for a lot of people.

nikipedia's avatar

@Coloma, being slightly overweight is associated with better health outcomes in some populations.

josie's avatar

@JLeslie Well, if there is no such thing as human choice, then there is also no such thing as civilization or civil law, or participation in threads on Fluther. But there clearly is choice, because these things exist. Plus, if there was no such thing as choice, then why do some people exert personal control over their food consumption, and others do not. If eating was addictive, everybody would be fat. The existence of the first person who maintains a healthy weight puts the lie to that notion. Just like the first person who quits smoking puts the lie to the excuse that nicotine is as addictive as heroin, which I have heard people say.

Coloma's avatar

@nikipedia I agree, especially as one gets older. If you face a serious illness as an underweight person the outcome will not be as good. If one needs to lose some weight the body has more reserves. Also, osteoporosis (sp” ) in women after menopause is aided with some extra body weight to cushion falls and broken bones.

linguaphile's avatar

One of the things I came to terms with in the past 2 years is that I used being overweight as an extremely effective shield, a form of protection.

I used to be, I guess, really athletic and attractive and got a lot of attention everyday. I also got problems with a possessive guy who wanted more than I was willing to give, and when I was 17, he found out a way to take what he wanted. I gained weigh as a form of protection. It worked, much less attention. Later on, my self esteem tanked even further, and I wanted even less attention, and gained more.

Depression also was in the picture—it was easier to eat out than take time to prepare and cook healthy food. Makes me wonder how many people who are extremely overweight are depressed!

At one point I was 230 pounds and was left well enough alone. I found so much comfort in my literal shell and wall—but I couldn’t do everything I used to be able to do. Then one day I decided I wanted to be healthy for me and nobody else. I can kick ass—and will kick-box anyone ten ways to Sunday if I have to, and lost about 45 pounds… still am exercising and losing slowly—and find myself not being hungry for bad food anymore! I can do all my cheerleading jumps with my cheerleaders!

I don’t care if I’m attractive or not, I just want to be as healthy as I can be and be able to use my body as fully as possible- even if it is to kick some ass.

Coloma's avatar

@linguaphile Yay! Yes, it’s more about health than vanity for me too. Go girl GO!

linguaphile's avatar

@Coloma Lurve you!! Mwah!

mazingerz88's avatar

I eat too much sometimes I can’t help thinking my tongue has a brain of its own. That’s all I can say about that.

Coloma's avatar

Cheese, french bread, spinach dip, chips and salsa and sweets are my biggest weaknesses. Hi I am Coloma and I am cheeseaholic.

I went out to dinner last night and had Bourbon chicken with shrimp, but I passed in the dessert! :-)

saylo_0's avatar

When people can’t find a solution to something they tend to eat. Depressed eat. Hungry eat. Bored eat. It’s like the joke everyone disappears and food says i am here for you. Tired eat. Have a problem eat. there are so many things people eat fore. I think most are wrong and shouldn’t be the reason for eating except when meal time and Real hunger.

Coloma's avatar

Welcome @saylo_0 , would you like some cheese? :-)

saylo_0's avatar

@Coloma um thanks for welcoming me because today is my first day on this site but no thank you for the cheese.

Coloma's avatar

See my fat cat Myles in my avatar, he just dined on Gopher tartar in my garage. I had to run in the house to not hear the little crunchy bones being chewed. Uh, I think I’ve lost my appetite for the rest of tonight

gondwanalon's avatar

I’m no expert on this complex subject involving all sort of physiological and mental issues. But from what I’ve observed, a large aspect of this (no pun intended) is general lack of activity. Many people have health problems that stop them from exercising and I feel so sorry for them, That is such a sad situation. I eat as much or more than members of my family and friends who suffer with too much weight gain. I eat between 2200 and 2500 Kilo-calories a day and I’m 61 years old and weight the same as I did in high school (BMI = 21). How do I keep the weight off? Not by a fast metabolism or secret diet pill. I exercise vigorously for between 1 and 2 hours every day and also work full time in a job that offers very little physical exercise. Our bodies are made for lots of physical activity and when we fail to provide this basic health need while eating too much then we become over fat, out of shape and sick.

AngryWhiteMale's avatar

You’ve all touched on the answers to the question. I agree that a lot of it has to do with psychological/mental issues (stress, emotional substitution, addiction), but there is also the fact that restaurants and eating out as a habit have both increased over the last few decades. While there have been restaurants for hundreds of years, eating out on a frequent basis has only become a custom for many families in the post-war years. This rise, in tandem with a decline in exercise and outdoor activities, has contributed to the imbalance in nutrition and weight issues that we see now.

I think a lot of it has to do with car culture; we’ve always had urban areas and sedentary people, but people used to be far more active when they had to use their own two feet to power transportation. Now that we can just hop into a car, whip through the drive-through, and head home to cocoon (whether it be video games, work from the office, movies, TV, or even Fluther grin), we don’t get out and stretch our legs and burn off energy like we used to.

Additionally, the increase in portion sizes has skewed perceptions of what’s “normal.” A kid’s meal at McDonald’s today is what a typical meal size was like at the same restaurant 50 years ago. The behemoths they serve today weren’t ordinary items on menus until about 20–30 years ago, and have just gotten worse since.

Finally, nutritionists and other experts have cast as culprits all kinds of foods. This leads to people throwing up their hands, and figuring that at some point, whatever’s bad for you is going to be good for you anyway. Throw in the various fad and boutique diets over the years, and our tendencies as humans to give in to the temptations of the siren calls emanating from the fridge, and it’s no wonder people eat too much.

The secret, though, is carbs. By themselves, in reasonable portions/single servings, they’re important elements of our diets. But eat too many, and they throw our systems out of whack. @wundayatta, while I agree cheese has fat, it’s actually not as dangerous as items with tons of carbs. I love cheese; I’d die without it. I have cheese at every meal. But by limiting my portion sizes of everything and keeping carbs to an absolute minimum, I keep my weight, cholesterol, and other levels at normal.

That’s just me though, and what works for me may not work for you. I’m not a nutritionist, and I’m far from an expert. Feel free to disagree, or add to what I have to say.

JLeslie's avatar

@josie I think you are saying even if addiction is sometimes the reason, it can still be overcome. I agree. But, if that is what is at work, underatanding it might help us overcome it.

Just to add about portion size and calorie packed foods. I think if overweight people spent a week with naturally normal weight people and saw what they eat many of them would be shocked. Their perception of a normal diet and portion is way off. I was watching Leave it to Beaver a couple years ago, andone episode they all go out to dinner. They show Beaver’s plate of food and it was so noticeably smaller than anything that would be served today. I know it is just a TV show, but it was drastic. And, food choice is very different I think too. I naturally crave healthier things than my heavier friends, but less healthy than my thinner friends. I don’t put cheese on everything as an example since it has been mentioned above, I am one of those who thinks cheese is pretty bad for us, but I do eat it, more than I feel I should though. I know a lot of people who put cheese on almost everything. Salad, burgers, sandwiches, vegetables.

My husband and I went to the grocery store to buy a pecan pie, he had a craving, and we could get the smaller one, I think it was 8” for a price, or for $1 more get the much bigger one. He commented how it just makes you want to spend the $1 for the value. I asked him if anything like that was available growing up, and he said no. There was no such thing as mega big cakes and pies that he can remember. Me either, except a sheet cake for parties. So, if you get sucked in by the deal, you eat a bunch more pie and calories.

DominicX's avatar

What I want to know is, why in America the obesity rate is 32% but it’s 2% in South Korea. What causes that? Both are “first world” countries with high GDPs per capita and high standards of living. What causes obesity to be so much more common in one country over the other? Does that mean Americans have more psychological issues that lead to overeating than South Koreans do? Or does it have to do with American food vs. South Korean food? I’m just wondering…

JLeslie's avatar

@DominicX Maybe they still smoke a lot in that country? I am half joking. I am going on the stereotype that Asian countries smoke a lot.

My guess it is a combination of food and psychological health, not just one or the other. And, maybe less emphasis on food culturally. I don’t know how much Koreans emphasize food. I don’t think of my Korean friends talking about food like my Italian ones, but I have not been around Korean people since I moved from DC back in ‘87.

rooeytoo's avatar

I think it is the type of food. I love going to Korea because I love the food. Much more emphasis on veg and rice with an egg thrown in is the daily staple for many. The Asian people who become westernized in their dietary preferences soon rival us in the obesity department as well as the diseases that accompany that problem. You rarely ever see an obese older person of Asian origin, with the younger ones it seems to be changing. I think also there are still many more bike riders than here as well and everyone seems to exercise.

I think Australia has now surpassed the USA in obesity. It is a constant struggle here because on every block there are at least 3 fish and chip joints plus bakeries, milk bars, you name it. They have taken the simple popsicle and candy bar to the level of an art form! I could probably soar to 300 pounds if I ate everything I wanted!!!

Coloma's avatar

Yes, I’ve traveled in asia too and they do eat HUGE amounts of food, but, it is 90% veggies, rice and chicken/fish. They also walk a LOT. The bigger cities like Taipei City, Shanghai, etc. people walk all over these cities which are immense. I must have logged 300 miles walking around the larger cities when traveling and then eating japanese/chinese fare was nothing like heavy american food.

Oh man, I LOVED the dumpling houses. Nothing better than dumplings and corn soup. You could find little dumpling houses all over the city and get several veggie/chicken dumplings and a bowl of corn soup for about $2–3 american dollars.
Also the chocolate is not the same as american chocolate nor the bakery goods. Much lower in fat. The chocolate has much less fat content and it is hard to find authentic chocolate.

One night in Taipei city we went to a Hooters and they served a very american, super rich, Mud Pie….we were all in heaven after sampling lots of inferior chocolate for weeks. lol

mowens's avatar

I like the feeling of being full.

But I also run a lot.

wundayatta's avatar

@AngryWhiteMale Well, I’m glad to have a justification to eat cheese. I don’t think I eat more than a couple of ounces. Maybe I should stop using the crackers.

People keep saying the carbs are the problem. My doctors say that calories are calories and it doesn’t matter where they come from. Reduce them. Increase your physical activity, and you will change the rate at which you get heavier—possibly even start losing weight.

My doctors also say that you want to lose weight over the long term. Not ten pounds this month, but ten pounds this year. Ten pounds next year. Slow, steady weight loss is sustainable, they say. Quick weight loss leads to yo-yoing weight, which inevitably is less healthy and results in an overall gain. Each time you regain, you gain more than the last time.

Since I was thirty, I’ve been gaining about two pounds a year. It is so little, but it really adds up over the decades. If I could start losing two pounds a year… or even five pounds a year… that would be significant over time. Perhaps in a very few years. Still, it is so difficult.

Coloma's avatar

Oh, I gotta say that the asian McDonalds serve this amazing green Wasabi mayo with their fries. Nobody used ketchup.
It was deeeelicious! I will forever dream of Wasabi mayo and fries.

JLeslie's avatar

@Coloma When I was in Japan the servings were rather small compared to American restaurants. I was there in the summer and they don’t allow you to take leftovers home in the hot months. I discovered that because one night we went to Hard Rock, and the portions were typical American, and it was the first time I had leftovers after being there several days.

In America in the Chinese and Vietnamese restaurants many of the people eat those huge soups for lunch, I almost never see them eating stir fry like Americans.

Coloma's avatar

@JLeslie Yes, lots of soups. Heh, I just got in from grocery shopping for a little party here tomorrow and now I am struggling, I should go out and take a walk but I’m teetering on the edge of opening a nice cold beer. haha Unloading groceries counts as exercise right? lol.

Coloma's avatar

Wow…that’s a lot. Well maybe all the omega 3’s prevent them from getting sick. lol
I watched that movie “Alive” the other night about the Uruguayan rugby team whose plane crashed in the Andes near Chile in 1972. It was funny, one scene in the movie after the crash when they are taking stock of their meager supplies of a few bottles of wine and some chocolate but..they all smoked and had about 50 cartons of cigarettes. They were all happy!
I wonder how you could smoke at 13,000 feet and not just keel over. lol

rooeytoo's avatar

Did you ever notice that when they vietnamese people eat their huge bowls of pho, they usually leave a lot of the broth behind, they eat the rice noodles and veg/meat in it. I can’t eat all that broth either, even though it is so good, I hate to leave it behind!

JLeslie's avatar

That’s another thing besides cheese, a lot of Americans seem to like cream soups, creamy salad dressing…yuck. Oh, and then there is beer cheese soup, or whatever that is called in WI.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Because it’s there and readily available so they eat. If people had to actually work for their food, it would be a different story. If you had to physically make your double cheese burger, cut up the lettuce and tomato, fry the fries, make the milk shake, chances are you’d cut one or maybe all of those out of your daily diet. If you had to raise the cow first, and harvest the potatoes…well, you get the picture.

Many people believe they actually need the amount of food that they eat. I’ve had people ask what I had to eat that day, and they are flabbergasted at what seems like the minute amount of food. “I couldn’t live on that!” they say. Well, sure. They could.

Coloma's avatar

@Dutchess_III Agreed, I’m a major foody type, but, when I am really paying attention and choosing wisely it is amazing how well you can eat without feeling deprived with just paying attention to your choices and portions. she who forfeited her walk for a beer, hey, it;s Friday! lol

Coloma's avatar

@JLeslie Guilty of the cream soups here. I love cream of Celery and Broccoli and Mushroom. Also thousand island dressing. But I buy the lite types and actually, my most favorite is a red wine, raspberry, or Balsalmic vinegarette. I do love my baby carrots with a little lite ranch.

Oh well…..ya gotta die of something, might as well be good food. ;-)

Dutchess_III's avatar

You’re gonna get fat on them happy brownies though, @Coloma!

Coloma's avatar

@Dutchess_III Gimme some of your fried chicken woman! lol

Coloma's avatar

@Dutchess_III Fat and happy. haha

Paradox25's avatar

I’m not sure what you meant when you wrote “So why is extreme exercise regarded with skepticism, but extreme eating is regarded as no big deal”. I’m not sure where you’re hearing this at. It seems to me that we are always hearing about how exercise is good for us while eating too much, or even the ‘wrong’ types of foods are bad for us.

There can be various reasons for overeating such as trauma, depression, anxiety and many others. Some people probably don’t care either what others think of them, and frankly I don’t blame them. The way I look at is that I could get killed tommorow morning driving to work, so I’m not going to stress myself out about what I eat or what others think of me as a result of this.

AngryWhiteMale's avatar

@wundayatta, by all means, have a nibble of cheese. Here, have another one. ;-).

Yes, I’d reduce the amount of crackers. My uncle did cut out cheese completely for a bit, and he did drop some weight as a result. But it’s really the carbs that will get you.

Your doctor is correct, though; calories do count. That’s where people go wrong- they calorie-count, but with high amounts of carbs and junk food, you could stay within the appropriate amount of calories and still not lose an ounce.

I’d start off by first concentrating on portion size; half your plate should be vegetables/salad/greens, etc. the remaining quarters split between meats/proteins and carbs/fruits. The easiest way to do it (rather than running out and buying some specially designed plate) is to simply use your small plates at home. When you clear your plate, don’t go back for seconds.

Try for smaller meals throughout the day, instead of huge meals (although if you’re going to do huge meals, make breakfast the big one: that way the energy you expend during the day will help balance it out). Speaking of breakfast, don’t skip it, even if all you have is yogurt and a slice of fruit. Otherwise, you get hungry and then you’re tempted to eat whatever you see on the way (and for most people, in most offices, there’s donuts, muffins, bagels…).

Exercise is good too, and will help burn off the calories.

Once you’ve got your exercise and portion control routines down pat, then you want to start cutting down on the amount of carbs. Keep the complex ones, and ditch the simple carbs. That basically means getting rid of the sugary stuff, and retaining whole grains, fruits, etc.

Try it for a while, and see if it works. Good luck!

JLeslie's avatar

@Paradox25 I don’t know who above had said extreme exercise is regarded with skepticism, seems you were quoting there, but indeed extreme exercise is. The two things that stand out are they ruin their joints and they have shorter lifespans stastically then people who do moderate exercise. Other things I have observed is their exercise takes them away from their families, relationships, sometimes as a distraction, and sometimes an obsession. I think bottom line any extreme can be a problem.

Coloma's avatar

@JLeslie Yes, I agree. Compulsive anything is unhealthy. It’s all about balance. The person that compulsively exercises 3 hours a day and cannot skip a workout without feeling anxiety and obsession is not any healthier mentally and emotionally than an overweight person that eats compulsively. Same rope different ends.

This goes for everything!
A smoker is no better or worse than a drug addict or an alcoholic, except perhaps that nicotine is not as mind altering of a substance as other drugs therefore they are less likely to behave badly under the influence or have an alcohol or drug related accident.
Bottom line, most people have their vices and habits they need to pay attention to and there is no room to point fingers.

Someone could be the most physically healthy person around but if they have anger issues or other bad personality traits they are still not truly “healthy” in the truest sense of the word.
I know 2 extreme health nuts, they are in amazing physical shape but both of them have abrasive and controlling personalities. Meh..I’d rather hang out with someone who sneaks off for a smoke. lol

Dutchess_III's avatar

And NONE of them ^^^^ should be allowed medical care! I mean, really angry and controlling people wind up with high BP and heart problems!

Coloma's avatar

@Dutchess_III Right..I say get your angries out before they “eat” you alive. lol—

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