If you’re like most people in our culture, you don’t just eat when you’re hungry and you don't stop when you’re full. We have the luxury of living in a land of food abundance, but it comes at a price.
Psychologist Kelly Brownell, dean of the school of public policy at Duke University and formerly the director of Yale’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, refers to the United States as a “toxic food environment.” What he means is that everywhere we turn, low-cost, high-calorie foods tempt us. And there is a massive marketing machine behind these foods—powered in part by psychologists and other scientists who know exactly the most powerful way to display things, use the power of scent, and create the most attractive images.
Combine this abundance with stress, loneliness, the need to unwind, and other modern concerns, and you may find yourself living in an unhealthy pattern. Typically, these feelings combine with an automatic negative way of thinking and result in overeating or unnecessary snacking.
3 Common Reasons We Eat When We’re Not Hungry
Do you find yourself walking in after a hard day’s work and heading straight to the fridge or the snack cupboard? Are you actually hungry? Is food the solution to feeling stressed and needing to unwind? Consider a more targeted alternative solution, maybe involving a quick walk around the block before walking in the door. Or maybe changing into more comfortable clothes would feel good. Or listening to relaxing music instead of the news would help you make the transition from work to commute to home without it ending in overeating or snacking.