Torres column: Avoid Overeating
Mary wakes up early, gets the kids ready for school, makes their lunch and takes them to school. She comes home and gets ready for work. When she notices it is time to go to work, she opens the garage door, starts her car and goes to work. Mary works until she realizes that she is hungry. Because she has not eaten and it is now 12:30 she is very hungry and goes to the closest restaurant, orders fast food and eats until she is full and a little extra.
Mary finishes working, stops to pick up the kids, goes home, picks up around the house, watches her favorite TV show and after an hour she starts to make dinner. As she is making dinner, she starts eating chips, crackers and cheese, and a couple of sweets. Mary finishes dinner and notices that the clock says 6:30 p.m. By the time she would sit down to eat it would 7 p.m., but she is not hungry anymore after all the junk she ate.
It has been more than six hours since she ate, or at least that is what she wants to think. Mary feels guilty for the snacks she ate earlier and thinks that she has no self-control. However, around 9 p.m. she is hungry again, and she snacks on junk food because she thinks that that is better than sitting and eating an entire meal that late.
Jessie, like many other women, is giving to her family. She is usually thinking about her family and trying to make everyone happy. However, she also doesn’t know how to communicate her needs and feelings. When she feels stressed she does not talk to her husband because the husband does not have the skills to listen. She thinks that her kids are too young to understand her. Jessie has two sisters that live close to her house, but they usually come to her for advice when they have problems. Therefore, she feels that she needs to be the strong person to support everyone.
She does not feel comfortable talking to her husband, kids or sisters. Instead of looking for help, she decides to eat and drink, and she does this quite often. When she is eating and drinking, she forgets about her needs and feels relaxed, at least for the moment until she goes to sleep and repeats the same routine the next day.
These two stories are more typical than we think. Do you feel like you relate to Mary or Jessie? The problem is not the problem itself. The problem many times is that we don’t recognize that there is a problem that is creating the problem. The diet is not what is wrong or the overeating.
The problem for Mary is her lifestyle and the lack of understanding that her lifestyle will not help her in the future with her weight and overall health. For Jessie, the problem is that she does not communicate and refuses to put her needs before anyone else. If she continues hiding her needs, one day she will notice that her coping mechanism is not helping her anymore.
The solution for Mary is very simple, prioritize her health and make time to eat on a schedule to avoid overeating and stop believing that she is too busy. She will never stop being busy. She has been busy ever since she can remember, and she will find out that her partner is not going to change. All she needs to do is make time for her health.
Jessie needs to stop assuming that other people don’t listen to her, and she needs to speak up regarding her needs. When she feels that she can’t handle it anymore because she is tired of cleaning the house, maybe she can sit talk to the kids and request that they learn to help organize the house. When she feels lonely she can communicate that to her husband. When she made a mistake and she does not know how to handle it, maybe her sister has made a similar mistake before and she can give her good advice. The solution: She needs to communicate when her gut tells her to do so.
No self-control, no diet, no program, no nutritionist, no personal trainer is needed. The solutions are in their hands.
Sandro Torres is owner of Custom Body Fitness in Carbondale and Glenwood Springs and author of the book “Lose Weight Permanently.” His column appears on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month in Body & More.