Tuesday, November 21, 2017 8:14

Prevent Overeating

Posted by on Thursday, May 28, 2009, 16:17
This news item was posted in Obesity category and has 0 Comments so far.

A strategy to prevent overeating involves using odors that keep us in a alert, wakeful state because we are better able to use our intellectual, logical capacities when we are not tired or even drowsy. I once attempted a small weight loss study whose only rule was: no eating after 6pm.

My assumption was that we eat more when we are tired because the rational functions are less dominant. The limbic brain, the seat of our emotional life, tends to dominate when we are tired, which may lead to less than rational decisions about food.

Most people who “cheat” on their diets tend to do so during the evening hours. Most people on diets wake up in the morning with great resolve. If they are on special food plan, they are able to stick to it, usually without significant problems. They may even eat their sensible dinner, just as planned.

But their resolve begins to weaken after dinner, when they are relaxing, spending time with the family, or they home alone. The activities that use intellectual capacities may be over for the day, and fatigue is setting in. The rational brain, the part says, ‘Don’t eat anymore, you don;t need more food,” becomes less effective.

The message from the limbic brain that says, ” That chocolate cake would taste so good you will just eat a little peace,” begins to become stronger. People who are not overweight usually don’t understand this. They see food as one of many small temptations and don’t comprehend how chocolate cake can come to dominate a person’s thoughts.

If you think about it, you can see evidence that behavior is often different during the evening hours. On the negative side, more arguments and even more violent fights take place during the evenings. Most violent crimes is committed at night.

People who drink to excess or use other mind altering drugs tend to gather in groups at night and feel less inhibited about their activities. Most people avoid drinking very much during the day, even at a party. At night, however, their standards change and they don’t understand why they took those last two drinks.

On the positive side, we usually dance or go to movies and seek other forms of entertainment at night, and we tend to reserve the evening for romance and sex. These are all activities that are dominated by the emotional brain.

Of course, these events are not by necessity restricted to evening hours, but most sicieties consider them after sundown activities because we don’t need sharp intellectual functioning to engange in them. As one woman put in, ‘I read nonfiction during the day, when i can absorb facts, but i read fiction at night, when i want to get involved in a good yarn” Humans are adaptable, and we can learn to be at our intellectual best in the evening if we have to, but it appears that our natural tendency is to think less and feel more at night.

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