For me, overeating doesn’t have as much to do with how good the food tastes as it does with how much anxiety I’m having at the time of the binge. Being anxious and stressed out has a LOT to do with why I crave comfort foods. I’ve also been doing quite a bit of thinking about the type of overeater I am. I read somewhere that pinpointing why we overeat is the first step in learning how to manage it better.
According to Dr. Daniel Amen, MD there are 5 types of overeaters. Truthfully, I see a part of me in all of these categories.
- The Sad Overeater: this type of overeater tends to eat by self-medicating. Usually the underlying condition is due to depression, boredom, or loneliness. People with Seasonal Affective Disorder fall into this category as well.
- The Compulsive Overeater: this type of overeater thinks about food all of the time. It is difficult to change their focus to something else. Nighttime-eaters fit into this category. These people tend to overeat and/or gorge during the night.
- The Impulsive Overeater: this type of overeater sees food and just takes it without any afterthought. They intend to eat well, but when they don’t, they use the old saying, ‘I’ll just start my diet tomorrow.’ This type of person usually has problems focusing, being inattentive and is often bored. People with ADD can fall into this category, according to Dr. Amen.
- The Anxious Overeater: this type eats to calm down feelings of anxiety, tension, feelings of being nervous or fear.
- The Impulsive-Compulsive Overeater: this type of person is a combination of the compulsive overeater and the impulsive overeater. He or she may be disorganized, easily distracted, have a short attention span; also may focus on anxious or depressing thoughts.
The one that I struggle with these days is Anxious Overeating. What’s strange is that I morphed into this category; when I began my long, destructive road into morbid obesity I was clearly a Sad Overeater.
Maybe, as periods in our lives change so then do our eating habits. The one constant that remains sadly, is the food itself. We can’t cut food out of our lives, so we have no other choices other than to stay on the same destructive path or make better decisions about what we eat.
Do you agree with this methodology on defining why we overeat? What kind of overeater are you? What foods are your kryptonite?