Conditioned Hypereating

In my last post I promised to talk more about Dr. Kessler’s practical strategies to help end overeating. In order to really understand why and how these strategies work it helps to have a little more background on how we got so addicted to these foods that are killing us.

In his book The End Of Overeating he uses the term conditioned hypereating. I hadn’t heard this term before but it immediately resonated with me. It seems to describe beautifully what has happened in the last few decades, resulting in the undeniable rise in obesity, especially in North America.

As part of a marketing strategy designed to bring in – and keep – customers the food corporations have convinced us that More Is Better. More meals a day, more on our plates, more sugar, fat and salt…

We became conditioned to expect food to be everywhere, and in large quantities. Snack foods like muffins and donuts have increased in variety and in size. Meals at fast food chains and other restaurants are now super meals or mega deals.

Our brains accept what seems to be a logical conclusion: More is Better.

But in reality there is a huge flaw in this logic. More is not better. More is simply more. They are not synonyms.

Think about it: More is simply more. More food results in more pounds added on. More pounds added on results in being more overweight. And being more overweight results in more disease. More disease results in more physical and mental degeneration.

When it comes to food more is not better. More is killing us.

But now, we’re hooked. Conditioned to overeat. And this hypereating benefits no one except the food manufacturers, the fast food chains, and the drug companies.

I’m going to repeat this: We are conditioned to hypereat.

We are taught that food makes everything better. We are taught that in our increasingly stressful lives we deserve a break, a break meaning a chocolate bar, ice-cream, a donut, a sugary soda drink or a mega-hamburger. And not just one, because…more is better.

And when we try to stop this overeating we fail. We blame ourselves or lie to ourselves, and the only way we know to stop the horrible emotional mix of shame, anxiety and depression…is to eat.

We have been conditioned to use food as a reward, a way of celebrating, a way of grieving, and a way of amusing ourselves. We are using food to dull uncomfortable emotions, to deal with stress. We have forgotten that food is meant to physically sustain us, not control our emotions.

The first step to ending overeating is to recognize that we’ve been conditioned. Then we must decide whether we want to be controlled by these corporations that don’t care when we get diabetes, have strokes or heart attacks and die. We have to decide that we want control back.

We need to stop blaming our unhealthy diets on personal failure and a lack of willpower. We have been feed some highly addictive substances and some highly effective brainwashing. But, it’s possible to turn it around.

In my next post I’ll be talking about more strategies to change this conditioning.


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