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What Really Makes You Fat

Simply not having enough awareness about eating could be the culprit. A recent study designed to examine the attitudes of middle aged American women toward food, found that those who tended to eat impulsively or who were described as "guilt-ridden dieters" were the most obese among a group of 200 women who participated in the study. Those who weighed least were women who were concerned about nutrition and were determined to eat well and those who were creative cooks focused on healthy food for their families. In the middle was a group of women who led busy lives and were preoccupied with responsibilities and activities other than food, and therefore tended to avoid cooking. The average age of the women in the study was 46. This was a well-educated group - two-thirds of the participants had four-year college degrees. The researchers compared the groups of women by percentage of body fat, waist size and body mass index. The study was published in the December 2009 issue of Health Education & Behavior.

My take? It's not surprising that impulsive eating was linked to weight problems in this study. When you reach for chocolates, snack foods or other "comfort" foods, it's often because you're stressed, depressed, or bored. When you eat in response to social cues - such as having lunch or dinner when you're not hungry - or when you eat unconsciously, you're not really tuned in to your nutritional needs or your body's signals of hunger and satiety. To successfully control your weight, you have to pay attention to what you eat - both quality and quantity - and carve out the time to think about your nutritional needs and prepare healthy meals.

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Reader Comments (6)

One way to eat more consciously is to keep a food diary. It can be as simple as just writing down everything you eat, or you can include notes about how you felt at the time and later. This may help identify emotional eating and food triggers.

March 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSuzy Staywell

I think that the processed foods are a big culprit. I know when I eat processed foods, I tend to crave more food. And I eat those foods when I am looking for comfort actually. It's not easy to make yourself a priority but the pay off is great..and that means taking time to find out what your eating and how much you should eat. Education and motivation to change your lifestyle is key.

steph h

March 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSteph H

Another great way to increase your level of awareness when it comes to eating healthy is to educate yourself on a daily basis. I am signed up for several online health newsletters like Dr. Weil and Dr. Mercola and am constantly reading books on health to increase my level of health consciousness. When you start to read what and hear what someone else is saying often times you start to think and act like them. I've heard the principle you become like the 5 people you surround yourself with most because their thinking effects your way of thinking.

Dr. Josh Axe

I was in an airport listening to 2 MDs talk research. When 1 left, I said to the remaining doctor, please find a cure for obesity. He said, "Think of your body as a fire. If you want to fuel the fire, do you use paper or wood?" This simple logic helped me think in a different way while deciding chips or carrots, M&Ms or raisins, etc.. I have not lost all my weight, but I think differently when choosing foods to fuel my body and it is slowly coming off.

March 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBabzola

It would be great if someone would discuss the one thing that would assist in weight-loss...satiety.

Ken Leebow

BTW, this one visual ( should get most people to stop drinking sugared soda (Coke, Pepsi and others).

March 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKen Leebow

Great advice.. Seems that this part - 'really tuned in to your nutritional needs or your body's signals of hunger and satiety' is most important ever...Thanks for sharing and possibility to comment! Welcome to visit Ideal Weight Blog to find some recipes and great articles! Thanks!

April 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSandra Anderson
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