Overeating and Obesity

According to U.S. News, the United States sits at the top of the charts for adult and childhood obesity. Now I know that Americans have a preference for winning first place, but this is one race we do not want to win!

In the last 35 years alone, America’s obesity rates have multiplied 2 to 4 times in all age groups. Also during those 35 years, the amount of states for which more than 25 percent of their population is overweight increased from zero to 32.

While it may not be a shock that poor diet and lack of exercise contribute to this growth in obesity rates, many people are starting to turn to another culprit: portion control, or lack thereof.

There are many reasons why people overeat, but there are a couple of standout offenders:

  1. Super strict diets. Whereas most Americans view diets in a positive light, they can actually contribute to binge-eating. Following a strict diet makes your body think you’re starving, meaning your brain sends signals telling you to eat extra food.
  2. Poor sleep. In a Mayo Clinic study, researchers found that those who got 80 minutes less sleep each night ate an average of approximately 550 extra calories the next day. Lack of sleep lowers your levels of the “feel-full hormone,” leptin, while increasing levels of the hunger-driving hormone ghrelin.
  3. Exercise. Contrary to popular belief, exercise can actually make you gain weight—but not just exercise alone. Many people believe that when they exercise they have “earned” an extra meal that day, which leads to overeating and weight gain.

Just because we are nearing the end of summer doesn’t mean you can forget having a “bikini body”! Be sure to avoid super restricting diets, get enough sleep each night and exercise — but don’t overeat.