Obsessive Compulsive Eating

What is Obsessive Compulsive Eating? This article is meant to help you understand it and to stay away from it.

The current diet dogma is totally confusing. Contradictory headlines come out on a daily basis, you’ve heard them all: “carbs are good, carbs are bad”, “eat low fat, eat healthy fats”, “count your calories, don’t count calories”, “high protein, 40/30/30”. It’s no wonder nobody has a clue what to eat anymore. This is all contributing to our national Obsessive Compulsive Eating (OCE) habits.

What differentiate obsessive compulsive eating and good/healthy eating?

Eating good food, looking good and losing weight is not that difficult if you know what to believe and what to ignore, this however is easier said than done. Here is my top 10 list of diet misconceptions that can be sabotaging your diet and stopping your weight loss dead in its tracks. Avoid these OCE-type of mistakes and get back on track to enjoying your food, losing weight, and looking great.

1. I have to drastically cut calories to lose weight faster.

Drastically cutting calories will obviously help you lose weight rapidly, however it is usually unsustainable and you will end up crashing if you keep your calories too low for too long. It’s just too hard to eat extremely low calorie every day. Even the most disciplined dieters will end up cracking under the continued social pressure to eat more food. If you are only looking for a temporary weight loss and need it to happen fast then this might work for a short time, but this is not sustainable.

A better way to jump-start your diet, is adding in regular fasting days. Taking a 24 hour period off of eating is very healthful, it helps you reduce calories without sacrificing what you like to eat on your non-fasting days, and maybe even more importantly it stimulates your body to produce more growth hormone. Yes that’s right growth hormone, the same one you hear about the celebrities taking to ‘stay young’. Growth hormone has many anti aging benefits, and one of the most interesting being fat burning! The most practical and easy to follow fasting diet I have ever come across is Eat Stop Eat by Brad Pilon.

2. The stricter the diet, the better it will work.

If you can stick to a super strict diet, and count every calorie, and measure and weigh all of your food while not go completely insane, then yes you will lose weight. But we all know this is basically impossible, and sanity is something that I’ll bet you value. Super strict diets are almost always doomed to fail even if they produce weight loss initially. Any diet that is going to work long term must be easy to follow and fit into your lifestyle, instead of you needing to rearrange your life to fit your diet. A strict diet just means you are stressing about food too much. Constantly thinking about your diet and food will always leave you unsatisfied even if you do lose weight. This is just no way to live. A good healthy diet is one that doesn’t consume your life.

Strict diet could be one of the most strangest obsessive compulsive eating habits.

3. Skipping meals won’t help me lose weight.

False. Simple math, if you eat less you will lose weight. This is the whole concept behind intermittent fasting for weight loss. In healthy adults there is no magic to eating regular meals and there is definitely no magic to eating breakfast. Eat it if you like, but if you don’t regularly eat breakfast don’t worry, there’s no scientific proof that you have to eat breakfast or even 3 meals per day. If 1 or 2 meals per day is how you like to eat, then continue to do so. Don’t let the diet dogma tell you that you MUST eat more times per day. Fit your diet to your life. Your body is perfectly equipped to handle eating once per day, as well as twice, 3 times; 4 times etc…it’s really up to you.

"Breakfast is the single most important meal of the day" is another obsessive compulsive eating symtom. 2 Meal Solution has more insights on this.

4. Eating small, frequent meals boosts your metabolism.

This one really gets under my skin because it makes no sense at all. Again, this is an OCE.

Let me repeat what I've learnt from Brad Pilon so it makes sense. For the 1000th times, Brad emphasis that your metabolism is almost completely controlled by your muscle mass and organs. The food you eat has almost no impact on your metabolic rate at all. Although it is true that it does take some energy to metabolize the food you eat, the amount of energy it costs is far less than the amount of calories you eat.

For example eating 400 calories of food might cost your body 20 calories to burn it due to the metabolic cost of digesting the food itself. This has no effect on your resting metabolism that is always running at its regular rate no matter what you eat.

This is hardly a good exchange when it comes to a lasting weight loss program. The only thing you can do to lose weight is eat fewer calories than you burn off in a day. The amount of calorie burning that comes from each meal is so small it will not make a difference. Think of it this way; if you don’t eat at all today, I guarantee you will still burn a day’s worth of calories.

5. Eating carbohydrates makes you fat.

Eating too much of any kind of food will make you fat. Carbohydrates just happen to be very easy to overeat. They don’t seem to fill us up or satisfy our hunger that well. Think of all the pasta, cereal, French fries, bagels, bread, cake, and sugary snack foods you could eat and not feel full. Now think of how much less food you could handle eating if it were all protein like steak or chicken until you’d feel sick of eating it. This is the problem with refined carbohydrates, in moderate amounts they are totally fine, but a moderate amount of fettuccini Alfredo never fills anyone up!

6. Fat free is calorie free. Eliminating all fats is necessary to lose weight. Does Low-fat is Healthy.

There is nothing wrong with fat. Fat tastes good, and it is satisfying to eat. Some fats are essential for good health. One of the true joys of food is the fats that make it taste so good. Fat is not your enemy, the enemy is too many calories. Fat happens to be dense in calories so it gets picked on for causing weight gain but fat itself is not a problem if you’re eating a good diet. There is no reason to shop for fat free foods or low fat foods. Often times the chemicals and substitutes they use to replace the fat are less healthy than the regular version with some fat in it.

7. Vitamin supplements are necessary for everyone. Protein supplements are necessary to gain muscle.

In most industrialized western countries it’s almost impossible to be deficient in any vitamins or minerals no matter how bad you think your diet is. Take a vitamin supplement if it makes you feel better about your diet, but you most likely don’t need it.

If you are carrying mini boxes with you everywhere and with vitamin pills or supplements of all kind in them, you are on obsessive compulsive eating. Try not to do it, unless you are really in need.

Most people in industrialized countries also take in more than enough protein in a day. Vegetarians and vegans may need some extra protein and protein powders are a very convenient protein source. From this standpoint protein powders may be beneficial considering protein is usually the more expensive food and takes more time to prepare and spoils faster (ie: meats, eggs, dairy, fish, poultry).

8. Eating a salad is always a healthy choice.

It’s hard to argue this one, salads are pretty good. Throw any amount of mixed fruits and vegetables in a bowl and you’re doing pretty good. However, as soon as you start loading it down with rich cheeses and dressings it becomes a full meal that can get high in calories in no time. I’m not saying you can’t have dressing or cheese on your salad, just be aware that most of the calories in any salad come from toppings like dressing and cheese, and can add up very quickly. Love salad? Learn to make your own healthy salad dressing.

9. I should not eat anything after 7:00pm.

There is no magic to the time of day that you eat. If you were a shift worker and didn’t start work till 7pm this rule would sound pretty ridiculous, wouldn’t it?! Don’t stress about the time of day that you eat. If you feel like eating at midnight, then have something to eat. Remember the only thing that makes you gain weight is eating more calories than you burn, it doesn’t matter when you eat them, but how many you consume. If you only ate one small salad per day, and it happened to be at midnight, do you really think you’d gain any weight? Didn’t think so.

10. Low Calorie Soft Drinks are good for losing weight.

Trick question. Losing weight as we have already discussed is a matter of eating less calories overall. If you replace a high calorie regular soft drink with a zero calorie soft drink and keep the rest of your diet the same, then this is an effective way to reduce calories. If on the other hand you are replacing water with a zero calorie soft drink then you’re not any further ahead. Drinks that have a significant amount of calories and sugar in them can add up fast and totally ruin any fat loss you were hoping for. As a general rule, only drink water and other fluids that have no calories in them, unless you’re on juice fasting. Get your calories from food, and get water and hydration from your drinks.

If you are serious about staying away from obsessive compulsive eating, take the above points into consideration and eat healthy.

Learn more about Obsessive Compulsive Eating