Weight Loss Challenge # 83 Why Do We Eat Food We Don’t Even Like?

Weight loss formula: Eat Less + Move More = Weight Loss! Easy!

If you are losing weight or ever tried to lose weight you may be aware of all the challenges surrounding what we think should be fairly easy, but turns out to be anything but easy!

If we were to give a number to each individual challenge, I bet there would be more than 100! The more common, or easily identifiable challenges would take the first 25 spots and then there are all the other challenges that take us by surprise. Challenge #83 is one of the ones that takes us by surprise.

Indeed, until we’re trying to lose weight we don’t even notice this strange behavior. With all the good-tasting food surrounding us, why do we ever eat anything we don’t like?

The obvious reason is we’re really hungry and there is nothing else to eat. That’s both obvious and reasonable.

We may eat something we don’t like to avoid hurting somebody’s feelings. That’s okay too, if it doesn’t happen that much.

Then we eat stuff we don’t like when we’re not hungry and nobody’s feelings are involved.
He hates nacho chips and these are soggy and stale but since they're nothing else in the cupboard, he'll eat them anyway!

He hates nacho chips and these are soggy and stale but since they’re nothing else in the cupboard, he’ll eat them anyway!

Why did I do that? It’s an unexplainable habit from a rational point of view, and considering I was trying to lose weight, it made even less sense. To figure out why we do things that don’t make sense and are counterproductive to weight loss, it helps to look at the chain of actions that lead to the behavior.Screen Shot 2014-12-19 at 5.58.28 AMI did it because I was bored, not because I was hungry, and certainly not because I was craving (gross) cappuccino potato chips!

There are solutions for overcoming the challenge of eating food that doesn’t taste good.

We can learn to identify the real reason behind wanting to eat.

  • It’s not hunger.
  • It’s not a specific craving.
  • It’s an action to relieve boredom.

Once we know why we think we want to eat, we can create new actions that don’t involve food to relieve boredom. We may decide we’d still like to eat a little something, so we will need a strategy to help us avoid food we don’t like.

As crazy as it sounds, for some of us, once we have it in our heads we want to “eat something,” we’re not satisfied until we do. This is getting at the real heart of Weight Loss Challenge #83. What to do when the urge to eat is strong and there is nothing good to eat?

It helps to understand the two kinds of hunger. One is a true, physical hunger meaning the body requires some calories for fuel. It’s called homeostatic hunger. The other hunger feels just as real, but the body doesn’t need fuel; the body is trying to trick you saying it “needs food.” That’s called hedonic hunger.

Use your mind to “run your body” instead of the other way around. You know you are bored, not hungry. You know that you must be accountable for everything you eat. You have limits to how much (how many calories) you can have to make progress with your weight loss. Wasting calories on food you don’t like, means fewer calories for the foods you do like. Wasting calories on foods you don’t like, when you’re not even hungry, means fewer calories for the next time you really are hungry.

Break the negative behavior chain!

Build a new behavior chain to stop eating food that you don’t like! If you need some ideas on how to do that, you can get help by participating in weight loss group support meetings such as Weight Watchers.

You can beat Weight Loss Challenge #83!





Jackie Conn

About Jackie Conn

Jackie Conn is married and has four grown daughters and four grandchildren. She is a Weight Watchers success story. She's a weight loss expert with 25 years of experience guiding women and men to their weight-related goals. Her articles on weight management have been published in health, family and women's magazines. She has been a regular guest on Channel 5 WABI news, FOX network morning program Good Day Maine and 207 on WCSH.