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  1. #1
    nee andante bechimo's Avatar
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    Default Perception of Food

    Why do people view food from a reward and punishment perspective?

    If you think about it, diets play into the "good" and "bad" dichotomy. If I eat this healthy food even though my body wants unhealthy food and in essence, I'm punishing myself, I feel good about it.

    If I'm a good girl, I'll have ice cream for dessert tonight.

    I feel bad so I'm going to eat this entire gigantic bag of grease chips!

    Isn't there a way to break out of these mindsets and view food for what it is, sustenance? Instead of going from one extreme to the other of eat crap then diet, why not just moderate your daily intake?

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    I think it is taught to people by their parents.

    "If you're a good girl, you can have a cookie"

    "If you eat your dinner, I will let you have ice cream"

    "If you make straight A's, I will take you out to dinner"

    Plus people are bought special cakes on their birthdays, and often get to have whatever kind of dinner they choose, and are told if they're well-behaved the Easter bunny will bring them baskets of candy, et al.

    In the third grade, I also had a teacher who would allow us to choose candy from a jar if we did extra credit reading and wrote a short book review of it.

    I think all of this plays into the psychological perception of food as punishment/reward.

  3. #3
    Lungs & Lips Locked Unkindloving's Avatar
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    I agree, but there are a number of reasons for the mindsets. Unhealthy foods will affect the body in different ways than healthy food, so from a health standpoint one can get obsessed with considering more than just moderation. I've known people who calculate down to calories, carbs, fats, sodium, sugars, etc and so on an so forth. It is too mind-numbing for me to even consider.
    In the same token, people who just moderate their unhealthy foods are mind-numbing for me, as well. While you may keep yourself from becoming a whale, likely won't be doing the other internal workings of your body too many favors.

    I suppose, after a while and a routine, the obsession with food feels less like an obsession. It likely just becomes second nature when you're aware enough. I don't believe in having emotional breakdowns over food though. It's just silly- the bandwagon is always going to be there and just because it may hit bumps along the way, doesn't mean that it got swallowed by a friggin sandpit and you're stuck in one spot with a lifetime supply of doritos. People just gets nuts with those sort of thoughts, then it can drive them to obsess even further, and have that good/bad mentality even harder.

    I prefer the mindset of making better choices with my food. I refuse to eat what I think tastes like cardboard. If it does, I'll see if there's a way to rock it out to my liking. I refuse to deprive myself of what I may want to eat, but never beat myself up for it or treat it as a reward.
    To me, the people who treat food such extreme ways have problems that lie far deeper than their health or opinion on food itself.
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    I think the only way to break out of it psychologically, also, is to shift psychologically through various things. One thing that has helped me is to learn about how people eat in other cultures, or how they ate during different time periods.

    It also helps if you notice how much better you feel if you eat lightly when you're hungry most of the time, and then only eat really rich/fattening/sugary things once a week or less. Psychologically you realize that nothing tastes as good as thin feels. I mean I used to think that statement was really warped, like something an anorexic would say, but in truth you don't have to have an eating disorder - if you just eat healthy you really do...feel...better!

    Hmmm, what else? The more you eat healthy food, the more you crave it. It's true.

    It also helps to be surrounded by obese people eating junk. Nothing motivates me to eat right like leaving the house and seeing a bunch of obsese people inhaling some fast food. It seriously freaks me out. This started I think when I worked in a grocery store and I noticed how disgusting some people's diets were.

    All of this can go into the psychological de-training. But it's a process, it doesn't happen overnight.

  5. #5
    Senior Member ThinkingAboutIt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jenaphor View Post
    Why do people view food from a reward and punishment perspective?

    If you think about it, diets play into the "good" and "bad" dichotomy. If I eat this healthy food even though my body wants unhealthy food and in essence, I'm punishing myself, I feel good about it.

    If I'm a good girl, I'll have ice cream for dessert tonight.

    I feel bad so I'm going to eat this entire gigantic bag of grease chips!

    Isn't there a way to break out of these mindsets and view food for what it is, sustenance? Instead of going from one extreme to the other of eat crap then diet, why not just moderate your daily intake?
    I think it is stress related. If you are under constant stress, you need something that makes you feel good. While it might be something that is ultimately bad for you, it is temporary happiness. Isn't that the same reason people get addicted to drugs? I am having this problem with my coffee drinks. I love them. I could drink them all day long too! 'happiness in a cup' lol.
    Just because you can doesn't mean you should.

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    Intriguing.... Quinlan's Avatar
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    The obesity stigma is a powerful one.
    Act your age not your enneagram number.

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    Stigma? Do you not live in the U.S.? People have gotten considerably larger here, even in just the past ten years or so. I'm absolutely appalled at the number of overweight children and teenagers, because they're going to have a harder time getting healthy than people who at least started out their development at an average or slender weight.

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    Intriguing.... Quinlan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marmie Dearest View Post
    Stigma? Do you not live in the U.S.?
    No

    People have gotten considerably larger here,
    Yeah and so what? This just increases the stigma.

    even in just the past ten years or so.
    I don't think the evidence supports this.

    I'm absolutely appalled at the number of overweight children and teenagers, because they're going to have a harder time getting healthy than people who at least started out their development at an average or slender weight.
    The fact that you're appalled by their existense just proves the stigma.
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    ...you sound like a person in denial.

    People are getting fatter because they're eating more shit.

    Of course there are people with genetic or thyroid conditions, but generally those people are merely overweight, not obese.

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    Intriguing.... Quinlan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marmie Dearest View Post
    ...you sound like a person in denial.
    In denial of what exactly?

    I do deny that the united states has had any dramatic increase in obesity over the last 10 years as the evidence does not seem to suggest that:

    In 2007-2008, the prevalence of obesity was 32.2% among adult men and 35.5% among adult women. The increases in the prevalence of obesity previously observed do not appear to be continuing at the same rate over the past 10 years, particularly for women and possibly for men.
    http://jama.ama-assn.org/content/303/3/235.full

    People are getting fatter because they're eating more shit.
    Perhaps, so what has that got to do with my first post? If anything this is a stereotype and stereotypes are commonly applied to stigmatised groups, therefore you're once again proving the stigma exists.

    Of course there are people with genetic or thyroid conditions, but generally those people are merely overweight, not obese.
    Prove it, I think it's the other way around, the bigger you are the more likely you have some kind of metabolic problem. Just look at overeating studies, it is very difficult for normal weight people to overeat themselves to obesity without some sort of metabolic disorder but reaching mere overweight would be easier.
    Act your age not your enneagram number.

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