Back when we were hunter-gatherers if you came across something which was good to eat and provided lots of energy, you would eat as much of it as you could because you did not know where the next good meal was coming from and if you did not eat it, someone else would. This natural desire to eat as much as possible and keep our stomachs full has not entirely gone away. For some people, overcoming this natural evolutionary advantage is very difficult.
Eating whenever you could would have been an advantage for people whose lifestyles were nomadic and who used a lot of energy up in day to day living. Each meal would have been foraged, hunted, prepared from scratch and ground, pummeled, cut and cooked so it made sense to choose foods which were high in energy such as sugars or fat. Those equipped with this evolutionary tool would fare better in times of famine than those who ate less at a time because these would lose out to the over-eaters and have less reserves when food was scarce. I use the term overeaters wisely because actually, in a hunter-gather society overeating simply means eating until you cannot eat any more at that sitting – you will rarley find a hunter-gather who is overweight because life is simply too hard.
However, this instinct is still with us and most people find cravings for sweet, fatty and carbohydrate-rich food a problem. Over time, we learn to curb our appetite for food due to society’ s pressure and education of the dangers of being obese but many people find their natural tendancy to eat kicks in whenever food is around – and the fact is that today we do not need to overeat beause we are hardly likely to be without a meal for many hours, let alone days and we use far less energy living than our ancestors did.
Undestanding the scientific reasons behind overeating and obesity is one of the key stages in understanding how to overcome these cravings. Understand that it is natural to crave sweet things and things which provide quick energy release like sugars but also understand that for long term filling-up and good health, foods which give slow release nutrition like fruit, vegetables and pulses are far better in the long term.
What was once an evolutionary advantage to a few is now a disadvantage to those same people . Food is available round the clock, we have a constant supply of sugary, fatty things and the only real way to combat and override this is to re-educate how we think annd see food. Ultimately , obesity is usually down to the person and they need understanding, help but above all, will power to succeed in losing the excess weight.