Published July 24, 2011

Why We (Over)Eat Things We Don't Even Like

by Helen M. Ryan

If you're like me, sometimes you eat things you don't even like.

Take Cheetos, for instance. I don't like them. They taste like styrofoam and they make me puffy. And yet...when I am tired or stressed, I sometimes discover that my fingers are orange from eating my daughter's Cheetos (Puffs).

The bummer with eating foods we don't really like is that we waste calories on things that have nothing to do with pleasure or fun. If I am going to eat something fattening and pretty much useless, wouldn't it be better to eat some expensive, delicious melt-in-my-mouth Belgian chocolate rather than

Hershey's (wax) chocolate?

In all reality, when I am "stress eating," I am eating not for flavor or fun but to relieve some pressure in an overbooked and fatigued day.

I want salt, sugar, salt, sugar…

...and it doesn't matter what form those ingredients come in. Just bring it.

I think the trick is for us to find other ways to relieve our stress and fatigue. In the past I have used exercise as a stress release and it works most excellently.

  • Sleep is oftentimes out of the question, but what about yoga?
  • Or reading a book, or watching a movie?
  • Maybe snuggling with your child or significant other?

Do these things really work, or are they poor substitutes for some good, old-fashioned carbs?

What do you think?