Why people gain weight: Psychological reasons

The feeling of hunger is unknown to a modern man for long. We are talking about hunger in that instinctive state, when you need food to survive. The shelves of shops and fridges are bursting with food, restaurants, cafes and snack bars are sparkling with signs.

We are accustomed to chewing even in the cinema. Minutes of waiting in line at the airport or for a friend on the bench are often filled with quick snacks. Food is available in abundance. But is this the reason why there are so many overweight people around?

And why do we still assess the scale of someone’s financial disaster with the question “Do you even have money to buy some food?”

Food has long ceased to be a means of saturation and has become a way to negotiate with yourself or an indicator of well-being: “Tell me where and what you eat, and I’ll know how cool you live.”

Maybe that’s why selfies with plates are so popular in the last couple of years? Getting an order and eating it is considered ill manners. Getting an order, taking a picture of it and posting it in social network – this is the trend of the second decade of the 21st century.

Now let’s consider food as a means to negotiate with ourselves. What are we negotiating about?


Or their absence. The “we eat the stress up” scheme sounds too simplistic. That is, we do eat up stress, as well. But we also eat, when we want to feel sorry for ourselves, to indulge ourselves and to entertain ourselves. When we are lonely, we also eat.

Food consumption:

  • First, helps us fill in the time.
  • Secondly, it gives us a feeling of warmth, which we lack so much in our life.

When we “eat up” our emotions, we fall into a double trap:

a) on the one hand, we eat to rid ourselves of unpleasant experiences.

b) on the other hand, having eaten and discovering an extra kilogram on the scales, we begin to reproach ourselves for the lack of restraint, the lack of willpower, and again fall into the negative side.

And we eat again. Pleasure-guilt, guilt-pleasure – become two eternal friends, like you and the fridge.


The speed of modern life is such that we have no time to stop and listen to our desires. In addition, the entire mass culture is aimed at increasing the speed of consumption. Promotions, discounts, bonuses “buy 2 for the price of one” – it all sounds like shouting: “Faster! Otherwise you won’t make it “, “Hurry, or you will lose.”

In this rhythm, it is very difficult to understand what we really want.

We grab a double cheeseburger and two sushi sets for the price of one, because we are hungry?

No, because this is a favorable price offer. And the stock will end in 2 hours.

And again, we fall into a double trap:

a) on the one hand, we made a bargain,

b) on the other hand, we know that throwing food away is a sin.

And we eat for ourselves, for mama, for papa, for all the relatives. Or for the company – a friend suggested: “Do you want a muffin?”, and we answered: “Yes”, before we had time to understand whether we really want it.


For example, in a boring and gray everyday routine, a fridge filled with colorful jars, boxes or bundles becomes the only bright and interesting place. And food becomes the only joy and variety.

Oh well, there is no sense in losing weight either, since the only ones who see us are the fridge the TV and the computer. Oh, maybe, our cat, as well. However, the fridge and the TV don’t really care. And the cat is fat, as well.

There is dullness and routine, there is no close person, there are no colorful colors in life. But we have a fridge full of food.

And this is another trap:

a) we tell ourselves that we will lose weight as soon as we meet someone,

b) we can not meet someone, because people are pushed away by our excess weight.

We could diversify our life with an interesting hobby, or at least occasionally get out on a tour of the city, but we are already so fat that it is difficult to walk for a long time. And we think: “Why should I do this, I’d rather stay at home and eat.”


Or to take up more space in the world. The uncertainty about the right to occupy a place in the world is characteristic of those who, even for a short time, felt themselves to be an unwanted child.

This may be the moment when your mother found out she was pregnant, and had not yet decided whether she should give birth. Such people constantly doubt whether they are accepted, whether they are loved, whether people notice them or not.

Becoming fat for them is a way to expand the boundaries of their body to take up more space in the world.

Same thing with fear:

a) on the one hand, it can be “eaten up”, calmed down,

b) on the other hand, you can become physically larger, which means you will fear less.

One more trap:

  • no matter how large we are outside, the one who is inside is still afraid. And there is no point in “showering” him with food. He will eat and again be afraid.

The same thing goes with stability. There is more support in a big body, it physically takes up more space, but even when we sit on two chairs, we do not get the certainty on whether we can sit on them, or not.

This is just the tip of the iceberg of that simple and at the same time complex role that food plays in a person’s life. In addition to psychological, excess weight can have physiological causes.

Either way, if your weight has long ceased to please you, it is not a reason for self-flagellation. It is a very good reason for seeking professional help from a psychologist, a nutritionist, and a doctor:

  • psychologist will teach you to eat consciously,
  • nutritionist will tell you what exactly you should eat consciously,
  • doctor will check what condition your body is in.