Imagine a buffet! A huge one. Or a well laid out dinner at a wedding or even one at home. We have been part of one. If you did, you would likely finish your meal groaning at having eaten more than your fair share. Was it your fault, or was the elaborately laid out meal to blame?
Food a Biological Need
Scientists conducted studies to evaluate the visual impact of food on our senses. They found that the stomach expanded in capacity when confronted with a lavish meal. Biologically speaking, this is logical. We forget that food was not a luxury, but something we had to work to obtain. When available in abundance, your body would like to make the most of it.
In quantifiable terms, you were likely to eat up to two hundred calories more in the presence of a large amount of food. Now two hundred calories do not sound like much. Till you think of every meal that you sit down to eat, with the meal laid out.
Add to two hundred calories per meal, and you end up with roughly four thousand extra calories per week. All because the food was laid out in front of you. What was surprising was the fact that your current weight had little role to play. The research found that regardless of your weight, you were still likely to eat roughly the same amount of extra food.
Conversely, when you were fasting, your stomach shrank and your desire to eat reduced along with it. I witness this often. If I decide that I am going to skip dinner, I don’t feel hungry. However, if I know, I am going to eat, I start to feel hungry as soon as it is dinner time.
Your body is designed to respond to both excess food and the non-availability of food, something that can be very empowering to those who struggle with their relationship with food.