Why do mean overeat? That question may not seem to come up frequently since research studies have suggested that women overeat as part of stress-coping behavior, while men are more likely to turn to alcohol and smoking.
Additionally, men may not care as much about their weight as women do — so they tend to indulge more on unhealthy snacks — and not just while watching sporting events on television. Men may also be slower to realize the importance of healthy eating and weight management for overall health.
“We know that men are more likely to put off regular checkups, so they already have a bit of a carefree attitude about their health,” explains Aldo Ribeiros, M.D., an internal medicine specialist with Baptist Health Primary Care. “So, overeating or eating too many unhealthy snacks is not a big deal to them.”
But determining the reasons for that carefree attitude about their health is important.
“Fully understanding the reasons for their overeating is an important first step toward a healthier lifestyle,” said Dr. Ribeiros. “We can then start them on healthier eating habits and a regular exercise program. But they have to have the motivation to put down those bags of potato chips and make an appointment to see their doctor.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought overeating to new levels, after months of working from home and too close to the home kitchen and those shelves full of chips, cookies and other tasty treats. The term “Quarantine 15” refers to coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic with an extra 15 pounds. While Quarantine 15 is the brunt of jokes on social media and conversations with friends and family, weight gain is no laughing matter.
Here are the top four reasons why men tend to overeat:
1.) Tasty Food is a Reward
You come home after a hard day’s work full of stress and you indulge in something very tasty and very unhealthy. This happens to everyone at some point. But it happens to overstressed men looking for a reward. Junk food is often used as a self-reward, says Dr. Ribeiros. That’s a habit that needs to come to an end, he says. “Men should make note of every snack or drink they consume because they feel that they deserve it,” says Dr. Ribeiros. “That’s a big first step.”
2.) Indifference or “What’s the big deal!”
Why not have an extra slice of pizza, some men say. They also think: What’s the big deal? I’ll start dieting tomorrow. “You have to keep things in perspective,” says Dr. Ribeiros. “There can be a big difference in calories between a normal portion and having extra pieces of whatever. It adds up and if you take that attitude once, you’re likely to keep doing it.”
3.) Eating Out Too Much
This is an issue with poor diets and overeating. Don’t expect eateries, formal or informal, to know what’s best for your health. “Restaurants usually offer bigger portions than you need. It’s a good idea to do some research and look out a restaurant’s menu and nutrition information online before heading out,” says Dr. Ribeiros.
This is when those big sporting events on television play a big part in distracting you from healthy eating habits. “Multitasking, like watching TV or browsing on your smartphone can diminish your mind’s ability to determine the right amount of food you are snacking on.” Dr. Ribeiros adds that distractions can also delay your sense of feeling full and can easily lead to overeating.
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Now more than ever, it’s important to establish a relationship with a primary care doctor – someone who will get to know you and your healthcare needs. Baptist Health Primary Care providers can help guide and manage your overall health and wellness, both in-person and through virtual visits. Our doctors and advanced practitioners aid in the early detection of disease and long-term health problems, help address any worrisome symptoms, manage chronic conditions, prescribe medications and advise on achieving overall health goals. Should you require specialized care, we provide access to Baptist Health’s comprehensive network of expert physicians and resources, keeping your health at the heart of what we do.