When we get here, we are beyond lack of food knowledge issues. Those are required, but not sufficient to correct the problem. Self observation through meditative state or conscious patient observation will be required. That is shutting down your mind for a period of time, and watching what we are thinking. (see Jon Kabit-Zinn or equivalent if required)
The difference between eating and overeating is in our utilization of energy since the last meal. If we eat more than we have used since the last meal, we are overeating. Food energy computations and estimates of used energy will be sufficiently accurate to divide the two. The scales is the ultimate test.
Hunger can be out of control, causing us to overeat. This is typically insulin resistance. Eliminate enough sugars, starches, carbohydrates, eat enough good hard fats, and this should reduce to make it manageable. For true mild hunger, and a small amount of good hard fats will remove true hunger, as will warm liquids. If in doubt, fast for a couple of days and watch hunger. (Lustig, Taubes, Kessler, Moore, McNoughen, LoBag, Low-carb)
If we are overeating, and hunger is in control and not the issue, we must be dealing with cravings and/or:
- Willful overeating, the FU's (See the Stages of Change, DiClemente)
- stimulating desire, by self or others (See SMART, Peele, Epictetus)
- habit, automatic plate cleaning, trained in behaviors (retrain yourself, the Stoics)
- physical driven cravings, excess ghrelin, hyper insulinemia, leptin issues (learn to live with these problems, and there are some medical interventions possible)
- Environment or temptation issues, living in a high food environment, low impulse control, continual baiting, hyperpalatible foods, prepaired, inviting, (change your environment, change yourself, or learn to cope)( if you try to change others behaviors... I wish you good luck)
- Maladaptive behavior, eating over stress, boredom, anxiety, emotions, never learned to deal with emotions, stress, torpor, life, relationships, behaviors, beliefs, values, ethics, virtues, vices. This includes eating disorders. (learn to deal with life, issues, people, events, adopt or develop a belief system)
- Food addiction, chemical, (abstinence is the only solution).
- There may be other undefined causes
Cravings can arise from four areas:
- Body, pure chemical
- primal mind, body-mind interface
- automatic mind, unconscious mind
- rational mind, conscious mind
Understanding our actual belief system, and having our belief system in the conscious mind, along with our personal priorities list is part of knowing ourselves.