Emotion as a Motive
When hunger is confused with other feelings, emotional eating ensues. One hypothesis suggests that this mix-up established its roots in infancy when our caregivers interpreted most of our cries as cries for hunger, thereby frequently mistaking anxiety for hunger. Another hypothesis suggests that because caregivers regularly comforted the infant with food, obese adults innately mimic that behavioral response because it seems to calm them down. As mentioned earlier, when you associate euphoric feelings with eating, the act of eating becomes something desirable rather than something needed. For example, someone going through a very stressful period of time might overeat as a way to lower anxiety and induce pleasant feelings.
Metabolism and Exercise
The lower the metabolism, the fewer the calories spent and, incidentally, the higher the body weight. Dieting slows metabolism as well, which helps explain the “breaking even” point during dieting that may halt weight loss.
Exercise helps maintain a regular metabolism, and when it is absent from an obese person's life, it may cause a domino effect of repeated inactivity. Four out of ten adults in the United States report that they never exercise or engage in physically demanding activities. Excessive body weight makes it difficult and uncomfortable to exercise, so the opportunity to burn a substantial amount of calories is lost. Fat tissue then replaces lean tissue, causing a reduction in the person's basic metabolic rate. This combination of unspent calories and reduced metabolism makes for rapid weight gain that can become dangerously out of control if not addressed right away.