Nutrition News You Can Use: People-Pleaser Eating

by Charles Platkin, PhD


Detective: Nutrition News You Can Use: People-Pleaser

Don’t Eat to Please

When you’re a guest at someone’s home, trying to eat healthy can be particularly difficult. However, if you’re a people-pleaser who strives to keep your social relationships smooth and comfortable, it will be even more difficult for you to say “no” to your host’s homemade apple pie or freshly purchased cupcakes. A study from Case Western Reserve University found that, hungry or not, some people eat in an attempt to keep others comfortable.

“But even if people-pleasers overeat in order to keep others comfortable, they may pay an emotional price. Those who overeat in order to please others tend to regret their choices later. It doesn’t feel good to give in to social pressures,” say the study researchers.

Here’s how the study was done: Participants were seated with an actor who was posing as a second participant in the study. “The experimenter handed a bowl of M&M candies to the actor, who took a small handful of candies (about five) before offering the bowl to the participant. After taking the candies, participants reported how many they took and why. Researchers also assessed the number of candies taken. High sociotropy (people-pleasing) scores were associated with taking more candy, both in this laboratory experiment and in a second study involving recall of real-life eating situations.”


What should you do if you’re a people-pleaser? Practice refusal skills. Think about how you can say “no” in a nice way. Mentally rehearse this BEFORE you get to the event. Practice over and over again in your head until you feel ready. Teach yourself to remain firm.

Lack of Sleep Makes Your Brain Hungry

New research from Uppsala University in Sweden, reported in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, shows that not sleeping enough affects your appetite. In fact, a specific brain region that contributes to a person’s appetite sensation is more activated in response to food images after one night of sleep-loss than after one night of normal sleep. Poor sleep habits can, therefore, affect people’s risk of becoming overweight in the long run.

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