Where Did That Pint of Ice Cream Go?
Updated: Jun 7, 2020
Food does not only fulfill nutritional needs, it can fill emotional needs. Society overall reinforces relating your emotions to food. When we were children, some of us would be rewarded with candy and chocolate. When we celebrated birthdays, we related food with celebration and happy times. Now, no celebratory meal is complete without a gigantic dessert. Have you ever seen those rom-coms when the girl is dumped by her boyfriend and is drowning her sorrows in a pint of Ben and Jerry's Cookies and Cream? These eating patterns are so enforced by society and the media, that it becomes almost second nature. Now, when we have a bad time, we can turn to food to cheer ourselves up or "treat ourselves". Some foods like chocolate can raise your serotonin level, a neurotransmitter in your brain that creates the sense of being happy.
Life is stressful, and by turning to food as your only comfort, it can create destructive eating patterns and lead to overeating. I always like to say that before you can change what you eat, you need to change your relationship with what you eat. If we constantly "treat ourselves" and use food to equate happiness, we head down a dangerous slope that is tricky to get out of. Your mindset is everything when it comes to eating, if you can change the way you think about food, then you can change and control what you eat. I also like to say this, your fork does not control you. You are the one eating the chocolate cake and making that choice, the fork does not have a demon inside of it making you do that. In order to create a healthy and balanced eating lifestyle, our relationship with food and our emotions needs to change. What healthy ways can you find that will help you deal with a bad day that don't involve eating tons of sweets? For me, I exercise and create endorphins, which make me feel happy, just like chocolate would. Another healthy way of coping with bad days would be treating yourself with self-care. Put on a mask, watch a good show, take a bubble bath, whatever makes you feel happy without being destructive.