Does Food Ever Really Make You Happy?
Research shows that sugar, fatty foods and chocolate please your brain. So your mind releases “feel good” chemicals to reward you. Foods with calcium, chromium and folate, like broccoli, blueberries and avocados, lower your stress and depression levels and help energize you.
But does food ever really make you happy?
Sure, you may experience an enhanced mood or even euphoric feeling when you eat some foods. But this usually only lasts for a short period of time. And many of the foods which cause a naturally enjoyable sensation in your mind are not the best for you or your waistline. Foods heavy in processed sugar, salt and fat, drinks and foods rich in chocolate and caffeine, all of these attack your brain just like a narcotic does. True story!
Addictive Foods That Deliver Short-Term Pleasure Can be Dangerous
Those unhealthy foods have been linked to dozens of diseases and dangerous health conditions. So while in the short term, for a few minutes or maybe even an hour, you get an emotional boost, the crash you receive afterward and the addictive desire for more puts you in a poor emotional state.
True happiness comes from within, not from emotional eating. Your body was designed to reward you with pleasurable and comfortable feelings when you eat. This is to ensure that you eat enough to survive. It is a normal and natural reaction.
But when you begin to eat unnecessarily, simply for the short feeling of happiness and satisfaction that the act of eating provides, you can cause serious health and emotional problems.
And when you think about it, if you have an unhealthy relationship with food, it can make you downright unhappy. You eat chocolate, you enjoy a sweet, fat-filled, sugar-packed treat or snack, and you get a nearly instantaneous feeling of pleasure and happiness.
But not long after, that feeling disappears, only to be replaced with an irresistible craving for more unhealthy food.
And many times in this situation you begin to feel depressed and anxious, and your self-esteem drops. You become angry at your inability to control your desire for these unhealthy foods which make you feel so good. This can lead to binge eating, and the dangerous “food for happiness” cycle continues.
Journaling Your Eating Can Help
One of the very first areas I will focus on when working with a client is journaling. Even taking a snapshot of what a typical week looks like for you can easily point me in the direction that I want to take you in order for you to achieve your desired results but also help you understand where things might have gone wrong or where inconsistencies lie.
Give it a try! Journal all of your food and emotions for 1 week along with your water intake, sleep and stress and look at your patterns, your rhythm, where you can slow down and what stresses you can and cannot control in your life.