BLOG 231 COMFORT FOODS
Food that makes you feel good. Food that provides well-being. Food that is home-cooked and a reminder of childhood. Food that is usually high in fat, sugar, and carbs. After a hard day or bad experience, we start looking forward to a particular type of food. Most people can name their top 3 go-to foods. The food alters our mood by comforting our emotions. Maybe it was a terrible day at work and you can remember your mom making you hot chocolate and brownies when you came home from school and had a bad day. So now you associate hot chocolate and brownies with comfort, consoling you after a troublesome time.
Some people say tuna melts, some say macaroni and cheese, some even say creamed spinach. We crave these foods because the fats, sugars, and carbs activate the brain’s reward system. This brings pleasure. It is a form of emotional eating and using food as a coping mechanism. It also makes us feel like we belong. Comfort foods are reminders of good times with family and friends. Think of Thanksgiving. Making turkey and stuffing and having the whole house warmed with this smell, is a reminder of this time of year and gathering with loved ones. Comfort foods are a momentary indulgence
Your gut talks to your brain. Eating these foods can help deal with stress and intense situations, for the time being. Eating becomes an urge driven by emotions and moods. We know that deep down eating won’t solve the problem, make the feeling permanently subside, or settle the issue at hand. Yet, living in the moment can be human nature to just feel better. The problem is that the mind makes the connection that food is making you feel better and suddenly this become a habit to reach for, no matter how or big or small the dilemma. What was once a “sometimes” method to just get through a bad day has become a every Wednesday after the staff meeting you hate, treating yourself to dessert and happy hour. The cycle continues. Our relationship with food is complex, but don’t make it even worse by overusing and abusing a comfort method. Emotional eating rarely leads to weight loss or fitness results.