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Does Food Give You A High Level Of Emotional Satisfaction?

In a new article, Joshua Wayne shares the following observation:

"I think most people enjoy food to at least some extent some of the time, but my experience is that some people develop a level of attachment - something that borders on emotional reliance - to food that goes way beyond normal appreciation for the food that is in front of you."

We created a short survey and asked people to share their responses. We are sharing some of them with you, they contain excellent insight.


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Fri. May 7, 10:53am

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comment #1:

I think Joshua is right ON!!! Thanks from the bottom of my heart for bringing out so lucidly what so many of us are going through. First off, I have lost 22 pounds over 2 years, (and put back 6) thru cleaning my eating and exercise. BUT, now even losing 1 pound is HARD. I am a vegetarian with very l'll fish included. I am PASSIONATE about cooking right, color, texture, consistency --all has to be JUST RIGHT. So Joshua, you have perfectly pointed out the emotional connection some of us have to food and how it stands in our way to reaching our goals.
Another interesting thing is that Universe has a way of helping us (I use affirmations for making the right food and being active choices). So what is amazing is that, two days ago I bought 4 can pack of Slimfast and stuck it in the fridge. But have not been able to drink it because of my LOVE OF REAL FOOD. My reasoning was Slimfast is 180 calories..may be I will eat 3 egg whites and veggie omlette in a pita pocket with fat free cheese shreds to mimic the protein and calorie content. May be THAT is real healthful food than drinking Slimfast. So I kept reasoning...
And this morning I am reading your blog on the food connection and BINGO it straight reached my heart.

I know I am BORED at work from too much monotonous work that is unending, I am overqualified for the job (have a Masters that I am hiding) underpaid (no raise this year for me, when I know some faves received a raise despite a freeze) so healthy food is my only salvation. Yes, it is almonds, brown rice, bean soups, greek yogurt dips, spicy sprouted lentils, --all prepared by me in a deliciously tasty manner. Now do I need ALLLLL that food in a day? NO! But my reasoning is that I am eating nutritious, wholesome, freshly prepared foods and not empty calories.

Friday, May 07, 2010, 10:54 AM

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comment #2

This was very enlightening. I've never thought of it as an emotional dependency. It just reminded me of all the times in college that my friends and I had this motto for when things got rough: "Chocolate makes everything better." Well now I'm even more aware of the unhealthy relationship I have with food.

Friday, May 07, 2010, 10:55 AM

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comment #3

Joshua,
You hit the nail on the head with this one. I have known for years that I "use" food as a personal "crutch". I have been working on changing my habits the past few years. It takes a few years because my "addiction" of choice is food. Now when I go to the store and I want an ooey gooey treat. I end up passing it by and get something more reasonable or get a very small portion of chocolate if I think I cannot do without it. I have along way to go. I will not give up. Thank you for putting in words what I have known for a long time. I keep changing my life style with a smile. I belong to 3 Peertrainer groups . They are my source of assistance and support as I hope I am to them.

Friday, May 07, 2010, 10:56 AM

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comment #4

This is a great article! Everything in it rang true for me -- food has always been my best friend, and I'm striving to change that. Sometimes, I'm successful, other times (like just this afternoon), I'm not so good at resisting the cravings. BUT the important thing is: I'm not beating myself up for falling off the wagon any more! What I did was adjust my meals for the rest of the day to take into account the 2 bowls of cereal I had for snack -- and not go over my calorie limit for the day.

Thank you, PeerTrainer, for helping me get to the point where I feel so much more in control. Food may be my "friend" but sometimes we need to think for ourselves and not let our friends influence us too much!

Friday, May 07, 2010, 10:57 AM

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comment #5

I have a love/hate relationship with food because of a life-long battle with weight. Strangely enough, I spend more time planning meals when I am seriously dieting -- something that can hold me back because I hate having to spend time with food. I think that my relationship with food is similar to that of an alcoholic. If I am frustrated with the weight not coming off fast enough in spite of dieting, I tend to "fall off the wagon" and go out and eat something outrageous like a whole sack of cookies or candy. Fortunately, I have found some software that tracks my weight, calorie intake and nutritional profile over time. This has been a godsend for me. If I have had a "binge," I put it all down. Then, looking at the intake over the whole time period of the diet, I can see that it is possible to correct for the "binge." This is something I have not been able to do before. In the past, the "binge" would usually be the end of my diet attempt for some time. With this longer view available to me, I have been able to "forgive" myself for the slip (so far there have been three over a 5 month diet in which I have lost 27 pounds.) Thye ability to track and get a long-term view over what my intake (and caloric output) has been has put me on a more even keel than I have ever had before in the world of dieting.

Friday, May 07, 2010, 10:57 AM

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comment #6

I have made a conscious and largely successful effort to reform my food choices and eating habits (2 different hurdles for me: eat healthy v. Portion control). Your article voiced a concept I haven't given much thought to: you mean not everyone finishes breakfast thinking, 'Oooh! What will I get to eat for lunch?' This is my mindset even with a healthy food regimine. And I am losing weight, but I definitely fit the demographic you address in the article. Heck, I have often thought that I actually enjoy the feeling of having my mouth full of food, the actual chewing of it. Hmmm...now I feel weird! :)

Friday, May 07, 2010, 10:58 AM

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comment #7

Thank you so much for addressing this! This is hands down the best email I've received through your tip of the day emails. Everything resonated with me. And I have a feeling that it would resonate with a lot of other people I know too, if they were just willing to confront this on a deeper level, but sadly, some people aren't. And that awareness is really such an important first step. I firmly believe that is why many people never succeed in losing weight or becoming healthier or happier.

Unfortunately, I'm one of those people that is ultra-self-aware. I realized that food addiction (or eating addiction, as I like to call it) was an issue for me about a year ago after I quit smoking and saw myself transferring my cigarette addiction to eating. Unfortunately, realizing my dysfunctional relationship with food hasn't done me much good, because it's only made me beat myself up more. That's probably one of the biggest things holding me back, along with optimism. I really struggle with that. Self-love is something that I'm trying to work on, but it's not as easy as it sounds. But I think once I learn to love myself, I'll find happiness outside of eating and it will transform every area of my life. Thank you so much for sending this email! I hope it helps lots of people!!

Friday, May 07, 2010, 10:58 AM

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comment #8

I thought this article was amazingly inspirational. Thank you so much. I have used food as an emotional crutch and am trying to view it more as fuel now - and am so content with eating the same thing most of the time - brown rice, veggies, beans, etc. And it's not boring to me, it makes me feel empowered that I can stop trying to use food to fill some kind of emotional void. My only problem lately is constant stress. Work, breakup with my bf of two years, etc. I'm not ALONE but sometimes I feel lonely and I don't know how to fill my time so I don't revert back to snacking. I work out in the mornings, work long days, and run at night but it still is hard to fill so much time with myself. Could you give more tips on how to do this when you don't have a ton of support? I love my peertrainer groups, and to be honest I probably wouldn't be doing as well as I am now without them - but they are all Internet interactions and at the end of the day I really am on this journey alone with no support. It's just hard. I love the emails from Jackie though - they keep me motivated and even though they go out to a large audience, I always feel like they're for ME, so it helps me feel connected. And this email from Josh really hit home with me so I wanted to respond to you both and say thank you for what you do and for the support you provide - but what can I do if you are the only support I have...? After all - personal contact and support are really important and I am lacking in that area very much so at the moment. Thanks again.

Friday, May 07, 2010, 10:59 AM

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comment #9

This article totally rang true for me. Especially the part that reads, "Insisting on a rich,
varied diet - and getting your emotional satisfaction from it..." that's me. I love food. Love it. Love to eat it. Love to cook it. Love to read magazines about it. Love to read recipes. Love to prepare it for others. I love it. I have turned this energy toward preparing healthy meals and that has helped me be successful in my weight loss, but here's where I am now: this is a typical cycle Last week I had a fabulous week! Great weight loss, excellent eating and exercising...But this week I had two terrible days right in the middle...I didn't plan what I was going to eat, did not journal and BAM! I binged...if I get too busy and don't plan and get tired I turn to food. and it hits me out of the blue. It's not like there's an immediate trigger...but I have been able to identify the underlying causes--not planning what I will eat (ala Beck), getting tired...feeling a little sad and alone and Wham! I'll start eating and it does feel good and make me happy until the next day. So, yes, this article hit home. I didn't identify with the part about food being my primary source of happiness or that it is the cornerstone of my day...I have lots of other things that bring me joy, but my problem is I have not lost the joy and love for food. I am taking the day off tomorrow to do some personal development work....I had planned this before I read the article, but now I feel even better about it. Now I am totally rambling, but this has turned into a good little journal time for me...Something else that really hit home for me is the " Build good, supportive connections with others." This is what I have been missing...I am married with two young kids and I have not been cultivating my friendships with my gal pals--too busy...I miss having a bff. :) and I have not been doing creative things I enjoy like scrapbooking-I am going to work on making a plan for incorporating those two into my schedule each week--that will help and also the meditation--if I take time each day for personal devotion, yoga, prayer--I do so much better...Haven't done those this week and look what happened! Anyway...Thanks

Friday, May 07, 2010, 11:01 AM

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comment #10

Wow ... I can't believe how accurate that article was for me.

I have always liked food and I admit it. I have favorites that I will have at least one of weekly or more. I just never really thought about it in the terms of the article. But I had to answer yes to almost every question.

I just joined Point of no Return and had some doubts about keeping the weight off should I loose it but I couldn't say why ... this article gave me something to think about and maybe explain at least part of my "why".

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Friday, May 07, 2010, 11:02 AM

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Emotional connection with food

This article really resonated with me. I'm a lot like number 9. I find food utterly fascinating, ingredients and their origins, textures, flavors, techniques. I love preparing food for friends and family and they clearly love eating it. I have a huge arsenal of recipes I've mastered including complex ones usually only attempted by professionals. On a slow day I can easily spend an hour or two poring over food blogs and saving favorite recipes. I feel like a lot of who I am is wrapped up in my appreciation of food so when I started to try to lose weight I really felt like I was losing part of my identity. I managed this by focusing on healthy food and ingredients and trying lots of new healthy recipes- but am still prone to backsliding to unhealthy choices when things get tough. I lost 6kg in the first 4 months but have pretty much plateaued since February and need to lose another 5kg. This article has allowed me to reflect on my relationship with food in a different way that can maybe help me achieve my goal. I'm not sure at this stage how I'll try to change. Maybe just start small by correcting myself when I start daydreaming about the days menu. Or just write my weeks plan and stick to it strictly instead of getting creative. I still think its a happy problem given that many people in my part of the world have the far greater problem of not knowing where their next meal will come from, I also don't intend to stop loving food- just maybe to love it less often and in smaller doses :)

Monday, May 10, 2010, 4:50 AM

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Wow. I've never thought about it that way before but it makes so much sense! Makes me wonder if I have an emotional tie to chocolate. I always have to have some around the house, but it's not uncommon for a single bag of mini twix to be sitting around for months. I need it to be near me.

Thanks for sharing!

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Monday, May 10, 2010, 12:44 PM

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So many things mentioned make sense to me. I understood about looking forward to the next meal, and thinking about the next time I can have chocolate. Can't wait to get home to have that piece of cake/cookie/pie sitting on the counter. Can't wait til afternoon to have chocolates at work, even a pop. It opened up my eyes to a lot of things. But like the article said it takes patience to change our way of thinking and changing our habits from bad to good.

I have a lot to think about! I am going to print off the article to keep as a reminder!

Thank you so much!

Monday, May 10, 2010, 9:52 PM

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