Have you ever heard of someone downing a whole container of Ben & Jerry's ice cream after the painful break-up of a relationship? Someone I know binged on pizza after a bitter divorce. I have to say, dark chocolate was my thing when my first husband passed away. Do love and food go together? Not really, but we do make those associations. Marketing even takes hold of that notion. McDonalds used to use the slogan, "Feel the Love", but now they say, "What can we make fresh for you today?" Do they raise the cow from a calf, run out to butcher it, then grind the meat to cook it for you. NOOOOOO! They use that tactic to make you feel as if those workers really care about you.Their workers only really care about the paycheck! Here is why we fall for this: we have made associations of food with the love of parents, grandparents, and others who lovingly made foods that comfort us. In a nutshell, those foods fill an emotional space in our minds.
The Chemical-Emotional Connection
Food companies purposely change a recipe to get that emotional-chemical response of pleasure, kind of like Pavlov's dog. Read a soup can sometime, then read the real recipe for the same soup. You will see things like milk added in the pre-packaged fare that doesn't appear in the recipe. Try malt added to a lot of different foods you would never guess would be adulterated. People with Celiac disease walk through a landmine with food due to this additive meant to "enhance" flavor. How ridiculous! If they can get you to "feel the love", they have you hooked!
These pleasure responses in the brain are of a similar nature as orgasm responses in the brain. Since sex was purposely designed by our Creator to be addictive in marriage, that chemical bond is a very strong one. That's why "breaking up is hard to do"! When people give up one of these foods, it's like breaking up with that food and the lifestyle that built up around it,
Another chemical response is that of comfort during stressful or insecure moments. The levels of stress people deal with day in and day out is about the equivalent of what could cause a heart attack. And more people are having them younger and younger. Since it's illegal to fight it out or challenge the opposition to a dual, people stuff the emotions inside. When they can get away to lunch or dinner, they seek out foods that evoke the sense of comfort. Southerners are great with comfort foods, just look at Paula Deen! Most of these foods are carbs, fats, and sweets. Another comfort combination for those who would rather fight it out than run are carbs, fats, and salty/spicy. If it crunches, all the better! Essentially, we use food to evoke chemical responses mimicking the emotional responses we prefer to have.
Filling a Space
When people stress or comfort eat, they form an addiction. These addictions actually are set up by our families. They set the example and we follow it. Sorry, it makes our families sound like drug dealers! They aren't, but they inadvertently set us up to have the same addictions they have. It's especially strong in families with ethnic backgrounds which base family and social events around certain foods. That's why when someone in the family is on a diet to lose weight, family members sabotage their weight loss efforts. It happens every time! It's as if you've disowned the family!
We have a love affair with our food. So when young adults move out on their own, Mom isn't around to help them feel better when bad things happen. That's when the diet food gives way to the cheesecake, baklava, and lasagna. We seek to fill the void of emotional comfort from family.
When kids grow up, they punch or kick each other to see who the "leader" will be. If someone picks on them, they either run and hide, or stand up for themselves. As an adult, if we punched someone in the nose or blacked their eyes the police would be called and we would lose our jobs. The crunchy, salty/spicy combo gives that staccato punch emotionally, then we get on with life.
The Truth of the Matter
The truth of the matter is we are killing ourselves with food love. Our bodies aren't meant to carry that much sugar in our blood stream without the physical activity to burn it off. so type 2 diabetes sets in. It's not as much a hereditary thing as people like to think. Instead, it is more a learned behavior with a genetic predisposition. You are not destined to have diabetes just because other family members have it!
Another truth is that we are not designed to take in that much fat or sodium. Our cardiovascular systems take quite a beating! High blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, and heart disease is on the rise in young adults. Our bodies designed to carry the amount of extra weight many American adults carry! Do you realize how much money pharmaceutical companies make from our poor lifestyle coping choices? You could be rich if you If that moolah was in your hands in exchange for your comfort eating habits. Seriously.
So, The Fix?
The fix to the problem is this: BREAK UP WITH YOUR FOOD!!! Yes, I said it. It's sad, but it's gotta happen! Go cold turkey from the fast food lane, pre-packaged meals, and other junk fare littering your body. The solution is simple.
The solution is also complex. It means going through withdrawal while learning a new lifestyle. To get started, go to my Grocery Shopping Transformation and start with step 1 for one month. NO JUNK IN THE HOUSE, NO EATING OUT. NO CHEATS. PERIOD! See if you don't get grouchy during that time. A whole lot of grace needs to be extended in the family during detox time. Then move on to the next step and give it a month to set in. Then the next, and the next. After 3-4 months you should feel more alert, have more energy, feel less bloating, less pain. And---TA-DA! Less weight around the middle!
Set a healthy example for your children and grandchildren now. Building a Healthy Legacy
The Bottom Line
Don't make food your god."For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ," Philippians 3:18-20 Paul was referring to a gluttonous society surrounding them..Are Americans any different? Christians should be the healthiest people on this planet, much like Daniel and his friends!
We are charged with stewardship of our bodies.God gave us this one body on this earth to serve Him and others. You will hear people say, "Do it for yourself." My answer is, "NO! Do it for God. The rest follows after this." We are not our own, we are bought with a price. Therefore, honor God with your bodies. (I Corinthians 6:19-20) Also, we are to be a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God. (Romans 12:1-2) We buy into a lie when we do it for ourselves. How selfish! When we take care of the bodies we have, we offer the Lord a healthy one to use for His service. If you read verse 3 in Romans 12, it says,"Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you." It's not about us, it's about Him! When we live according to God's word, He blesses us for the sacrifice we make.
You can make lasting lifestyle choices you can live with for a lifetime.This is why I don't give you gimmicks, concoctions, fad diets, supplements, and free workouts. They are so superficial.What I teach you makes any reasonable workout work. Do what makes a lasting difference!
Struggling to do this on your own? Join a Healthy Lifestyles group! New sessions begin March 15. Sign up now.
May God bless you!
Other blog posts Connected with this theme: