I used to always think things like: “I deserve a treat” (which was usually some Dr. Pepper and a sugar cookie).
I would think: “This is a reward for my hard work” ( while I ate some ice cream).
I would say: “I just need some good, old-fashioned comfort food” (which usually involved something with cheese or whipped cream or gluten of some sort).
And I would go out and get the thing and eat it.
What I noticed was this: I didn’t actually feel treated, or rewarded, or comforted. Instead I usually felt over-full, bloated, and uncomfortable.
On the other end of the spectrum, I also looked to food when I was stressed, overwhelmed, and feeling inadequate.
I wanted to de-stress with pizza, hide from my overwhelm in a batch of cookies, and numb my feelingsof inadequacy with chocolate.
I gave food the job of solving my negative emotions like stress and overwhelm, and causing positive emotions like reward and celebration.
Food is TERRIBLE at that job.
The only problem food can actually solve is physical hunger.
Trying to solve our problems and comfort ourselves with food is like throwing water on a grease fire.
Your brain thinks: “Water puts out fire.” It seems logical and like it will definitely work. But in the case of a grease fire it actually makes it much worse. The water just spreads the grease and flames out and usually catches unrelated things in your kitchen on fire as well.
This is what happens in your body and your life when you try to put out your feelings with food, it doesn’t put it out, but in fact spreads to previously unrelated areas of your life.
The foods I considered rewarding, were actually punishing my body.
The foods I was using to comfort myself, were creating the extra weight that was causing me so much discomfort.
Now some of you might argue, what’s the point of life without Diet Coke, or cookies, or ice cream or fill in the blank with whatever food you think creates comfort, or reward or joy for you?
And I would ask you back: how are those foods helpful to you? Are they getting you closer to your goal? Are they contributing to you creating the life you want? Do you want to live a life where your joy comes from food but also comes at the expense of your dreams?
Or do you want a life where food is food and you fill your life with joy as you grow and progress and become more?
Food does not solve our problems or fix our feelings. The only thing that can do that job is our brain. Our brain created the stress and overwhelm with our thinking, and so that is where we must start.
Let’s fire food, and hire our brain.
It all begins with our thoughts.