The Pleasure of Eating

I work in an office full of women. The office next to me is a female attorney, her female paralegal and their 2 female assistants. We are all always talking about loosing weight and being healthy physically and emotionally. But the other day I overheard Jordan saying “I need to figure our how to eat to survive and not for pleasure.” I immediately walked over there, stuck my finger towards her and demanded “when you figure out how to do that, please let me know!” That struck up a conversation between all of us laughing about how true eating for pleasure is difficult to stop doing. We try to help each other out but when one orders Chinese we usually say “you suck, that’s gonna go straight to your ass, order me the honey garlic chicken with pork fried rice.”

Natalie informed me she has Jordan on a diet and is teaching her to eat to survive and do you know what I told her? “I just can’t do it, I’m a chef for f**ks sake, I wont eat bad tasting food” as I was grabbing my stomach and bouncing it up and down. Then Natalie pointed out my choice of words “…I won’t…”

I certainly can. I just won’t.Why won’t I?

Bottom line: I like the pleasure it gives me for that 20 min period more than I want to be slimmer.

“Pleasure eating, as opposed to eating for hunger, activates endogenous reward signals in the brain, which when activated, prompt people to eat more of the pleasurable food, even if their bodies don’t need it.” – Eating for Pleasure, Not Hunger, Activates the Brain

At some point in my life I ate when I was sad or whatever negative emotion I was experiencing, and then I probably did it again, and again. Someone probably said “eat this, it will make you feel better.” Somewhere along the line I rewarded myself, or someone rewarded me, with food. The exact moment I can’t remember, and I don’t want to drive myself crazy trying to figure it out. However I’m almost 32 and am still struggling with it. My cousin’s are 22 and 29 and are also struggling with it. In fact, more than one-third (35.7%) of adults are considered to be obese.

Last night we were at my parents for dinner. I made tacos of course…it was Tuesday, and this subject came up. My brother is trying to loose weight as well. He is on one of those strict diets where you put your body in ketosis then you carb load. I guess its working but I see my brother often so I don’t notice. But, he brought up emotional eating and mentioned it isn’t just stress eating or stuffing your face when your sad. Most of our problem isn’t just situational, its every time we eat a meal. How do we know when to stop eating? Until you are satisfied? Until you feel full? But we were all told since we were little that it takes 15 min for your stomach to tell your brain that you are full. We can’t just look at our plate, see a reasonable sized meal, eat that meal and not go for seconds. Its ridiculous honestly. I started with 2 tacos, then a half of corn, then I piled on another taco. Why? Robert had 2 tacos and stopped. He ate enough to stop his hunger and I kept going. I was searching for that “feeling” the “satisfaction” then I walked home with an bloated stomach and had gas all night.

I swear some of us are just gluttons for punishment. I’m sure if I took the time I can analyze this whole situation of the differences of Robert and I. The reasons why he’s so skinny (aside from his annoyingly fast metabolism) and dig deep to find why I’m an emotional eater, why I need the satisfaction of feeling full instead of just eating enough to stop the hungry feeling. But I am not going to waste the time. I have notice this much. I have acknowledged that there is a problem. Let’s fix this problem: self control and make a conscious effort to stop over eating.


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