Why Eating Makes Us Feel Good
If you’re coming off the holiday season with a few extra pounds you’re not alone. People gain an average of two pounds a year, especially over the holidays. But why? Why does it feel so good to stuff ourselves like a holiday turkey with our friends and family?
The human body is designed and adapted to survive, and eating enough food is a big part of survival. In the wild, food might be scarce and large meals might be few and far between. When you feel inclined to gorge yourself on salty, sugary, and fatty foods, that’s your body telling you to get as much as you can in case you don’t get a chance to eat again for a while.
Because, in the animal kingdom and throughout human history, we’ve had to work hard to find, grow, hunt, and prepare meals, our brains reward us for finding food that’s rich in nutrients and calories. It takes energy to find food, so when we’re foraging in the dining room and come across a sweet potato pie, our brains say, “go for it.” In the modern United States, most of us have access to all of the calories we need and more. It takes conscience effort to suppress the urge to get as much as we can whenever we can.
Food Boosts Our Mood
In the same way, chemicals in the brain make us crave calorie-rich foods. Certain foods are made out of compounds that literally make us happy. Our mood is balanced in the brain through neurotransmitters and there are two types: excitatory and inhibitory. Excitatory neurotransmitters stimulate us and make us feel amped up while inhibitory neurotransmitters make us feel calm and relaxed. A balance between the two is what contributes to the best moods.
These chemicals are created with the help of compounds found in food. However, some foods are better than others at doing this job and there are some healthy foods that are excellent for promoting mood-boosting chemical creations, like spinach.
Some foods have an effect that is more related to our minds than our bodies. Comfort food is a familiar term to most and is often associated with things like pancakes, fried chicken, and mashed potatoes.
However, comfort food can be different for each person. This is the term used to describe food that you might have a psychological relationship with. For instance, if you remember happy times in your childhood when your dad would take you out for ice cream, when you’re feeling down you might go to ice cream for comfort. If your best memories are from family picnics with grilled cheese sandwiches, you might go to grilled cheese when you’re not feeling good.
Fight Food Feelings at a Weight Loss Retreat
So, if craving food is both psychological and chemical, how can you fight the urge to overeat or eat unhealthy foods? There are several methods to approach weight loss and healthy eating but everyone’s different. Our weight loss retreat, Live in Fitness, can help educate you and jumpstart your journey to a healthy weight and lifestyle. At Live in Fitness, we take your age, fitness levels, and personal goals into account to create a personalized weight loss program.
Live in Fitness!