Never Eat to Solve Unhappiness

Yo, found out some new stuff about eating for comfort today.

Long story short: when you eat to cover over the unhappiness you have while not eating, instead of searching for the root cause of the unhappiness, it’s self-abusive. The same is true for any consumption.

I went back to this issue because I still hadn’t resolved it, rather just figured that being happy and eating was more important than being self-abusive because of that eating, and thus, unhappy. I went back after a discussion I had with my independent study professor about Hansel and Gretel – I thought the story might hold a key to stopping eating for comfort in the addiction-level sense.

The trick I used was to, rather than force my “sweets-eater” to stop eating unhealthy foods, I just brought her to an imaginary land where there was an infinite number of sweets and no one there to stop her or criticize her. As soon as she got there she started digging tunnels with her teeth through imaginary cakes the size of cottages, completely blissful.

But something else was lurking there. A nasty little critter started to sweet-talk my sweets-eater, sympathizing with her plight and former persecution by those who wanted to force her to eat right. I wanted sweets-eater to just leave with me now that she had her fill, but instead she got caught up with this other creature, bandwagoning with such phrases as “Why CAN’T I eat indefinitely” (the creature, agreeing, said “yes, such limited thinking….”)

As soon as it seemed that sweets-eater was on its side, the nasty critter started to pour food down sweets-eater’s gullet. “Eat everything for me! EAT IT ALL!!” But sweets-eater could see this was unfair… she was already full. It turned out this critter valued the experience of eating food over any other possible experience, and sweets-eater could, by eating more, keep that experience coming as much as possible.

In the end, sweets-eater responded to this injustice by:
1) Arguing that it’s important to get to the root causes of unhappiness instead of this madness of covering up, and
2) Eating the critter. (While shouting “MY APPETITE IS BIGGER THAN YOURS!”)

This was quite a fun exercise, but it displays a powerful point about any addiction – that, while the experience may be pleasurable, the part of you that keeps it as self-abuse is relying on sensory experience to solve emotional issues. But this will never work, and never can. Emotional issues can only be resolved by bringing those emotions to the surface, letting them talk, and letting them come to some kind of resolution. So, what do you guys think? Happy eating first, then non-problem covering – does that solve all over-eating? It seems it is the giant’s leap back to healthy, but there may be more to it. Especially given how strong a force that deep unhappiness can be in any one of us.

Eat Happily First

Tackled the cause of overeating and obesity today – in this instance, eating for comfort. What I discovered was that the central problem is NOT the desire to comfort one’s self with food, the part that gets happy when it eats food that tastes good. Rather, the problem is in the DEMAND to stop eating for comfort.

“We are unhealthy (or embarrassed because of our weight) again! The sweets-eater is to blame! Attack!”

This kind of self-abuse makes the “sweets-eater” sad. And that part of you is eating in order to be happy! So, while self-abusing you may make all sorts of resolutions to change (“Ok ok! I’ll go on a diet! Just stop!”), but that’s just to postpone the punishment. That’s one reason why the efforts fail. The whole enterprise is done under your own threat of punishment.

“But how do I lose weight, if not through self-punishment?” You might ask… and I guess this is just my solution, but it’s probably better if you put your own happiness above health or appearance. If you were totally happy all the time anyway, you’d be more able to make the change, as far as I can tell, because at that point you’d see it as a fun adventure to try new ways of eating and living.

And the self-punishing part of you? Well, it was trying to solve problems, like being unhealthy, so instead just show it that the best way to solve problems PERMANENTLY is through examining your motives fairly, and working through the truth of the matter, and making real decisions based off that information, rather than knee-jerk self-punishment. You’ll be much happier! And you just might lose weight. Or, that’s how it seems to me so far.