The holiday season is upon us! I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I didn’t go crazy on Thanksgiving, but I didn’t count my points. I ate potatoes. I had champagne. I ate dessert. It’s what the Pilgrims would have wanted.
Our culture is largely centered around celebrating with food. The majority of our culture is also overweight or obese. One of my favorite comedians, Jim Gaffigan, does a very funny (and very accurate) bit about the holiday tradition of overeating. A good way to sum it up is “well, I don’t normally eat a burger, a brat, and a steak, but… it is the Fourth of July… it’s what the founding fathers would want.”
There’s a celebratory component to food. When you do a good job at work, your boss rewards the team with a pizza party or baked goods. Co-workers bring donuts in on the weekend. (I pretty much stay away from the break room. No good can come from it.) The holidays go hand-in-hand with feasts. It’s not a birthday without cake. Food = happiness. This is an idea that’s been ever present for most of us from a very early age.
There is an undeniable emotional component to eating. Eating makes us feel good. This happens on a chemical level: serotonin is a chemical in the brain that is released to alleviate physical and emotional pain. An imbalance or malfunction of the release of serotonin is a major cause of depression. When we eat refined sugars (CARBS!), our bodies manufacture and release serotonin. Quite literally, eating makes us happy.
We want to be happy. Eating makes us happy. Then we eat some more, and overeating makes us fat. And unhappy. So we eat more to become happy. And so on…
Once each month or so, the ladies have it worse than the men. We become emotionally-charged garbage disposals whose fuel is a combination of chocolate, fried food, and tears. Scary times.
This is something that I admittedly struggle with. This diet project has been successful so far, but the last few weeks have been rough. Stress at work. Holidays. Monthly cravings. I’m teetering around the same 2-3 pound window that will propel me into the home stretch, but I haven’t really been able to get past it. At this point in many past dieting attempts, I would go into “I’ve earned it” mode, or “this isn’t working, there is no point in doing this anymore” mode. Probably with some sort of carb a la mode. Ha ha…
I’ve been doing really well. I’ve also indulged a few times, and it’s slowed me down. Still, I’m discovering new things about myself and my complex relationship with food. I feel great to have finally named the blog, and I’m looking forward to a few months from now when I can post the before and after photos. The end is definitely in sight — I just have to keep it up. I’m getting back on track… tomorrow. Tonight, I am enjoying a glass of red wine. A large glass. 😉