The Dark Side of Comfort Food

Negative Aspect of Comfort Food

Resistance is Futile

People who overeat are called names, made fun of and for some reason are seen as ‘targets’ who rightly deserve this abuse. Lazy, losers and weak are the common labels attached to anyone who is overweight without any thought at all for the possible reasons or cause. No discussion is needed, their minds are made up and the conclusion is that fat people are failures.

No Willpower

Those who are overweight are seen as sloths that have no internal discipline whatsoever, and for that are looked down upon with disgust.

Never mind that someone who is overweight might be better than her critics in other areas of life such as; managing money (financial discipline), work and home duties (time structure discipline), and able to resist other temptations that present themselves to her (alcohol, gambling, shopping, drugs etc.)

None of that matters.

To the critic a whole person is never seen. Nor are his (critic’s) own failings examined. He is superior simply because he doesn’t have that particular issue, and anyone who does is deemed pathetic, as if they really shouldn’t have it in the first place, and deserve all the abuse that comes their way.

Food Addiction is not Validated

It is isolated from other addictions and disorders and not taken as seriously, or seen with as much empathy.

Poor Her

People with drug, alcohol and other addictions ARE looked upon with empathy (as long as they are getting help and not hurting others) and get much more emotional and social support than a person who has issues with food.

The ironic thing about that is that they (the addict) are doing the exact same thing as a person who overeats is. They are using a substance to cope with the emotional demons and stresses of daily life, but for some reason are seen as people who are in pain and need help, whereas people who use food as their substance of choice are seen as all those things I talked about above.

If you have an issue with food then looking at it from this perspective is extremely important. It allows you to see yourself as a human being with many strengths, and also allows you to see that you have weaknesses just like everyone else. There’s no need to feel beneath anyone, nor is there a reason to accept abuse from anyone.

On that note:

The next time you hear a joke (in person or on TV), or a comment or see a situation where a fat person is looked upon unfavorably, try calling the abuse out – it can be in your mind or out loud – and see what happens to the abusers. Notice the dynamic. You fighting back, them suddenly feeling ‘not so sure’ anymore. Maybe even a tad apprehensive.

It’s important to use the word abuse too. Teasing and marginalizing is hurtful and people go as far as committing suicide because of it. Call it what it is and call out what you see. Much of the collective mocking directed towards fat people is often done in very subtle ways. The best way to be alert to all of this is to tune into it and see if you felt uncomfortable or uneasy with what was said. You’ll even hear negative things being said about fat people by those who are overweight themselves.

Food Addiction is Real …

There are 3 main characteristics of general addiction:

1- Loss of Control: Not able to just eat one chip.

2- Continued use despite negative consequences: Even though it’s bad for you, you still do it.

3- Compulsion: Can’t get it out of your mind.

For those who overeat it is clear that these characteristics (above) apply to them and that food is their substance of addiction.

– Tolerance is another characteristic of addiction, and it has been shown that tolerance applies to food issues as well. It means that you’ll need more and more food to achieve that desired, satisfying effect, in the same way one gets ‘used to’ a certain amount of alcohol in their system and needs more and more to get the reward that he’s use to getting.

Sugar; the Guilty Culprit

Sugar is the main addictive substance in food and it may seem obvious saying it, but the category of ‘food’ encompasses so much more than sweets. You never hear of people being addicted to salads, meat, dairy, rice etc. Fat and salt are also very much a part of the types of foods that people choose to overeat but sugar is at the top of the overeating food-chain. Food addiction should really be called sugar addiction.

Scientists now say that sugar impacts the reward center in our brain which is sometimes called the body’s ‘natural painkiller system’ or the opioid (from opium) system. Eating sugary foods has the effect of triggering a release of endorphins which make us feel better, calmer, and reduce our overall pain whether it be physical or emotional.

So we see that people experience the same addictive characteristics seen with drug addiction, with food, and they also get the same internal biochemical reaction as well.

Food, Pleasure and Emotional Eating

FOOD IS ADDICTIVE, and it has nothing to do with a person being weak or having no willpower.

To know this and say this is validating. It takes you out of a place of shame, and is an important step to being able to make your life better emotionally and physically.

Obviously not everyone will experience food addiction to the same degree. Some have a full blown addiction where they get severe withdrawal symptoms if they try to deprive themselves of eating the amounts and types of food they are used to eating for any length of time. Others only have it in a milder form, but even then it makes for a difficult task in trying to get control over their eating patterns.

In Essence

Once you’re able to see that you are not what others say you are, and that your body is chemically addicted to food, you’ll learn to have more compassion for yourself, and that will change how you see yourself and how you relate with others.

Stand a little taller.

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