Emotion and food are inseparable, but why? Food is so much more than sustenance. Enjoying a meal or favorite snack is one of life’s pleasures that simply never gets old. Food brings people together, provides a needed break from the cares of the day and a good meal can lift one’s spirits. If food was nothing more than fuel, then surely we would crave only that which is most beneficial for us, but we don’t. We love Pizza, Cinnamon rolls, Ice Cream, Cake, Hot apple pie and Macaroni and cheese with BACON! Proverbs 25:16 warns, “Do you like honey? Don’t eat too much or it will make you sick”. The word Honey is mentioned in mentioned in scripture more than 60 times and each time is meant to symbolize joy and delight, or good health and prosperity. Who doesn’t desire joy and delight? Yet it comes with a warning.
We should certainly enjoy our meals as each is a blessing of God’s providence but we are not be gluttons, and make ourselves sick. When we do, we take a good thing and make it destructive. When we have a bad day there’s nothing like a hot meal to lift your spirits or the euphoria that comes with a rich dessert. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying these things, but we have to be careful that they don’t become a coping mechanism. If we feel despair, boredom or great stress and our instinct is to reach for the cookie jar, we know that we have shifted course and are reaffirming a destructive habit. Know thyself, if you feel like you have to have it, run. There are plenty of activities that can provide that “neurochemical bandaid” that are more conducive to your health and that will prevent you from developing an unhealthy relationship with your food. Exercise, sports, music, a stimulating book or conversation with a good friend are powerful mood boosters that can completely turn your day around.
Sometimes it helps to know the facts. For one, the pick me up we get from emotional eating is very short lived and seldom lasts longer than 3 minutes before leaving you feeling worse than before. Two, the more “comfort food” that you have on hand, the more likely you are to indulge. Want to keep your hand out of the cookie jar? Don’t have a cookie jar. Finally, the only thing more destructive than the “binge” is the guilt. Studies have shown that those who overindulge and then move on are less likely to repeat the act than those who punish themselves with guilt and actually cause more physiological harm due to guilt induced elevation of cortisol levels. Here’s to you my dear friends, Eat, Laugh, Love and be at Peace.