Writing Up Old Ideas XI: The Link Between Food And Mood
It’s been a while since I’ve written anything more about weight loss, and there’s several reasons for that. One is that it’s a seemingly endless topic and I feel like I spend a lot of time going in circles around it, which I have no great desire to do once again. There will inevitably be tens of thousands of words written about weight loss, body image, food, mood and mental health in the future, so for today I’ll keep it light.
At the moment the main way I think about food and mood being linked is that I know I use food as a coping mechanism. When I’m not feeling great about something, comfort eating is my go-to way of dealing with those emotions, and I often feel a lot of shame and regret about it in the aftermath. I do, however, know that comfort eating is a much healthier coping strategy than some of the ones I’ve previously employed, and also it is far, far better than trying to abstain from it and not coping at all. In all the time I have spent agonizing over my weight, I have always focused on the symptoms and never the disease, always on how to exercise more, what foods to cut out, intermittent fasting, keto, blah blah blah. All of that was completely irrelevant, the thing that has stopped me from being the weight I want to be is my mental health, it has nothing whatsoever to do with the practicalities of fat loss or muscle gain.
So now I try to take all of the energy I poured into what I ate and what I weighed in the past, and pour it into attending for my emotional needs instead. Sometimes I still get it very, very wrong, but it’s the habit of a lifetime, so I know it’s going to take some time to break. And that’s OK; I’ve waited this long to be healthy and happy, I can wait a while longer.