Choosing Food by Feeling
Let’s admit it, your emotional state is the largest factor in your food choices. The cause — the amount of nerve endings is greater in the stomach than in the brain, bestowing the title “Second Brain” to the stomach. We all recognize this from butterflies in the stomach before a presentation. Celebrations aren’t a party without good food, signaling our stomachs to secrete those good hormones.
Being stressed out leads to eating unhealthy food. The raise in hormone levels from some candy or fatty food is what the body craves. Consequently, the famous axiom: stress leads to weight gain. The science is something like this: Cortisol levels are raised during stress resulting in higher insulin levels which drops blood sugar which ends up stoking hunger.
There are other feelings as well which eating covers up for. Fear, anger and even happiness can be hard to accept. Feelings and thoughts that go through our minds daily are at times ones we wish that we didn’t have. Feelings of worthlessness and shame are common culprits. Eating, especially hormone level changing eating, combat those ugly and scary monsters inside our heads.
So, what to do about this? Stop eating with your feelings obviously. Besides for that, one of the big tricks is meditation. I am not extolling the virtues of practicing far east religious rites, but am speaking of this one irreligious practice. It has a great place in Judaism as well, though here is the not the place to elaborate on that topic.
Meditation is a great way to see and hear your thoughts and feelings without being swept up in them. It’s just a river of emotions and thoughts which flows through one ear and out the other. Pull up a chair on the river banks and enjoy the cascade of brain runoff flowing down the river. It’s accepting and loving every part of your being without judging each piece with your judgmental filled mind.
Try it, your stomach will thank you for it. I will focus on how to Meditate in the next post.