Humans are biologically wired to seek pleasure and avoid pain. We are also wired to receive pleasure from food.
Let me repeat that: we are meant to get pleasure from food! We are meant to enjoy our meals, and our mealtimes.
Any time we engage in an activity that sustains life, our brain chemistry gives us a reward in the form of dopamine – the feel good chemical, or happy chemical. Food sustains life. We eat, our brain rewards us with dopamine and we feel good. We feel pleasure.
Picture a hungry screaming infant. Someone picks her up, holds her close, gives her bottle or breast, coos or sings to her, rocks her gently. Baby experiences food, satisfaction, being loved and soothed, and receives a dopamine reward which makes her feel happy. It makes complete sense that food and pleasure are one. Food and feeling good are inextricably linked. We are biologically wired that way.
If we feel bad and eat food, we feel better.
Humans are pleasure seekers and pain avoiders. We naturally seek pleasure. It’s in our DNA.
Pleasure, fun, joy, enjoyment, happiness, ecstasy. We are driven to seek out these feelings!
So how much fun are you having?
How much joy do you have in your life?
Since we are biologically wired to avoid pain and seek pleasure, then it stands to reason that if food is our only source of pleasure we will overeat! Why wouldn’t we? If we are not currently enjoying anything else in life, it makes sense that we would eat, and eat, and eat, looking for that dopamine reward. We’re biologically wired to go after that pleasure.
If you’re overeating, you have a damn good reason for overeating.
If you’re ready to release overeating or compulsive eating, adding more pleasure can be key!
I’m a Mind Body Eating Coach specializing in compulsive eating behaviors. One of the things I encourage my clients to do is make a Pleasure Inventory. Write down everything that brings you joy, makes you feel happy, helps you relax, or feel alive. Then when we feel driven to reach for food, we can reach for something else that brings us good feelings instead.
Wishing you pleasure, fun, enjoyment, happiness, and ecstasy!