Even NASA is interested in comfort food.
I wasn’t surprised by the findings of the NASA funded research reported in the The New York Times article ‘The Myth of Comfort Food.” Having had a long and changing relationship with comfort food, I did not expect to find it to have a significant effect on mood elevation.
I was however, sorry to see that one of my favorite comfort foods,mashed potatoes, were excluded from the study for logistical reasons.
My understanding is that the phenomenon of comfort food is complex, often tying together, memories, emotions, hormonal triggers and physical addictions. And except for a temporary respite from negative emotions, I never saw comfort food as a solution. I view it more as a behavior one mistakenly does. More often than not, I believe it actually can make maters worse.
The occasional indulgence of reasonable amounts of comfort food is not an issue. However, as reported most people don’t choose foods like celery: “… the celery-stalk-as-comfort-food fan club is decidedly under populated.” The not so nutritious refined carbohydrate and high fat content choices, are more typical.
To change a behavior and replace it with a healthier option – in this case healthier ways to find comfort when needed – one needs to unravel the complex reasons of why we over- indulge. Here is how 2 Minute Yoga can help.
A 2 Minute Yoga key practice is observing without judgment.
This practice allows us to see more clearly what we are doing and why we are doing it. Then we can make informed choices about how to change and achieve our desired results.
The next time you reach for the comfort food (unless it is celery), observe and ask yourself the following 6 essential questions:
- What was happening just before you had the urge?
- What emotions are you feeling (or are you “not feeling”)?
- When you eat, what thoughts are you having (or are you spacing out/having no thoughts)?
- What emotion, physical feeling, or other “reward” do you experience while eating?
- What emotion, physical feeling, or other “reward” do you experience right after eating?
- What emotion, physical feeling, or other “reward” do you experience sometime after eating?
This understanding will put you leaps and bounds ahead of any efforts you may be making to change overeating/overindulging habits. Your other 2 Minute Yoga practices of breathing, meditating and energizing can then help you take the next important steps. Then comfort foods can be a choice not a habit, craving or love-hate relationship.
What is your favorite comfort food? Please share in the comments below!