I Eat When I’m Unhappy… Why?
I never thought I’d be referencing from from Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, but Fat Bastard did say it best, “ I eat because I’m unhappy, and I’m unhappy because I eat. It’s a vicious cycle.”
All too common a feeling that we can all attest to. But why?
Researchers from Montreal Hospital Research Centre, have been studying brain activity during bouts of repeatedly eating fattening foods. Stephanie Fulton, one of the researchers, explained to EurekAlert:
“In addition to causing obesity, rich foods can actually cause chemical reactions in the brain in a similar way to illicit drugs, ultimately leading to depression as the ‘come-downs’ take their toll. We are demonstrating for the first time that the chronic consumption of palatable, high-fat diets has pro-depressive effects.”
A fascinating series of experiments were carried out on a set of mice to evaluate their relationship with food and the real and physical changes that occur in their brains. Their findings were published in the Journal of Visualized Experiments.
The researchers found that After deprivation from their respective food stuffs, mice fed higher-fat diets got more anxious and—in so much as a mouse can be—depressed. They were withdrawn, shied away from open spaces, and made little effort to escape when trapped.
What’s more, their brains were physically altered by the experience. They produced more CREB—a molecule that affects memory formation—and exhibited higher levels of corticosterone, a hormone that is associated with stress.
Since mice and humans share the same dopamine-based reward system, this finding suggests that binging on rich, high-calorie foods causes real, measurable changes in behaviour which only become apparent once food is withdrawn. The obvious—and disastrous—solution, of course, is to carry on eating.
Makes you think twice about what type of decisions food manufacturers make in order to sell as much of their products as they can!
In the mean time, what we need to do when when we feel that urge to binge and to prevent ourselves from taking the first bite down the slippery slope is to heed to the second part of Fat Bastard’s pearls of wisdom, “I can’t stop eating. I eat because I’m unhappy, and I’m unhappy because I eat. It’s a vicious cycle. Now, if you’ll excuse me, there’s someone I’d like to get in touch with and forgive… myself.”
That forgiveness is key and gives you the strength that you need to pick yourself up tocontinue on your amazing journey to a better you :-)