Food As Substitute Pleasure

Whenever a client tells me that they “overeat”, I ask them a very simple question: How much pleasure do you have in your life?

Sounds odd, huh? Why am I asking them about pleasure when they’re talking to me about eating too much? It’s because food often serves as a coping mechanism. Our food behaviors can give us a glimpse into how we are managing life.

Food is pleasurable. And, more food = more pleasure (up to a certain point, of course). In many cases, we turn to food for pleasure when we don’t have enough pleasure in other areas of our life.

...When we don’t have enough recreation.

...When we don’t have enough intimacy.

...When we don’t have enough creativity.

Food fills up all of our empty spaces. Every mind-numbing hour, every lonely night, every unfulfilled dream.

In that same way, when we are filled up elsewhere in our lives, food doesn’t hold as much sway over us. We can take it or leave it. It just doesn’t matter as much because we are too busy indulging in our life to indulge in food.

So, the next time you feel the urge to “overeat”, ask yourself: How much fun am I having in my life right now? If the answer is “not very much”, then it’s time to prioritize play and have some good, old-fashioned fun.