So aside from enjoying my fair share of chocolate this season, (I always get my kids chocolate for Valentine’s Day and they do likewise!) I am hunkered down in that state mid-winter. Semi-coma; wanting to just curl up in bed at night cozy and warm. I thought it hilarious, the other day, while researching some material on the brain, and eating behavior, that I found an article talking about how women react to stress by eating more chocolate, and how this differs from men. I guess I thought it hilarious, because it seems to state the obvious; we know that! It is such a big part of everything and anything we know about eating habits! When stressed, people over, or sometimes, undereat. But certainly, eating things like chocolate, ice cream, whatever your fancy, (usually sweet), is comforting.
Duh! You are saying to yourself. So what is the big deal? Why can most of us do this from time to time, no biggie, reach for the Ben and Jerry’s and feel a slight twinge, and move on, vs. those who get stuck in the remorse. That simple act of eating to comfort, throws them ‘off the wagon’ so to speak, from their usual eating habits, or ‘diet’. (Dare I say, if anyone is ‘dieting since New Year?!)
So just some musings. It is quite possible in fact, that the impulse to reach for chocolate, is not just driven by the Hallmark Industry, (my name for all things pushed on us to celebrate certain HOLIDAYS’, VALENTINES DAY being amongst them,) but our biology. Our brain. Wouldn’t that be a comfort. Perhaps it is evolutionarily driven? Hard wired into the deepest parts of our brain to drive this behavior? What if you went with this and turned off those nasty self critical voices, so that you could enjoy the moment and move on?
The most recent research in the field is pointing to more and more evidence that eating disorders and disordered eating originates in the brain. So is it your fault? If you get away from self blame, what happens with your feeling of responsibility? Can you take more, or less? This doesn’t end up being a free pass for overeating continually, since you land up with the consequences, or rather, they land on your hips!
But see what happens if you can be a bit more forgiving. Play with it. See if that helps you move on. Back to less sugar if that is your usual tendency, or wish, for your usual diet. Play with it, and get back to me. But know at least, while you are doing it, that in fact, yes, women reach for chocolate when stressed. It is universal. It is in our brain.