Saturday, July 10, 2010

Food & Happiness

Welcome to "Same Old Sh*t" Saturday, where I grab something outta my archives in order to disguise my weekend laziness. I'm not sure what inspired this post, but I think it's got a good point... or at least more of a point than what usually passes for a blog post around here...

It’s not true, you know.

The idea that a candy bar, a bag of chips or a big spread at a Mexican restaurant is going to make you happy. To be sure, there will be that magnificent moment when chocolate brushes by your lips or you take that first crisp crunch of a still-warm tortilla chip smothered in spicy salsa.

But it’s a fleeting sensation… there and gone in the blink of an eye. In the morning, all that will be left is a lot of fat and/or sodium slowly churning through your system and a lot of guilt caked on your brain.

Somewhere along the line, somewhere deeply rooted in our messed-up wiring, is the idea that food equals happiness. The belief that if a little food makes you feel this good, a lot of food will make you feel that much better. Everyone doesn’t think like this, but I know that I did, and I’m sure a great many of you do (or did), too.

That’s an equation that put too many of us in a place that we never wanted to be.

A place where it’s easier to keep giving in to temptation than to make any real and lasting change in our life.

Believe me, I’ve been right there with you, and I know exactly what it feels like to confidently proclaim “This ends today!” in the morning and to sheepishly admit “Yes, I would like fries with that” in the afternoon. It’s a truly demoralizing sensation that leaves you feeling as if you have no control over the situation. Helpless and hopeless.

I don’t know what it’s going to take to get you over that hump. For me, it was a weekend at home all by my lonesome where I could really reflect on the mistakes of my past and steel myself for the hard road ahead. Someone recently pointed out to me that that alone-time was probably the incubator I needed to make the necessary changes inside my head. Whatever it was, I wish I could bottle and market it because that mindset is a life-changing elixer.

And don’t get me wrong. I still enjoy good food, but I’m redefining “good”. Seeing it in a whole new light. Not just eating with my mouth anymore, but with my head. It’s difficult to change a lifetime of bad habits, but the only way to do it is to break them down and replace them with new better habits.

Our brains are remarkable creations, but they don’t always seem to have our body’s best interests at heart. That brain sends out a lot of crazy messages – “How about some cinnamon buns” “Melt some more cheese on it” or “Let’s just grab something at the drive-thru” – that makes it easy to believe it just wants to build a cushy moat around itself. How better to accomplish that feat than convince you that eating will bring you happiness?

But food won’t make you happy in the end.

Feeling good makes you happy.

Feeling good about yourself makes you happy.

Being healthy and fit and strong makes you happy.

And you, my friend, deserve to be happy.

I could give you a thousand and one weight-loss tips. I might even be able to help you figure out a pretty effective workout routine. But until you really embrace this whole adventure fully… until you do a little heavy lifting upstairs… I seriously doubt you’ll have the kind of success that you’re looking for or, frankly, deserve.

It’s time to really wrap your head around what it’s truly going to take to accomplish what you want to accomplish.

After all, that’s the first step in getting it done.


  1. I have never read this post before, but I love it. Thank you.

  2. A money post this one is. Not that I'm going to pay you for it Jack, but it has great value. I've come to learn you have to address the attitude before you can address the diet & exercise itself. Money!

  3. I think the reason why so many of us have tried every diet in the book and "failed" is because we keep trying to manage food instead of managing ourselves. Good post even it it is a repeat. :)

  4. Like Lucy I have never seen this post before, I'm kinda new around here. :) Its a great post, I love it.

    Could have done with it yesterday and the day before though! :P

  5. Oh yes. Doing "the heavy lifting upstairs" is such an integral part of this whole thing. I'm glad to have read this post.

  6. Another great post! YOU ROCK JACK SHIT!

  7. This is not a retread for me, and it's really good Jack. I needed to hear it today. I totally equate food with happiness, but your point is right that after the first bite of a substance that is not on my plan, not only is the thrill of the taste over, so is my sanity for the day, usually. Because one bite is never enough.

  8. Thanks. This helps to keep my less-frequent binges in perspective. It does feel like food and happiness go together, but the moment that bite is gone or even as long as hours later, it's still just me.

  9. I feel guilty for eating a brownie while reading this post. I guess I'm just not ready today... perhaps one day!



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