Thursday, 22 November 2012

Comfort in Food

A house is not a home unless it contains food and fire for the mind as well as the body.

Benjamin Franklin

The nights are dark and there is a chill in the air the perfect time for a big bowl of piping hot tattie soup!

Comfort food is warming, fills your belly & harks back to good times. I'm thinking of a warm hug from the inside out, you know the feeling.

Your comfort food may be a mug of hot chocolate, a hearty soup, a traditional pasta bake or any food that you associate with feeling good with so a treat such as ice cream or cakes.

Food can affect your mood, and your mood can affect your food choices.

As a dietitian my work life is all about food. I talk about it all day! I have started to notice a pattern and association between my food and my mood.

When my mood starts to dip, my food choices start to slip.  I start choosing quick and easy meals.  My prep of meals gets less and less till I eventually end up eating out of packets.  Now this is not a post on healthy eating but more an observation that food plays a role in my depression.

When your spending most of your time on the sofa and haven't managed to coax yourself into the shower, there is no way your going to have the energy or inclination to cook a healthy meal from scratch. My meal of choice on these days (if I eat at all!) is a packet of crisps. Is this the kind of food that is going to fuel my brain and help with my serotonin levels? Not likely, however this is what I turn to.

Part of the choice comes from the lack of energy and motivation to complete tasks but there is also a part of me that chooses foods that give me comfort.  The downside to the comfort is the associated guilt feelings that I 'should' be choosing foods that will help provide the energy and lift I so desperately need.

I have struggled with my weight most of my adult life. I desperately want to be thinner and go through periods where I concentrate on weight reduction. I have the nutritional knowledge and if you had a look around our tiny flat you would think I was an athlete the amount of exercise equipment I have! Yet I still struggle.

At present I am going through my "I want to lose weight phase" So I have my fitness pal (follow me on   MrsBrownThought) and I am logging my calories in and out.

My mood has been up and down the past few weeks but I am trying to keep my eating on track and my hubby is home and he never lets me have nothing to eat.  He enjoys cooking and because he can be away alot with work he enjoys being able to try out new recipes when he is home.

He felt we had to celebrate the conclusion of the flat sale (yeah!!) and he chose to mark such an occasion by making a banoffee pie.
Just call Mr Brown - Browngella!
We use foods in this house to celebrate, to commiserate and to treat ourselves. Food is my work and it is a big part of our social life - eating out, cooking, treats, and rewards.

When my mood is low, I find myself looking for comfort in food.  Eating to feel better.  Eating to feed my brain more than my belly.  Eating to dampen the feelings of despair.  Eating to fill my emptiness.

Usually I would have all the banoffee pie and then beat myself up about it for days afterwards, which would send my mood on a downwards spiral.

This week I had a sizeable piece that I enjoyed immensely! Thank you Mr Brown. I logged it in my fitness pal food diary and I did a quick tabata workout to balance out my calories!

Today I right a blog post feeling the real comfort in food.  I enjoyed the treat my hubby had lovingly prepared and I felt the joy of being in control of my mood and my choices.  I think I may be turning a corner folks!

What's your comfort food? How does food affect your mood?

Love Mrs Brown xx
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