The Eating Philosophy

First: Studying Happiness

We know the distinction between a good feeling and a bad one, but I would say that a wise spirit (consequently a happy one) tries to go further on the pursuit of self-knowledge, and that is why I’m bringing the distinction
between Pleasure and Enjoyment that I found in this paper on Positive Psychology by Seligman, the father of this field.

Pleasure is the good feeling that comes from satisfying
homeostatic needs such as hunger, sex, and bodily comfort.
Enjoyment, on the other hand, refers to the good feelings
people experience when they break through the limits of
homeostasis, in an athletic event, an artistic
performance, a good deed, a stimulating conversation”


Now I’ve recently discovered this, I honestly feel relieved to find this field on Psychology that studies happiness, it makes everything lighter for me. We are this big ball of confusion and different thoughts and feelings, and to just name it, is to differentiate from everything else that is going on. Anxiety, for example, it is not a primary feeling, it is just a defense mechanism so you don’t feel the pain from your real feelings, that is why recognizing what you’re feeling is so good to prevent anxiety, the second you give it a name like “sadness” , it is the first step for your body to understand and accept to be sad and not anxious. The same works for pleasure and enjoyment, it makes your experience of these two states more enjoyable.

Food relationship, food philosophy?

So I as said before, I suffer from Binge Eating Disorder and I always end up relating everything that I read with this problem, or at least when it is most prominent in my life as it is lately. In the food world, the distinction could also apply, there is the food that gives you pleasure, it relieves your basic needs, and the food that brings enjoyment, it goes beyond caloric needs and it is everything else about it, like the process of cooking or the arrangement of different flavors and shapes. It is not a real division like “oh, this hamburger will only bring you pleasure and this salad will only bring you joy”, it is more like “there is one pleasurable side and one enjoyable side in each food “. When I binge the pleasure side keeps rolling even though I don’t feel joy anymore, the food stops tasting that good which can make me eat more as to try getting that feeling once again. My belly can even hurt from so much food, but the evolutionary search for calories plus the industrialized food that it is available makes it hard to stop. But once you recognize the food has stopped tasting so good, or by other words, when you recognize you don’t feel joy anymore, it can get easier with time. Sometimes I forget checking this, and I realize I’m overeating because the food stopped tasting good for some time and I’m still there, but then I stop. Other times I realize it stopped being enjoyable and keep it going because nobody is perfect and you know how hard it is, so I try not to blame myself and stop when I can. It really helps. Really wish to help someone with the disorder, it has been 7 years that I deal with it, I feel like I can help but will ever someone actually read this? 

And enjoy the enjoyable!

But don’t focus on the exact moment to repeal the food, Positive Psychology teaches us to look on the positive side, right? Enjoy the enjoyable side of your food too, feel the texture, the flavors, how they mix with each other. That way you’ll even recognize faster when they stop being so prominent, and that is when you’re satisfied.  

Yesterday I ate at Bife, I was very happy to find two vegetarian options, I chose the Mediterranean with curd cheese and pesto, my god how these two blended with each other. I gave my fried cassava to my friend since from the first bite they didn’t appeal to me, let’s say I didn’t felt the enjoyable part of it (and since I recognized that, I could let it go).

Vegetarian Hamburguer at Bife in Brazil

Thank you, have a good meal!


Craving happiness

The reason I’m thinking about making good stuff for others is that I saw a Ted Talk about giving “How to be happy every day“, It talks about how your ocitocina levels rise when you give, the feeling good and anti-age hormone. It advices to take a 365 days streak into doing nice stuff, with the combination of me watching Julie & Julia, where Amy Adams needs to fulfill a 365 streak of cooking Julia Childs  recipes, I got inspired. But my own sense of self is not coherent and does not apply to this world’s sense of human being, I cannot choose one single thing to do for 365 days if everyday I’m  a different modality of me. However, I found a solution that will set at peace both the necessity of completing the same task for a year and my alien inability to be the same human for that long: writing. Consistency trough inconsistency. Okay so I just needed to point that out, let’s just jump to the writing because I don’t know how to make a reasonable connection between everything that goes on in my mind. 

How the world sees Binge Eating

Yesterday I was binge eating, I thought it would stop but it kept going on. One thing about it is that there is no acceptance as alcoholic abuse for exemple, or bulimia, as a mental health issue, people just judge you for eating too much (although when you say that you overeat too much they tell you its normal and they make that themselves sometimes). In Institutional Analysis (a kind of approach we use in psychology) that is called mysticism, when there is no logic in the discourse (only apparent) and it is formulated as to imprison the individual thought, it serves as an illusion so you feel bad  because you believe it yourself. This mysticism may appear in different ways, it can be a simple thought of how things work, like “if you’re beautiful, you will be rich at some point, if you’re ugly, you won’t or it is going to be too hard”, but, not only this is not true (with some exceptions which are not the rule), it may actually serve as an obstacle from you getting what you want. So you  may think “okay, I’m not good for this, I’m not even going to try”, and you don’t try it, and you don’t get it. This is the mechanic of the system, it is all about controlling what you think and feel. We are all surrounded by these mechanisms of fear, fear of trying, fear of living. If we don’t fear, we hope. It is a choice between optimism and pessimism, but what about realism? What is reality anyway? The most blind are those who say themselves to be realistic, they are the most imprisoned ones, they are blind to everything else that can be. At the end, you create your own reality, it is a matter of perspective and science can prove it: a study by Shelley Taylor in 2000 suggest that patients “who remain optimistic show symptoms later and survive longer than patients who confront reality more objectively”.

The ultimate goal is happiness. 

Now you’ve realized that my focus is happiness, this is my ultimate end, for those that are not that into psychology, Positive Psychology is the area in the field that focus on the good traits of  personality and enhancing them, in opposite to the pathology approach that is mostly used nowadays and focuses on the pathology (treating diseases or the things that are going wrong). I don’t restrain my thoughts to one field and I will talk in different perspectives, but as the theme today seems to be around being happy it is nice to bring Positive Psychology in mind. In the same article that I found out about Taylors study, Seligman differentiates positive subjective experiences in a way that I believe to be interesting to self-knowledge:

  1. In the past: well-being, contentment, and satisfaction 
  2. In the present: flow and happiness
  3. For the future: hope and optimism 

What helps me with Binge Eating

These are the things that are believed to make you feel better and one that helps me a lot is flow, flow is when you get absorbed into something, like when I read and want to eat the whole book, you forget about everything else.It has been my special treatment for binge eating. It is not every book that makes me feel this wholeness, like I don’t need to put anything else inside as food to fill the hole, so I strive sometimes. You will need to find the balance between something that you must do, like finding an activity you like and that gives you flow, and something that you must avoid, like the so called triggers. I was at home these few days that I decided to begin this blog, literally desperate to get away from binging, I tried reading and writing, but it was not about doing something, it was about avoiding, which was me being home all day, so I got out and had this amazing day. I used to punish me, long ago when it all begin, but today, after binge, I just treat myself as in recovery. I’m already in pain for eating too much, right? Instead of punish myself for no exercising the next day, I realized that I should congratulate myself for eating healthy, I could still be binging, right? But I got over it and that is just amazing, a victory really. This positive thinking may even help you to build the strength to exercise, but don’t focus on that, let it happen.  John Stuart Mill said that tranquility is the most required characteristics for a happy soul and being okay with yourself helps with that. Your ultimate goal should be happiness and not trying to lose weight. Don’t push yourself too much. Today I was in peace with myself, today was such a victory, I felt so good.

But anyway, I wandered a lot, I just wanted to post that today I could appreciate a nice little macaroon with my mother and felt no guilty at all (and no craving to eat more!). 

Macarons at Le Petit in Brazil