I have fibromyalia, osteoarthritis, and autoimmune arthritis, and today I’m having a severe pain flare. All I want to do is eat, both to distract myself and to treat the pain. Comfort foods are generally quite effective pain-relievers as they tend to be serotonin-boosting carbohydrates.
Knowing this makes me crave such food even more, but I also know that such high carb comfort foods (at least in my case) only worsen the situation in the long run.
The pain is severe enough that I’m taking my maximum allowed pain meds and between the pain and the side effects of the medications, I’m feeling a bit queasy. I’ve been using the nausea as rationale for eating as little as possible (while the little voice in the back of my mind keeps whispering “carbs will settle your stomach” ).
So far, I’m resisting.
I do wonder whether the pain-relief and mood-boosting aspects of carbohydrates explains food addiction. Is food addiction an actual type of drug addiction.
Cocaine addicted rats will often choose sugar over cocaine (I believe I read this in David Kessler’s book, The End of Overeating – awesome book, by the way).
Seeing food as a drug-equivalent does help me view my food plan (a reduced-carb exchange plan) as a “dosing schedule.”
To me, it also explains why intuitive eating practices have never worked for me. My intuition and instincts, through cravings, hunger, and appetite; are telling me that I need these foods to relieve my pain and fatigue. Rationally I know that food pain-relievers are a poor choice, but if I eat intuitively, my intuition will always call out to the foods that provide the best short-term solution. Which is the salt/sugar/fat combination Kessler talks about in his book.