Food addiction and the Cookie Monster


On TV, the Cookie Monster is a lovable, comical character who lives on Sesame Street, known for his love of cookie and poor grammar.  The real life cookie monster is a different beast; he is not comical or cute and certainly not lovable. The real cookie monster lives inside of the food addict and has the ability to shapeshift into the ice cream monster, the gummy candy monster, the licorice monster, the chocolate monster, the Chinese food buffet monster, the fast food monster all without skipping a beat. There is little form the evil cookie monster can’t take when it comes to food that triggers addictive and unhealthy eating / behavior.

Just as our blue friend turns maniacal at the first crunch of cookie, so too does the <insert junk food> monster living inside the food addict lose all control at the first taste of junky goodness. One temporarily satisfying taste and the flood gates open.  The monster is awakened and a rush of endorphins is released, bringing with it a euphoric high. Like a drug addict hunts for their next hit, so to does the food addict search out the means to continue the rush. Junk food can lead to the dark side; Cookies lead to chocolate, chocolate leads to candy, for the food addict all of it can lead to weight gain, anger, guilt and sadness.

When you really can’t stop at just one, the food addict may find themselves losing control in a vicious circle. It often takes mere seconds after that last bite has been devoured, that one might begin to feel guilty about their little (or large) caloric deep dive. They quickly and without thinking decide they need a pick me up, to attempt to bring a little happiness to a moment of guilt and frustration. Sadly, it never works and the vicious circle is allowed to continue it’s path of destruction. Around and around they go. Eventually, hopefully sooner than later you find a way to break free of the circle. Sometimes the monster is full to the point they feel sick, or perhaps they feel they have hit rock bottom, exhausted and unable to dig any deeper. Often times, it doesn’t stop there and these vicious circles become part of a larger, more ominous circle. With the increased feelings of guilt and despair can often come the lack of motivation and decreased self worth. Trips to the gym are often replaced by trips to the corner store; weight gain is increased, happiness and self-worth quickly decrease. As these negative feelings fester, we can find ourselves turning to comfort foods with the idea that they can actually help us feel better. Enter the Cookie Monster and along with it the viscious cycle. It is only a matter of time before someone can spiral out of control, deeper and deeper down the darkest of paths to depression.

Depression is a very powerful (and sinister) force that humans face. It sits alongside hate, second only to the most powerful force we know; love.

For many who have never been touched by the dark hand of depression, either directly or indirectly; it can be hard to comprehend what someone who is depressed is actually going through. It’s not just a matter of being sad about something, it’s not even close. In a future post, I will attempt to shed some light into the darkness of depression.

Remember, never judge a man until you’ve walked a mile in his shoes. Or, don’t judge a book by its cover… Take your pick, let it sink it sink in. There is so much around us (in others) that we don’t understand; we simply can’t, as we are not others.

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