Pleasure Vs Happiness

Pleasure vs Happiness
Photo by fxquadro @ Freepik

Have you ever taken a moment and considered the difference between pleasure and happiness? You may have never considered the question before, but with losing weight and then keeping it off, knowing the difference is really quite imperative. You see, pleasure is how we feel in a moment, whereas happiness is a more complete state of mind and well being. See, you can be a miserable person most every day, and still derive a moment of pleasure from certain foods, sex, alcohol, and drugs.

We can strike those pleasure centers in our brains over and over, yet still not be a happy individual.


Pleasure is a state, in which you feel good and enjoy what you are doing. Pleasure is almost always a result of an external stimuli, and often involves the five senses. Here are a few examples:

  • Enjoying the warmth under the blanket on a cold winter day.
  • We experience a sensation of pleasure when we eat a delicious slice of cake.
  • Experiencing pleasure when listening to pleasant music.
  • There is pleasure when we do something we love doing.
  • We can derive pleasure from reading a book, daydreaming or watching a movie.
  • There is pleasure when we smell and taste good food
  • There is joy and a pleasant sensation when we feel the breeze on a warm day.
  • Watching something beautiful can also create a sensation of pleasure.

Pleasure often, does not last long, since soon the attention moves to other matters.

We enjoy the pleasure we experience, but after a while we either lose interest, or seek something else. For example, you might eat a piece of chocolate and enjoy it, but after a few pieces of chocolate you feel you cannot eat any more.

We confuse pleasure and happiness because both feel good.


Happiness is a state where we experience personal positive emotions such as an inner sense of contentment, ease, or joy. Through happiness we also experience more positive emotions for socializing that give us a greater sense of meaning. A couple of these emotions are the feelings of connectedness, gratitude, and compassion.

Tying pleasure and happiness together with weight loss.

Right away I believe that we who have been obese, and those who are, can comprehend how we can just go ahead and throw out the old myth of the jolly and happy fat person. We know that when we are obese that we can project the image to others with our jovial ways that we are happy despite our obesity. However, for the most part this is only an act, it’s an illusion we use to protect ourselves from the ridicule of our emotions that we feel most of the time.

Me when I was a fat man.
Full of shame, eating and drinking to mask my pain.

Yes, I have been fat in the past!

Despite having a smile on my face for that picture, I was not a happy person. I was out of shape, suffering from PTSD and Depression, and I masked a lot of this through alcohol and food. The man I was in the picture above is dead now. I changed my entire lifestyle by cutting out all means of ways which I was using to mask my inner pain and unhappiness. I write and do what I do out of personal experience.

Be not among drunkards or among gluttonous eaters of meat, for the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, and slumber will clothe them with rags. Proverbs 20:20-21

Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. Philippians 3:19

And here I am now, and with an entire change of lifestyle, I am now truly a happy individual. I have turned my life entirely over to Christ, and as he increases in me, my old ways are dying off. I no longer look for pleasures in anything which will not bring me happiness. Highly palatable foods and alcohol never made me feel as good and happy as I am today, despite the fact I still battle PTSD and Depression.

But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified. 1 Corinthians 9:27

My friends, we can never achieve nothing more than a momentary sense of pleasure through the food and drink that we consume. Us foodies absolutely know how the pleasure center in our brain illuminates when we bite into a slice of pizza or a hot, fudgy, brownie straight out of the oven. The endorphins are released as we swallow these foods loaded up with simple carbs, sodium and unhealthy fats.

For some of us, the intense pleasure that comes from eating junk foods is about as good as an orgasm. After all, it is the same release of feel good hormones. The problem, no matter how wide our smile in the moment, these moments will not make us into happy beings.

The brain is also the operating center for a complex network of neurotransmitters and neuro-endocrine systems. These nerves, hormones and other chemicals are responsible for not only sexual desires but other responses, such as how you taste and react to food. Good food has similar neural pathways as good sex.

Food and sex are also physically connected in the limbic system of the brain, which controls emotional activity generally. They walk a similar emotional line and bring out similar types of reactions. They bring out dopamine, which is the hormone that signals cravings. Dopamine plays a huge part in humans; we have no higher desires than to eat and reproduce. Those things being said, none of those pleasures will bring you happiness in life.

If you want to truly feel a sense of happiness in your life, and you suffer from obesity and a food addiction, there are simple things that you can do. They are simple in concept, but some find difficulty in actually doing these things.

Give up foods with added sugars, and processed foods.

Track your food and calorie intake.

Weigh and measure your foods.

Do not exceed your caloric needs.

Exercise your body.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. OMG, you really looked like that, David? Unbelievable! Very deeply philosophical, inspirational post. I hope it inspires many to follow your example.

    1. David Yochim says:

      Thank you Dolly. I’ve had my battle with weight, I do most of my writing through personal experience.

      1. I have gathered that, David, but seeing is believing.

Comments and questions are most welcome!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.