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Posts Tagged ‘emotional eating’

Salt, Fat, Sugar: The (Un)Holy Trinity Of Comfort

In behavior, business, education, food, Health, Medicine, parenting, science, women on September 27, 2010 at 4:57 pm
Cover of "The End of Overeating: Taking C...

Cover via Amazon

I just devoured a great book, albeit something of a horror story — David Kessler’s “The End of Overeating.”

As someone trying to shed more weight before hip surgery, (which I am postponing as long as possible), I’m newly focused on food and what it does to the body.

Most importantly, I’m newly focused on when, why, how and where I make poor nutritional choices, especially how I feel emotionally when I reach for a food that is laden with what he agrees is the mood-altering soothing trinity of salt, fat and sugar.

I’ve been so good — eating much less and much healthier than ever before.

But I’m also now acutely aware how comforting this combination is, which is one of the compelling pieces of science in Kessler’s important, highly readable book.

When I do fall off the wagon, I can barely see it receding in the distance.

My worst binge in recent months was the July day I had to say goodbye to my Mom, who I see, at most, once a year and sometimes only every two years; we live very far apart and the costs of hotel, (small apartments for us both with too-big personalities), make it a challenge to do it frequently.

She lives in Canada, and I in the U.S., having traded our native countries.

I hate that goodbye, not knowing when, or if, I’ll see her again. She’s 76, in not-great health, living alone. I’m her only child.

She beat me bloody at gin rummy and I trounced her at Scrabble. That’s a good visit for us.

So it was a plate of Belgian waffles, (whipped cream and strawberries), that morning on the ferry ride back to Vancouver. It was a beer at lunch, and some of the fries that came with my fish and chips. It was a package of wine gums, (a chewy candy I can’t find in New York.)

Yes, dammit, all in one day.

Comfort food. It didn’t heal my sadness, but at least I’m now quite conscious when I make lousy choices and why.

My second most recent, about two weeks ago, was a double scoop of gelato consumed in the lobby of a Las Vegas hotel after surviving the toughest speaking engagement (so far) of my career. Creamy, salt, sweet. Pure (caloric!) comfort was close at hand, literally, as I was feeling shaky, tired and uncertain how the audience thought of my presentation. (Turns out, most liked it very much.)

What’s your comfort food? What pushes you to (over) indulge in it?

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Emotional Eating — When You've Gotta Have Some Salt/Fat/Sugar

In behavior, food on July 20, 2010 at 5:40 pm
Brussels Waffle (known in the USA as Belgian W...

Image via Wikipedia

I’ve been so good — eating much less and much healthier than ever before.

But yesterday I fell so far off the wagon it was lost in the the distance.

Because I had to say goodbye to my Mom, who I see, at most, once a year and sometimes only every two years; we live very far apart and the costs of hotel (small apartments for us both with too-big personalities) make it a challenge to do it frequently. She lives in Canada, and I in the U.S., having traded our native countries.

I hate that goodbye, not knowing when, or if, I’ll see her again. She’s 76, in OK health, living alone. I’m her only child.

She beat me bloody at gin rummy and I trounced her at Scrabble. That’s a good visit for us.

So it was a plate of Belgian waffles, (whipped cream and strawberries), that morning on the ferry ride back to Vancouver. It was a beer at lunch, and some of the fries that came with my fish and chips. It was a package of wine gums (a chewy candy I can’t find in New York.)

Yes, dammit, all in one day.

Comfort food. It didn’t heal my sadness, but at least I’m now quite conscious when I make lousy choices and why.

Today I took a long bike ride around Stanley Park, admiring herons and seaplanes. Healthier, more fun, fewer calories.

The first wagon-abandonment — and the first time I was really aware of this comfort connection — was the day True/Slant was suddenly sold to Forbes, putting my future with them (still) in doubt. I had a small scoop of ice cream and it tasted very good. Wrong choice, yes, but the day a carrot really makes me feel better I’ve turned into a rabbit.

What’s your comfort food? What pushes you to (over) indulge in it?

The Diet, Week 3.5: Looser Clothes But So Bored Of Plain Yogurt And Lettuce!

In behavior, food on May 2, 2010 at 8:48 pm
Chips (BE), French fries (AE), French fried po...

Bad, bad, bad, bad!!!!!Image via Wikipedia

If you’re going to cheat — it had better be worth it!

Greasy, not very good French fries, no. A small portion of apple clafouti, yes. And, yes, I had it with ice cream; I have been extremely careful and this was my first major transgression.

Ongoing lessons:

1) Eating with someone else, someone whose company you enjoy (not a job interview or a scary blind date), slows you down and makes you both happier and more aware of how quickly (or not) you are eating. Reading a magazine or watching TV has the opposite effect. Eating alone all the time is lonely.

2) Food and drink offer very real emotional comforts and denying this only short-circuits the process of reducing your intake and changing what goes into your mouth. Fellow T/S writer Nathan Deuel, mourning the recent death of his father, blogged recently:

I managed to get out the door before it got really messy, but en route home, I found myself walking down the middle of a Tribeca street, sobbing, attempting to eat a cupcake. Crying while eating: It’s so right now!

Author and former restaurant critic and Gourmet editor Ruth Reichl titled one of her books “Comfort Me With Apples.” (I’m thinking cheesecake myself.) No one, sorry, no one reaches for a 1/2 cup of cooked green vegetables when they are feeling broken, sad or despairing.

3) You cannot use food as a reward or a weapon. It will hurt you either way.

4) Hunger is a feeling. It is neither bad nor good. It may be an unusual sensation and it is not, frankly, fun or cute or amusing to walk around really wanting to gnaw on someone’s arm. It can be very distracting. If you let it.

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