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compulsive eating

Comfort vs Comfort Food

spreading the love

This event from yesterday impacted me so much that I am double-posting part of it from the food blog. Here’s what happened:

the problem was, I didn’t get enough sleep last night. I went to bed really late and got up unrested and so that was the wrong foot. It’s a Monday after a nice celebratory weekend. I went to work and the poor guy I had to work with was just a miserable soul in a lot of pain. I felt for him, and his pain leeched into me.

So by 11:30am I was just feeling terrible. Exhausted, cold (SO cold!), sad, lonely, (this is my not-so-social work place, as opposed to my super buddy workplace) and just DOWN. I began plotting all the ways I could comfort myself at lunchtime. I would take myself to this restaurant across the street that has ginormous portions of comfort food. I told myself I’d “forget” to bring my camera. YIKES.

But I was trying to be mindful. I was trying to recognize the fact that I was actively planning to use food for non-food distress. (even though hunger was part of the mix too) I teased it out in my head. I told myself, I could go to a soup place instead, and that way I could take care of cold, hunger and comfort all at once. That was a really good first step. Then I felt willing to bring my camera.

THEN I had a REAL stroke of genius. (ha!) I remembered that it was Monday, the only day of the week when Mr. McBody and I work about 2 blocks apart from each other. I texted him. “Lunch?” He had already eaten, but he said he’d come meet me. I waited on the street corner and man, I was never so happy to see someone. I really felt like he was literally saving me from a binge.

And it was like: OMG. I wanted comfort. And I got REAL LIVE human comfort. How fantastic was that!! He gave me the biggest hug. And all of a sudden I didn’t even need the soup. I was warm! I was loved!

We went to my favorite salad bar place and he sat with me while I ate my salad and listened to my woes and then gave me another big hug. And then I felt like I could make it through the afternoon.

I actually can’t stop thinking about this and I credit the reading of Savor (which I love) – about slowing that moment down, being mindful, and saying, what do I REALLY need?

I was hungry. I needed food. But what KIND of food?
I was cold. I put on my jacket.
I was lonely and needed comfort. I called out for my dear spouse, who luckily was close by.
I was tired. I had a cup of coffee because I couldn’t really go for a nap at the moment. But it taught me that going to bed early is key.

I was so ready to go and get some plate of SOMETHING to deal with all those things when in fact it would have helped none of them, not even the hunger, because it would have most likely been something regretful that I would then feel physically and emotionally bad about.

I’m learning! I’m really learning.

Sneaky Eating, Foodie Style

I’ve been dyyying to write this post ever since I read ManMeetsScale’s fantastic post on “Sneaky Eating.” Once again I was blown away by the terrific writing, absolute honesty and hilarious humor in this guy’s writing. And I had so so so so many things to say in response but kept feeling as if I’d need two free years and a 500-page blank book in order to do it. (might need that anyway)

Go read that one first. Then come back here. Are you back? Wasn’t that great??

I have to say, it brought tears to my eyes. The kind of tears that come when you really feel SEEN. And understood. Now I suspect that many, many people feel this same way about certain food behaviors, but they don’t go around telling people about it. The thing that astonishes me about this CEO of ours is that he DOES put his dirty laundry out there. And it is such a gift and a service to all the rest of us.

I was completely fascinated by the way he does that “sneak a little spoonful” thing. That’s not how I do it. You wanna hear how I do it? My own personal sneakiness has to do with eating in a car. I think I have had this belief that “if you eat it in a car, it’s invisible” (and of COURSE contains no calories! Natch!) And the car is like this little soundproof, sealed, safe container.

I don’t remember when I first started eating in a car but I suspect it had something to do with when I got married and no longer lived alone. I had to find a place where I’d be anonymous, hidden. My favorites were super-rich macaroni and cheese, or creamy polenta, or chocolate Schoolboy biscuits (the whole box) or shortbread cookies (the whole package). If I was stressed, I’d head straight to the Andronico’s parking lot and there I’d be.

Last week, at my Healthaversary party, someone said to me (in front of everyone else): “I know so many people who try and try and try to lose weight but never can. But you did. What do you think your secret is?” I had to think really hard about that. But I truly do think that the answer is, to come out into the open about what is previously shameful.

Which is at the essence of a really, really good WW meeting. Or blogging about one’s food and weight and eating.

I kept this in the “dark” for so so so so long and it just fueled it, like.. what? Mushrooms? (trying to think of what grows in the dark) Even therapy, a LOT of it, didn’t really touch it because it was just too… private. But talking about it amongst my blogging and Twitter and face-to-face friends has really been the Secret.

I’m taking it another step further. I’m very very very excited to be turning Foodie McBody, the Story, (HA!) into a live solo performance show! I’ve done solo performance before and there is nothing that is quite as wonderful and cathartic and moving. I’m working on a short piece that will be performed (by me!) the night of March 28th, in San Francisco. (same night as the morning of the MARATHON!) If any of you will be around, I’d be extremely psyched to have some friendly faces in the audience. More details to come as it gets closer.

What’s YOUR sneaky eating like? C’mon, tell Foodie all about it.

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