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Jul. 20 2010 - 5:40 pm | 207 views | 0 recommendations | 5 comments

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

Brussels Waffle (known in the USA as Belgian W...

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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?


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  1. collapse expand

    Get ready to laugh…

    Drum roll please..

    My comfort food is – Marshmallows (pure sugar)

    Marshmallows make all my problems go away (momentarily)

    Coming in at #2 – Cookies (sugar/carbs)

    and #3 is chips of any kind (carbs / salt)

    I generally eat very healthy, and I stick to an exercise regimen, but I have come to realize that comfort eating is something that I just need sometimes…

    Weird huh?

    Dennis – Portland OR

  2. collapse expand

    ooooh, chips.The salty crunchy thing is sometimes totally irresistible to me, even more than sugar. And marshmallows, I can see that.

    I think if you succumb, very briefly, it’s OK. Then, back on the bloody wagon.

  3. collapse expand

    Open faced peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. If I’m really bad off, then the same with crunched up bits of kettle chips sprinkled over them, with a few more chips on the side. And if I’m even lower than low, you may add a half gallon of Bunny Tracks, an ice cream from Blue Bunny. One look at the ingredient list of that ice cream and you will see a man trying to kill his sorrow with the likes of Mono & Diglycerides, Hydrogenated Vegetable Oils, and Potassium Sorbate. A cry for help if ever there was one.

  4. collapse expand

    The open faced thing intrigues me…open faced…because at that point you are too?

    Half gallon of ice cream? For me, it would be a beer, maybe two…That’s more a weakness for me than ice cream, and probably just as sugar-laden (if not so much fat.)

  5. collapse expand

    I cannot eat when I’m really upset or extremely stressed. Mild stress, boredom, fatigye and bombardment with temptation. Those things cause me to eat. I am a supertaster, so I love mild things like mashed potatoes and mac and cheese (but not too creamy.) Even oatmeal (don’t groan) is satisfying and delicious.

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    Former reporter and feature writer for the Globe and Mail, Montreal Gazette and the New York Daily News. Winner of a Canadian National Magazine Award (humor) about -- what else -- my divorce. I've been writing frequently for The New York Times since 1990 on almost any subject you can think of -- yup, I'm a generalist. Author of "Blown Away: American Women and Guns" (Pocket Books 2004). Canadian born, raised and formally educated, I've lived in New York since 1989.

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