Saturday, September 12, 2009

Saying Comfort Food Is Like Saying Comfort Crack


Why do we call nasty, grease dripping, artery clogging foods "comfort food"? I mean really, how comfortable are you if you have to unbutton your pants at the end of a comfort food meal? How comfortable are you if you turn to food for comfort only to grow three sizes in a year? Eat food for comfort and pretty soon you find yourself fat and in a downward spiral of misery.

My definition of comfort isn't mac and cheese, a pint of Ben & Jerry's, or a bottle of wine. I think I used to think it was but I was severely mistaken! The deaths of several friends sent me on a grossly misguided search for comfort and as a result I packed on close to 30 pounds (which is a lot on a 4'11" frame). As the "comfort pounds" of the last year start to melt away, I am finding myself again. It feels almost like the worst hangover ever, though. The throbbing sensation of grief, the sick feeling in the pit of your stomach that just won't go away - these are the sensations that I seek comfort from and just because I'm not trying to numb them with food anymore does not mean that they are gone.

The question of betrayal has so often been what derails my path to healthier ways of coping. If I take control of my life and responsibility for the destruction I am causing in my own life does it mean that I am no longer sad or crushed by the loss? My brain knows that this cannot be true but my heart has been dragging it's feet. How many false starts to taking control have I had? I can count by the number of posts that mention them, but those are only a few. What makes this time different?
I think that joining Weight Watchers and seeing the scale read the same number that it read just days before giving birth to my first child was the slap across the face that I may have needed. My weight was just a symptom of my struggle to cope and, while nothing will ever be the same, I am choosing to find comfort elsewhere.

I'd like to propose that we throw out the term "comfort food". It's like saying "comfort crack" or "comfort beer". Nobody would ever say that because it is like saying you need a drug for comfort and the implications are not postive. Drink too much wine, and you wake up feeling so horrible that the feeling you had while drinking the wine is quickly forgotten. Eat too much food, and the toll it takes on your body makes you feel worse each day.

What now? Perhaps comfort is impossible in certain situations. I am not sure, but each day when I look at my beautiful children and give thanks for how fortunate we are in so many ways, I am certain that there is a better way.


comments

13 Responses to "Saying Comfort Food Is Like Saying Comfort Crack"
  1. Stesha said...
    September 12, 2009 at 10:23 AM

    You're so right! It's "comfort crack," and I'm tired of addiction!

    I'm on my road to recovery, and can't wait to see the end results.

    Hugs and Mocha,
    Stesha

  2. mamabirdsblog said...
    September 12, 2009 at 10:40 AM

    Wow! Good for you Fiona for battling back to a fabulous figure! You look great!

    You make such a good point. While "comfort food" may feel good at the moment it passes our lips, it is only temporary. And, if we avoid heavy, fatty & sugary foods altogether we lose the taste for them and they no longer have a hold on us. It is such a tough addiction to break though! I admit that I give in more often than I should.

    We'd definitely all be better of if we could learn to lay off the crack!

  3. mamabirdsblog said...
    September 12, 2009 at 10:40 AM

    Wow! Good for you Fiona for battling back to a fabulous figure! You look great!

    You make such a good point. While "comfort food" may feel good at the moment it passes our lips, it is only temporary. And, if we avoid heavy, fatty & sugary foods altogether we lose the taste for them and they no longer have a hold on us. It is such a tough addiction to break though! I admit that I give in more often than I should.

    We'd definitely all be better of if we could learn to lay off the crack!

  4. thymeofmylife said...
    September 12, 2009 at 10:51 AM

    You state the facts so clearly. So glad you are getting back to yourself.

  5. Brandy said...
    September 12, 2009 at 11:36 AM

    Oh Fiona that's so true "Comfort Crack" would be the proper term for sure.

  6. WhisperingWriter said...
    September 12, 2009 at 9:24 PM

    I get what you mean.

    I eat a lot of Comfort Crack.

  7. Heatherlyn said...
    September 12, 2009 at 9:45 PM

    I've never used food for comfort so I never made the connection between eating food and finding comfort, hence "comfort food". But I see your point. And I don't think that food should be used for comfort. I think that respecting the health of your body and mortality is probably one of the best ways to honor the memories of those who have passed, by respecting our bodies that help us to live and enjoy life.

  8. Yaya said...
    September 13, 2009 at 5:52 AM

    True. But I mostly associate comfort food with meals my mom made when we were growing up: chicken noodle soup, etc.

  9. Jenni Jiggety said...
    September 13, 2009 at 6:29 AM

    It is a pretty weird expression, when you think about it...

  10. Lizz said...
    September 13, 2009 at 12:12 PM

    I guess I don't define comfort food in that way. I see comfort food as foods that remind me of home, like Beef Stew. To my husband, it's his Italian family's tomato sauce. It's sort of a homesickness for a certain food.

    Now, there ARE foods I turn to when I'm "eating my feelings". Ben and Jerry's, Nutella, baked goods, etc. But I don't call those comfort foods. I don't call them anything, as my mouth is usually too full to speak. ;)

    And are you really 4' 1" ? That has to be a typo. Or sarcasm over my head.

  11. Cheryl said...
    September 13, 2009 at 7:39 PM

    I totally need to re-think my comfort foods. I really should eat food that makes me feel good and look good!

  12. LT said...
    September 13, 2009 at 8:31 PM

    Fiona..
    I love this post! I have actually read it about 4 times over the last few days and just had to absorb it before commenting.
    I am a person that is easily lead into the comforts of life, be it my smokes, my comfort food or a few beers, it is definitely part of my life. I too need to take control and be a healthier person.
    I send you so many positive thoughts as you embark on this journey and truly hope that it helps fill that void you are still feeling in your life.
    Most of all, thanks for the wake up call that maybe I need to do some evaluating too!

  13. Kat @ For the Love of Chaos said...
    September 21, 2009 at 7:23 AM

    I am definitely a lover of food. I love to cook. I love to eat. I am ADDICTED to brownies. As such, I've put on about 50 pounds over the last decade {I also had 5 kids, but that's honestly no excuse because they keep me pretty busy... without my uninhibited desire for eating, I'd be SEXY LOL}

    I have really been thinking lately about making some different choices to improve my health... I need to lose at least 30 pounds and get back in shape, not just "weight-wise" but I mean back in SHAPE... as in my heart shouldn't try to go on strike just because I dance with the kids for like 30 seconds!

    Kudos to you for challenging yourself to live better! Good luck :)

 

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