“My Internet is down.”
I push send.
“I’m SOOOO frustrated.”
I push send.
Do I mention the gutters that need to be cleaned, the repairs to take place in the basement, the Kid that keeps taking my car, upcoming dental visits that will run a pretty penny, and God help me, the bills that are drowning me – again?
Oh, never mind… I console myself with the fact that my phone is working, even if I’m dangerously close to my messaging max.
My friend texts back a few comforting words. And then –
Whine is more like it, I think to myself, wondering if it’s too early or too late, and more importantly, if I have a bottle of my favorite $3 blend on hand – Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods. Either will do quite nicely.
Your Drug of Choice?
Better yet, I know what I’m really yearning for. Carrot cake. Lemon cake. Maybe a multilayer mocha fudge, with a luxurious hint of raspberry.
I text back: “I want chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate.”
I picture my friend laughing.
“Having cake tonight,” she responds. “Want some?”
“Yes. Please. NOW.”
So I’m considering hitting the highway for a three-hour drive, and dropping in on my girlfriend’s beautiful baking bounty.
I want my cake, dammit. And I want to eat it, too. Who wouldn’t? And don’t we all have our “drug of choice” when it comes to getting through the rough patches – from cocktails and cigarettes to Entenmann’s and Blue Bell? (Will Kroger deliver? Why aren’t they on speed dial?)
Giving Ourselves a Guilt-Free (Food) Break
I’m an advocate of healthy eating. It keeps us whole, strong, feeling confident. But what exactly, is the downside to a guilt-free food break – just now and then? Can we “contain” it and enjoy it, or is containment the impossible dream?
I would happily gorge on goodies for a solid week if I could – and if I thought I wouldn’t
(a) feel gross;
(b) expand two full dress sizes;
(c) feel gross.
Yes, the “gross” thing bears repeating.
Sometimes, I tell myself, we need to accept feeling gross and maybe rethinking our self-flagellating attitude. And if we do put on a few pounds in exchange for a week’s relief, is that really so terrible? Why must we be so judgmental in ascribing “badness” to momentary indulgence?
Of course, we can’t forget that the craving for more sweets or carbs can be a matter of concern – more common when we’re sleep-deprived. Likewise, emotional eating can become a (toxic) lifestyle, setting us on a dangerous path in terms of psychological and physical health.
I also can’t forget that I spent years – make that decades – bashing my own “body beautiful” without realizing that it – I – was perfectly fine exactly as is. Talk about a waste!
Emotional Eating, Divorce Diet Aftermath
Sometimes when I’m stressed, I can’t eat a thing. I drop weight – fast – whether I want to or not. This was the case with The Divorce Diet.
Other times, my emotional eating provides just-in-time solace. And eat I do, putting on pounds – just as fast. (Usually, I stop when I hit “up five” and then I admonish myself until I’m back to where I started.)
So here’s the thing. I could easily be a fat woman, except that I was once exactly that, and I didn’t feel very good about myself. Still, I could be fatter – and ought to be accepting of that. After all, before The Divorce Diet (that dropped me to less than a zero) I was perfectly content at 10 pounds over the weight I am now.
Why was I an “acceptable me” then – but now, weighing less, I’m not? So how and when did I decide that I was fat because my size 4 jeans were tight? Does my distorted view of acceptable girth date to the days of post-marital meet-ups? Has that mindset always been there, but worsened when divorce caused self-esteem to plummet and my habits of self-care to crumble?
Distorted Views? Bad News!
Is there some other way I could have my cake, metaphorically speaking, and eat it too – or is it because I haven’t had my cake for so many years that I’ll go for any way to feel that high, or more precisely, the numbing, mellowing effect that comes for some through alcohol, nicotine, pot… and for many like yours truly, through food?
If I’m putty in the hands of a Reese’s commercial, I am nonetheless disciplined and a believer in healthy eating. You know what I mean – “We are what we eat” and all that. Can I help it if 20% of the time I’m mocha fudge cake, butter pecan ice cream, and dark chocolate, while 80% of the time I’m fruit salad, steamed veggies, and lightly sautéed salmon on a bed of spinach?
Food Blues and Food Muse
I used to worry that I would somehow pass along my periodic food weirdness to my boys. What can I say? Too often I look in the mirror and I see fat people – and as the primary (virtually solo) parent for many years, I was alarmed when each of my (then tween) sons went through a stage when they were convinced they were fat.
That made me pay more attention to my eating behaviors, realizing that modeling all kinds of good behaviors that are reflective of self-esteem and self-care is as applicable to our boys, just as it is to our girls.
Still, life is hard, annoying, and frustrating – especially as parents, and whatever our marital status. We all cope in different ways; exercise is excellent, but sometimes, we just want cake!
I’ve had a tiring, commotion-filled and expensive few weeks. The consequence? I’ve got Devil’s food cake on one shoulder and Angel food on the other.
I’m trying to remind myself that a healthy lifestyle must allow for those times when we’re worn down, stressed, or simply in need of sensory pleasure and cutting ourselves some slack. So maybe I need to putter in the pantry, pull out the Pillsbury, and whip up a little something delectable.
Worst case, there’s always the 7 Eleven for a Hershey bar, or the highway to heaven – that long drive to see a lovely friend and sit, face to face, for a real world chat – over dessert. Then I really can have my cake and eat it, too. And next week, straining in my sixes, I’ll work my way back to those size fours…