What’s so comforting about food?

“When sick, or tired, or far from home, everyone seems to yearn for the gastronomic equivalent of a warm sweater, a kiss on the forehead, a favorite blanket.”

PBS special on comfort food.

It’s so true. Why do so many of us turn to food to find comfort? I do it. I even get excited about it. And my waistline shows it.

The funny thing is, the long term effects of comfort food are in no way “comforting.” There is NOTHING comforting about tight jeans. If anything, the subsequent weight gain connected with comfort food is enough to send even the skinniest Victoria Secrets model into either deep dark depression or utter panic.

Truth is, life is hard, and we all need a little comfort now and then. But eating away stress and sorrows only makes things worse. What’s a food addict to do?

Tried diets/exercise… but it’s a common fact that diets are neither comforting nor satisfying. Very few diet menus contain foods that come close to comparing to the decadence of true comfort food. South Beach, Weight Watchers, Body for Life, Atkins, etc. all work until life happens and you stop counting points, go into a meat coma, or get out of your gym routine.

Tried guilt… doesn’t work. However, it should, given the fact that Americans spend $33 billion on weight loss products and services each year while half the world is starving to death and living on less than 2 dollars a day.

Tried coming up with other comforting activities… other than eating, however, so much of what we do revolves around food. Dinners, Brunches, parties, church events, receptions, and the list goes on. If you can help me think of some, please let me know.

I need a solution. I know it’s a mind shift, but every time I make the shift I inevitably revert to the “old ways” in short course.

Old habits sure are hard to break, especially life long habits. Why don’t they teach you these things when you are a kid?

I am sure there are multiple spiritual lessons here. Do you see them? If so, please enlighten me, for at this present moment I can’t see the forest for the trees…

How do we turn from this consumable idol and find true comfort in Jesus instead? I know that’s what we are supposed to do, I just have not yet quite figured out how to do it and make it stick.

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3 thoughts on “What’s so comforting about food?

  1. Melissa says:

    Okay, Annie Laurie, I just read your ditty on food and comfort… let me just tell you I never struggled with weight until after turning 30. I really don’t consider it even a struggle with weight, it’s more of a struggle of feeling healthy/not having a cottage cheese butt (GROSSSSS)… and getting my it off the couch/desk chair and doing something active!

    I’m probably the only American girl who doesn’t own a set of scales and doesn’t want them in my house. Not only are they just plain ugly, I feel they are necessary! Should we really think: “Huh, I don’t feel good today so I want to get depressed/encouraged about one little number so let’s all jump on the scales! And, why do I care about how much I WEIGH FOR GOD’S SAKE!!” heehee SO if you own a set of scales, THROW THEM OUT. They are not an interior design good look at all. If you have them in a closet, pitch them! They are not helping you one bit!!!!!!!! : ) The gym and doctor’s office has a set they can weigh you correctly on if the hang up is one little number!!!

    AND CUT OUT THE TAGS IN YOUR PANTS! Who gives two rats arses if you are a 10, 4, 11, 13! I’ve seen girls who wear those numbers just to say they can get their butts in that size and they look just AWFUL. Are you really going around and digging in someone’s trousers to see what size she wears? WHO CARES! 🙂

    In the last 5 years I was diagnosed as having exercise-induced asthma… which is a real pain in the a…in many more ways than one… but it has been an easy crutch for me at times. So I half-way blame it on that for not getting up and running every morning. See what I mean?
    ; )

    UNTIL… one day I was outside talking to my mailman who was in Vietnam. He has a HUGE scar going from his knee to mid-thigh to prove the battle really did get ugly. He was a runner until he had to have a double knee replacement. He said he wishes he could just run around with the old guys who pass our house everyday… I made a pledge in my heart and mind to run for Fred. We truly have bonded over his war stories and my running funnies. Fred told us last week his mother passed. We had just left him some goodies and a Christmas card early and she died so he said that simple act of kindness made his day. We hugged and cried big crocodile tears. I was so sad for him. We are to lay down our burdens for our friends (and mailmen)…. 🙂 So………. here’s my two cents……

    ##Motivation###
    ****I encourage you to find someone that can’t exercise/walk/run/breathe at full capacity and glean from them so much…

    AND… this may sound stupid, but learn to KNIT…or something similar. Also making paper is super cool and not expensive!! Do something with your hands and heart instead of eating. You don’t have to EXERCISE to keep your mind/heart/hands out of the fridge. When you knit you start wondering what you can make next for SOMEONE (you get sick of your own knitted scarves after a while). I knitted 5 toboggins in two nights for my friend and her family while catching up on my stupid TV shows! When you make paper you can also make journals… since you are an avid writer, this would be nice gifts for people from yourself! 🙂 Trust me, you don’t have TIME to eat if you make gifts!!!

    ****Find someone to motivate you to run/walk/exercise with you! To keep you in check. I started running about 4 years ago. It was hard, but I plugged away at it. The next year I ran for a cause: Crusade For Children… I met one of my now BEST friends through that experience. And we still keep each other in check asking about running/exercising… not badgering, just in check. So I know that when Lisa says she is now down to X pant size that I need to stay there and we can trade trousers! We also have a TOP SWAP–where girls all bring five shirts or trousers/pants/jeans whatever is still nice but we never wear, and trade them… super fun… ask about details if you want to do one. It keeps you motivated to bring the size all your friends can wear, silly, but a good buttt-off-the-couch motivator!!! 🙂

    +++Tasty tricks:
    ~~We also have switched to eating only natural popcorn with sea salt at night. It may taste not so tasty at first, but keep at it and trick your mind. We just pop it old-school style (and microwave popcorn is WAY more pricey and the waste of the bags going into the landfill….yucky).

    ~~Recycle. Most of the time when women are looking at calories on the side of a carton of something, I am looking at the bottom to see if it has a 1 or 2 so we can take it to our local recyclers… AND, our recylce station is… you guessed it! On the way to the gym! So we dump off our recyle (bottles are the most fun because they let you slam them in your self. there’s nothing better than breaking glass for stress releif) and then head to the gym…

    ****Also realize, we are never going to be the size of this girl or that girl, we are who we are… so if any of this helps motivate you, rock on sister and share it with others. I love motivating, inspiring, encouraging and helping women about this exact thing! So please pass any/all of it along. And do the top swap. It will seriously make you laugh, reward your wardrobe and help others (the clothes left over we donate to Dress For Success)……

    Lots of love!! Knit, sew, make paper, anything… just don’t bite your fingernails.. I’m a recovering addict of that. Gross.
    Melissa

  2. AnnieLaurie says:

    Hey Melissa!! Thanks for the great response. I love your humor and you are very motivating:) I think I will take your advice about doing something else with my hands 🙂

    I like the journal ideas. I am a big journaler so that would be a natural fit for me:)

    Happy New Year!

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