In trying to explain this condition to my husband, I am rewarded with a puzzled look – somewhere between that of a puppy that truly doesn’t understand your command and a cat that gets it but would rather check out the litter box (or watch the Lakers).
Not surprising, then, that the audience of choice for an emotional eating intervention is girlfriends who have all been there, all get it, and all will, at one point or another, turn back to food because it truly is the only thing that understands.
Think I’m kidding? What soothes the soul after a ridiculously stressful day trying to work with a woman half your age who is certain that she is in charge and, by the way, “My mom wears her hair exactly the same way you do.” A five-mile run? Only if it’s to the nearest market to pick up that extra-large bag of m&m’s.
Who knows better than a woman the way that eating frosting from the can promises instant comfort and the sense (false as it may be) that all is well with the world?
And really, when you finally get home after a flat tire, a rude tow truck driver, a broken heel, and a lost laptop, who are you gonna call? Food busters? I don’t think so. I think you’re going to call that Chinese place down the street for warm, golden soup packed with soft, pillowy won tons, and an order of sticky, satisfying, sweet-and-sour chicken. And don’t forget the white rice.
Like everything else we, as middle-aged women, face in our lives, emotional eating falls into that “staying in balance” dynamic. As an everyday way to live, we know it’s not the answer. But as a once-in-a-while, comfy, cozy way to unplug and unwind our way back to sanity, there’s no question.
For the record, I’ve got dibs on the green ones.
© 2012 Claudia Grossman