I’m fairly well-known for talking about eating one’s feelings. Usually in a “Bertha-esque” voice I jokingly proclaim that I, or someone close to me, should eat their feelings. A pint of ice cream. A bacon cheeseburger. Whatever food it is that evokes feelings of comfort or security. Or maybe a ridiculous level of indulgence that transcends moods and lifts you from the dredges of life.
It wasn’t until last Friday afternoon, over a bacon cheeseburger in the lounge at Bourbon Steak, that I understood the alarming truth in those three words: eating your feelings.
I’ve been going through a bit of a rough time, friends. Life has thrown me some emotional curve balls. I am a fairly resilient person, not easily shaken by change. But when said change flips you on your head and changes what your every day looks or feels like – there’s no ignoring it. I’ve taken the last few weeks to not even deal with the changes in my life, but just accept them. (They say it’s the first step…)
Not to discount the positive, I’ve also had some really amazing and wonderful changes happen over the last month. Alas, even positive changes can mean leaving your comfort zone.
So, it was after a particularly “red zone” type of morning with work emails rolling in, tripping my way to work, hot coffee in hand, tourists standing on the left (DC people will get this) and, of all things, Amazon servers going down and taking out HootSuite (my new job is nothing but social media so this made for a particularly “WHAT THE F*CK!” moment) I found myself craving a bacon cheeseburger. Red meat cravings, for me, are a sure sign of emotional eating.
Well. You try to resist the bacon cheeseburger from Bourbon Steak.
After I had consumed the entire burger I sat back, looked at my fellow diners and said, “You know. I actually feel better. Like. I’m in a good mood now!” We all laughed about it but. Wow. Truer words hadn’t been spoken in at least a couple of weeks.
More after the jump…
Was this alarming? Kind of, not gonna lie. Am I losing sleep over it? Nope. Do I feel like I should probably get back to running my three miles, five times a week, stat!? Yeeeep. It also got me thinking more about my relationship with food. Beyond being a well-documented recreational eater, food writer and maybe even a freelancing food writer, I have a relationship with food that goes way beyond eating to live.
Before I start beating myself up though let’s consider that eating one’s feelings doesn’t always have to be a Bridget Jones vodka, cheese and ice cream binge session. We eat our feelings when we’re happy, too. Birthday dinners. Christmas brunches. Baby showers.
Eating and sadness are as cliché as surf and turf. People scoff at it. Make jokes about it. Eating and happiness though? Well, that’s the foie gras of the menu. Celebrated, indulged in.
But so, here I am, two weeks after a particularly “two roads diverged” moment in my life and I’m eating bacon cheeseburgers to make myself feel better. I’m somewhere between “there has got to be something better than this” (oh, I don’t know, like, running) and “oh hell, just ride it out.”
I know I’m not the only one who’s ever realized food plays a role in sifting through the aftermath of an emotionally jolting situation. Whether it’s eating it or cooking it (anyone remember Izzy Steven’s muffin baking break down on Grey’s Anatomy?), food can be as cathartic as neurotically cleaning your entire house or working out three hours a day, all equally unhealthy on some level. Especially for those of us who’ve thrown ourselves head first into the food world. I guess what I’m thinking though is…there’s something okay with it? For now, at least. I think we can be a little forgiving, a little “oh hell ride with it” and come out just fine on the other side.
Until I change my mind, or put on my running shoes, I think I’m going to find a huge plate of pasta to throw myself into. Maybe Domenica Marchetti will let me hang out in her kitchen for a while….