Comfort Food vs. Thin Thighs

I had an insight at the tournament on Sunday. I was talking with one of my fellow Veterans and envying the fact that she had such beautiful thin thighs (not to mention fabulous hair and a wonderful personality), and I thought to myself, "Why not? Why don't I just do it, lose weight (as I understand she did) and stay thin? What's stopping me?"

And then I thought about what I had eaten that day: the bagel at 1am while I was watching the newest episode of Dexter on pay-per-view, the orange juice and coffee with creamer I had at 6:30am in a desperate effort to wake up, the banana after I finished my pool, the gourmet chocolate-covered peanuts after I finished my DEs followed by a thin-crust cheese pizza and a frozen cappuccino. And I realized (or admitted to myself) fully for the first time what it would mean never to eat the "wrong" food again. Never to binge on carbohydrates. Never to have that dessert or that heavy cream sauce or that second helping. Never to make a mistake in my diet and succumb to my desire for comfort. Because that, of course, was one of the main reasons why I kept eating those chocolate-covered peanuts even though the chocolate wasn't that great, why I finished the flat fast-food pizza, why I tried to enjoy (and mostly did) the somewhat plastic cappuccino: I was rewarding and at the same time comforting myself for not being able to fence any better than I did that day.

After all, that's what food is, right? A treat that you get for behaving well. Something that you can have when you've been good. It's not about fuel or nutrition--except as a challenge. You're not supposed to enjoy it when it's about hunger, only when it's a treat. But heaven forbid that you eat at the wrong times or want that cake with coconut icing. Because you can't have that until you've earned it. And round and round. What I realized on Sunday was how truly hard it would be to tell myself, basically, that I was never allowed to comfort myself again. That to be thin, I would have to suck it up, stay permanently cheerful, never find myself falling, falling, falling into the pit that only a shock-load of chocolate and ice cream and sugar could save me from. Which in itself was a very compassionate realization. No wonder it's been so hard for me to stay on my diet--any diet. I was comforting myself the only way I knew how.

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