Skinny Daily Post


Imagine you’re having a really awesome day. You woke up before the alarm went off and figured you had enough time to go for a 20 minute jog. Feeling refreshed, you have a light breakfast and head in to work only to discover the boss called and won’t be in. In peace and quiet you get so much work done that you can leave the office early. Stopping at the market on the way home you find a 2-for-1 special on your favorite in-season fruit. That evening when you walk in the door, you notice you are a little hungry.

Okay, at this point, how much food would it take to make you feel satisfied?

Now. Imagine you had a truly lousy day. You overslept, and in the rush to get ready spilled coffee on your brand new trousers. You didnt remember to check the forecast, and you end up getting rained on in the parking lot, since you are late and had to park in the farthest spot. Your boss is back, angry at the three things you were supposed to have done and makes you work through lunch and stay late to finish everything. Driving home, you get stuck in a traffic jam and arrive home to discover the dog has peed on the carpet.

Okay, at this point, how much food would it take to make you feel satisfied?

Same question, two answers. Emotional and physical hunger are both real. But physical hunger is something we can address without much fuss. On the other hand, emotional hunger can manifest itself so strongly that no amount of food feels like it’s enough.

I’ve been looking for work for about 18 months now. This morning I had a phone screen with a recruiter, who tersely told me I am (and I quote:) underqualified, lack corporate experience, have a thin portfolio and do not possess the breadth and depth of a qualified candidate for their communications department. Suddenly, I discover that my 18 years of experience as a successful and enthusiastic strategic communicator have been wiped out in a four minute conversation. Naturally, the first thing I did after hanging up was to turn to a candy bar.

Then it struck me. If Im eating because this person made me feel bad, who is in charge of my mouth? Am I yielding all of my control and all of my hard-won efforts to become healthy, to one harpy in the HR department? Am I not the one who gets to make the decisions about what I eat?

How much food does it take to cure an emotion?

14 thoughts on “How much does it take?

  1. Marilyn says:

    This was a great article

  2. h says:

    This is right on target. So right. We are almost all affected by emotional eating to one degree or another, in one way or another. My demon is a bit more tricky: if I’m emotional I’ll find myself simply eating TOO MUCH “healthy” food. Good food, bad portions. Same end result.

    This post was very well written, by the way. 🙂

  3. Pink Poppy says:

    Hello! I am here on behalf of the membership of The Poppy Club. We appreciate the fabulosity of your blog and congratulate you on your recent success in The Best of Blogs Award competition. We are hosting a party to celebrate you and your fellow finalists and would be honored if you would join us to walk the Red Carpet and greet your fans:

    Friday, Saturday and Sunday–January 21-23
    The Tall Poppy Diaries

    Attire: Black Tie
    Red Carpet Opens at 12:01 on Friday, January 21

    We hope that you and your friends can join us. And again, please accept our congratulations and best wishes for a very successful and happy 2005.

  4. jappy says:

    OUCH! I agree: right on target!

    This is a difficult one to overcome, no doubt, but it can be done (I’ve heard!).

    And that person was a freakin idiot! Rude doesn’t cover it. And I agree that your post was very well written!

  5. nanny says:

    Great word pictures! Your post reminds me how easy it is to be an outsider looking in on specific situations and have a healthy response to someone else’s attitude or behavior. Healthy, as in, leaving it with that person instead of taking it into and onto ourselves. And yet, sometimes it is so hard to see it when we ourselves are in the immediacy of being an apparent victim of someone else’s inadequacies. Afterward, it’s that, “Arrrggh–why didn’t I ____?!” or, “Why DID I ____?!” that we need to learn from so that, next time, we can thoughtfully respond rather than immediately react. Thanks for the post; it was timely for me!

  6. Marla says:

    Good post! When I feel some part of my life is not under my control, that’s when I turn to food for emotional reasons.

  7. bob says:

    Oh, this takes my breath away. Your message is so relevant for me.

    Job search, recent rejection, emotional hunger for food, who “is” in control of my reaction,…

    “You are so perfectly right,” says my mind.

    More somberly, though, “you are so perfectly right” says my heart. Be gentle with yourself but be strong in the moment of temptation.

    Thanks for your post.

  8. Lauri says:

    “On the other hand, emotional hunger can manifest itself so strongly that no amount of food feels like its enough.”

    I repeat, “ amount of food feels like it’s enough.”

    To answer your ending quesion, that’s how much food it takes to “cure” an emotion.

    Your quote is just ringing in my brain. And resonating. (Is that redundant?)Because that is how I felt at the height of my troubled relationship with food; but you put the feeling into one, succint phrase. How can I ever thank you?

    I feel for you because I was unemployed for 9 months, unfortunately for me it was the worst (depressing) time of my life, I gained 13 pounds on an otherwise skinny body & didn’t even realize it (I don’t have a scale). I know 13 pounds doesn’t sound like much; it was more that I was unaware of it that struck me, like how could I have been that much out-of-touch with my body? I was even going to aerobic classes 5 days a week during those 9 months!

    I can’t imagine looking for work for about 18 months, I feel for you; you are a very successful communicator, your one sentence I quoted above was so powerful, it bowls that HR “harpy” into the next century–that person must be conducting phone screens because some of those reasons would never be legitimate in a written rejection letter.

  9. Misty says:


    Thanks for the post. Very well written and timely. 🙂

  10. Laurie says:

    “I repeat, amount of food feels like its enough.

    To answer your ending quesion, thats how much food it takes to cure an emotion.”

    Overeating never cures my bad emotions, but eating until I am uncomfortable and my stomach hurts does DISTRACT my attention to a new misery. Oy vey, what a rotten way to live.

    Fortunately, so far this month I’m doing much better.

  11. ladymisstree says:

    It’s been a long hard road, but I’m finally starting to learn that ice cream doesn’t love me, cookies can’t hug me and tell me it’s all OK and chocolate doesn’t even have a shoulder for me to cry on.

    This was a brilliant post, summing up the struggle I have on every bad day, at every bad moment. I started this journey after I came out of a stressful meeting unscathed and said to myself, “Good girl, have a cookie.”

    I thought for a moment about what I was saying to myself and what that really meant and was horrified. Food had ceased to be fuel and had become an emotional crutch. I realised it was easier to eat than be vulnerable or scared or angry or depressed.

    It’s hard and there are missteps along the way. Last night a family crisis lead to me eating half a tub of ice cream. But they are fewer and far between. How much food does it take to cure an emotion? No amount of food can ever do that.

  12. Sharon says:

    Dear Jonathan:

    Im so glad to have found you again. I so enjoyed your writing on WLZ . I was so sad when you left that board . And I am so happy to have re-discovered you again. You are a wonderful writer .

  13. Kate says:

    Hmmm…what a pompous, arrogant, rude HR person! If that’s the kind of person representing that company, perhaps you would hate working there! On the other hand, perhaps the CEO is unaware of just who is representing that company. I think a letter to the CEO informing him/her might help you feel vindicated.

    I thought your post was so well-done. I struggle with this all the time! How do you control/deal with that urge to eat?

  14. lyncee says:

    I can so relate to what you are saying. I am moving to another city in June after my twins graduate to get more money and be closer to my boyfriend. I am trying to graduate 2 kids from different schools (senioritis sucks by the way), I work in a tourist industry so only work half time right now and with senior announcements, pictures etc. I am financially tapped out! I have a great boyfriend who lives 6 hours away so even though he offers phone support – I miss that day to day contact and encouragement one gets from a day-to-day “hands on” relationship. Stressed doesn’t even begin to explain my life. I lost 60 pounds last summer working 80 hours a week so I know I need excercise but I can’t seem to get it together. I eat because I am bored, because I am overworked…underworked…happy…sad… – you name it – I eat for no reason at all. I need to work on the emotional reasons for eating and what to eat and how to eat.

    I will keep an eye on these blogs for daily reminders of what to do and what not to do and that there are others out there doing the same thing as me.

    Thanks for the post and together we can conquer our addiction to food. (by the Grace of God and fellowship with others)

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