This is a big one for me.
Yesterday, I was reading a story that reminded me of a very dear friend who died three years ago. Between the story and the music I was listening to, I ended up sobbing. When I was done, the first thing I thought was, "I need chocolate." I headed into the kitchen, and halfway to the fridge I stopped and thought, "I'm not even hungry," and then a moment later, "I don't care. I'm going to have it anyway."
And then I said, "No, I'm not." And I left - not just the kitchen, but the house. Because in that moment, I realized that the temptation wouldn't go away if it was right in front of me. I decided that if I still wanted chocolate later, I would have it. But I would have it for pleasure, not because I felt lousy and wanted it for comfort.
I didn't actually end up eating it. It was all I could think of for a little while, that there was chocolate waiting for me, but then I got so busy that I forgot.
Thinking back to yesterday, I know that if I had eaten the chocolate in that moment of sorrow, I would not have been satisfied with one serving. Because as much as I enjoy it, it cannot comfort me or make the bad feelings go away. But I would have tried, by eating more. And then I would have felt unsatisfied and guilty and still sorrowful.
This is not the first time that I have managed to turn away from food during emotional stress. This was different, though, because I was consciously aware, in that moment, that what I was about to do was comfort eating. It made the decision not to do it both harder and easier. Harder, because a part of me was saying, "Eat the chocolate. It will help. It always does." Easier, because the other part of me was saying, "It doesn't really, you know."
It seems funny that this should be a revelation: The only problem food can solve is hunger.
Even after years of reading Geneen Roth and trying to change my habits and thoughts, it's still a revelation. Maybe I already intellectually knew, but I wasn't ready to know,
to believe it as truth. I think maybe I can, now.