Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Stress Eating

     She sat, looking at the cinnamon roll on her plate. It was a good one, gooey with cinnamon, topped with a cream cheese frosting. Well, not really a frosting - it wasn't thick enough for that - but neither was it the thin consistency one typically pictures when thinking of a glaze. She shrugged her shoulders; ultimately, it didn't matter. This was her favorite kind, and it little mattered what the topping was called. 

     It had been a long day, she was tired and just needed a break from it all. She picked up the roll and began to dissect it. Some people like to eat them from the edge on in, but not she. No, she preferred to find the edge of the roll and unroll it, eating it one piece at a time, savoring the buttery blend of cinnamon and sugar that comprised the filling, plentiful on every bite that way. As she popped the first piece in her mouth, she could feel her body relaxing, releasing the built up tension from the day. 

     "When did it come to this?" she asked herself. "Finding solace in food?" She sighed, thinking back on her life. It wasn't always like this. The food was healthy enough growing up. When there were treats, they were just that, treats, and more often than not home made ones at that. Even now, grown woman that she was, she still had ingrained in her that three or four cookies was the "limit". Excess wasn't the problem, thankfully. 

     College didn't change her eating habits too badly; if anything, it made them slightly better as a result of the not so great food served up at meal times. Eating what many would consider non-filling junk for so long leaves one longing for real food. She smirked at the memory. Marriage hadn't changed her diet much, either. So what was it? 

     "Children," she breathed, "it was the children that did it." Only it wasn't that simple. It wasn't the children, necessarily, that caused her so much stress - it was the food. Silly, yes, but that was how it was. Mostly dinner. For some reason, she was finding it difficult to merge the boys' dinner time with what would be her husband's dinner time, due to the early bed time that the boys had. Oh, and the fact that dinner prep time coincided nicely with super fussy time, which made even the easy, quick, healthy recipes seemingly impossible. 

     "Who has time to actually prep things?" she asked, nearly aloud. "Clearly not someone with little people tugging at their pant legs, crying because who knows why." She sighed, and her head dropped. It started because trying to cook real food was stressing her, so she opted for quicker, not so good for you food in order to keep her sanity. Then it somehow snowballed, going from 'food is stressing me, I want comfort food', to 'I am just stressed, I need comfort food'. 

     Her eyes started to moisten; her current bite of cinnamon roll stuck in her throat. She hated that she felt this way. She hated leaning so unhealthily on food. She hated her inability to stop, even though she knew it was just a vicious cycle. Stressed, comfort food, guilt about comfort food, stressed, repeat. 

     She sat, looking at the gooey center of the cinnamon roll, her absolute favorite part. The frosting had melted down, nearly covering the entire morsel, mingling with the syrupy cinnamon which was also concentrated there. "My favorite part," she thought, as a tear slid down her cheek, landing with a soft plink on the edge of her plate. 

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