The only problem for Jennifer was that the fulfillment never lasted very long. By the time she got the bread home and put away the rest of the groceries, it was already starting to cool off, and the kids wanted in on the action. Before she knew it, the loaf was gone along wiht that transcendent moment of relief. Instead, it was replaced by anxiety over her weight and how much she’d eaten. Everything about the bread, it seemed, always went from warm to cold.
Often, because of denials and rationalizations, it can be difficult to reach an understanding of how much a role food plays in comfort seeking. People tend to downplay the need for their food of choice; they downplay the amount they actually consume of it; they downplay the importance it has appropriated in their lives. They downplay all of these things until they are asked to withhold that food of choice. When this happens, they quickly realize it has become their go-to source of comfort.
When speaking of comfort, food is the first thing that comes to my mind because of the amount of eating disorders I work with, but I have seen many other activities join the go-to-for-comfort club. I have seen that loaf of French bread replaced by a double-tall caramel macchiato. I have seen that double-tall caramel macchiato replaced by a video game controller. I have seen that game controller replaced by a credit card. I have seen that credit card replaced by the satisfaction of a verbal outburst or a sarcastic put-down.
The ways people choose to provide themselves with comfort is virtually endless. When you factor in each person’s unique situation and capacity for creativity, the permutations go off the chart.