Post-Election Food Angst

by Anne Bennett on November 10, 2016

When we are sad, confused or scared, we often turn to comfort food to ease our distress. Following is a true story that may help dispel any post-election urges to devour copious quantities of chocolate:


Dawn as a child with her Fat Dad

Al Lerman was a successful advertising man who coined the phrase, “Leggo my Eggo.” He was also really fat. His daughter, Dawn (author of the New York Times Well blog, “Fat Dad”) tells stories about growing up with a food-obsessed Fat Dad who weighed over 350 lbs.

When Dawn was a child, Fat Dad embarked on a new ‘miracle’ diet nearly every week.  All of them were successful, temporarily. He hid Twinkies and HoHos at work and always gained back every pound he lost. After Halloween Dawn remembers locking her candy in a suitcase and hiding it under her bed to stop him from eating it all.

But then came the 1972 Presidential election. Just before election day, Fat Dad took Dawn to a George McGovern rally. On the way, she was surprised that he didn’t stop for his favorite soft, salted pretzels or the roasted chestnuts he loved so much. At the rally he proudly lifted Dawn onto his shoulders as the crowd sang, “Give Peace a Chance.” He seemed oblivious to the foods he craved.

Dawn noticed a change in Fat Dad. Rallying for a candidate seemed to feed her dad by something other than his usual sausage pizza with extra cheese and triple-decker chocolate cake. She writes, “His passion to make the world a better place — one he wanted me to grow up in — appeared to end his cravings for sugar, salt and fat.”

Inadvertently, Fat Dad taught Dawn that “the best strategies for weight loss aren’t necessarily found in the pages of a diet book. They’re achieved when we seek to fill a real hunger in our hearts.

Today many of us are feeling that same hunger. Yesterday my dear friend Marguerite texted me:  “the only thing we can do is stay strong and continue being the good people we are.”

Like Fat Dad, our hungry hearts cannot be stoked with food.


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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Babs November 12, 2016 at 9:31 am

You were so fortunate to learn this lesson early. After this election I was so stressed……..and we know what this means. My therapy is my art (jewelry), so I decided now would be the perfect time to immerse myself in something I love. Got in my car, drove 4 hours, out of the range of televsion, radio, and news. I’m in a tiny place with minimal outside influence. I’m learning new ways of making jewelry, was able to walk on the beach, and am breathing fresh air to fill my mind with positive thoughts. I know that on Monday morning it is back to reality, but for now this was the best thing that could have happened. We all need to step away and ‘re-group. This too shall pass. Blessings and love to all.

Anne Bennett November 16, 2016 at 9:44 am

What a beautiful sentiment, getting away to a peaceful place and thinking positive thoughts. I know this too shall pass, I just don’t know how long it will take or how bad it will get. There I go again, slipping back to the pessimism that brings me down. Positive thoughts. Positive thoughts. Yes.

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