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:
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.