Thank you to HealthyGirl.org reader Stacy, 22, for sharing this tale of emotional eating and very loud little Ho-Hos. Have you ever felt like a food was calling to you?
I wanted to scarf down HoHos today.
If you’ve never had a hoho, I’m referring to those black and white cream cakes, the kind you ate as a four-year-old. I had a bad day. I left classes and walked to the subway, the wind blowing through my hair as the rain poured down. From the five blocks to my apartment, I daydreamed about the HoHo cakes sitting in my cabinet. I pictured the creamy white center and imagined myself devouring the cakes, bite by bite
I have a problem with emotional eating.
It started when I was a teenager. At thirteen, I went through a painful adolescence. Around my classmates I found myself tongue-tied and quiet. Most days, I would hop on the schoolbus, book in hand. I’d lose myself in the latest John Grisham thriller or Nancy Drew novel.
But I couldn’t keep out the outside world. A classmate of mine, a boy named Arthur, would sit behind me on the bus with his friends. Close to my ear, he would whisper about my body, commenting on my chest, hips, and legs. I would bite my lip to keep myself from crying. I didn’t know then it was sexual harrassment.
At thirteen, I took it as something you had to endure in order to be a woman. And when I went home, I would stuff myself with every piece of junk food in the house. I’d pick up a bag of potato chips and eat them so fast I could barely enjoy the taste.
I would eat to cover up my own feelings of self-worth. I would buy two chocolate bars and swallow them in less than ten minutes. With the lingering taste of chocolate morsels in my mouth, I would sneak downstairs for dinner. Throughout the years, I would turn to junk food to soothe my anxiety and fears. Uncertain about the future? Pizza. Bad day? Potato Chips. Menstrual cramps? Ben and Jerry’s Fudge Brownie Supreme.
So tonight, when I got home, I reached for the HoHos. I was having one of those self-defeatist moments we all suffer from. On a rational level, I knew the HoHo’s weren’t going to solve my black mood.
I picked up the box and held the blue and white box in my hands. The swirly letters of the Hostess brand beckoned to me. Eat me, Stacy. Eat me. Eat me and I’ll make all of your problems go away. Just one bite, and you’ll feel better. I reached in. God, I could almost taste the chocolate. Just one.
I pulled my hand in…and stopped. It’s been five hours. I still want my HoHo’s. Can you imagine? I’ve been thinking about chocolate cakes for the past five hours. Clearly, I have an attachment to food. Junk food, in particular. Tonight though, I can say I didn’t give into my emotional eating—my HoHo’s are still sitting in my kitchen cabinet. I came pretty close, though. —Stacy