Eating your way to relief: comfort foods

By Janene Gibbons
October 30, 2008

Shannon Keough

Chocolate is not something

I choose to eat but a constant craving bordering on addiction.

Cheese in any form is the equivalent to fruits and vegetables in the food pyramid

of Janene Gibbons. Macaroni and cheese is my personal favorite comfort food. Pizza comes close in second.

According to the Web site “Psychology Today,” when lead author Dr. Brian Wansink, University of Illinois

marketing professor,

asked 1,005 men and women what their favorite comfort food was, it was a landside victory for ice cream. Wansink said ice cream could be a favorite food because we cognitively

associate it with the stress-free days of being a child.

I think of everything in life, including food, in terms of relationships. Food and I go way back. I am so in love with food but there was a time when the stress of my dancing career and how good I looked in my leotard compared to all the other girls in my class made me hate food. My freshman year of high school, I watched what I ate to the point where it became

an obsession.

I gave up worrying about my eating habits and weight after a year or so when I realized that life is meant to be enjoyed to the fullest. When I work out really hard or I accomplish something big or feel like something hearty, I order that chicken cheese steak from Campus Corner. The key for me is to give myself

the chance to order once a month from there. I limit myself to that. In saying all this though eating

healthy is difficult this year.

Allow me to paint you a little picture of me and my relationship with food during

the school year.

I walk into the cafeteria feeling hung over from a lack of sleep. I am so busy this semester that I never and I mean never get to bed before 3 a.m. Every morning

I wake up, I think today is the day I will start eating

healthy. After all I do want to be an actress and I want to stay fit. I start off okay with a Special K bar and a multi-vitamin for energy.

I take a big bottle of water with me and head off to class.

Sometime between 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. I make it to the cafeteria. There is a long line for everything

I want, except the French fries I so desperately crave and the grilled cheese sandwich that I could literally

get to in two seconds and have in my stomach digesting

in the next minute. So what do I do? Do I wait in the long lines for pasta or the vegetable stir fry or make a beeline towards the crappy junk food?

As I squeeze the last remains

of the only ketchup bottle in the cafeteria on to my fries I think to myself, “Well everyone deserves a treat now and then. I am really

active. I take 17.5 credits

and I am always literally running from the theater, to the radio station, to the video studio and so on. It will all burn off.”

I sink my teeth into my warm salty fries and chug down some essential caffeinated

Pepsi so that I can keep my head up in class. I think to myself, the only thing I need now is. chocolate.

I grab a chocolate pink M&M cookie, the kind that they have for breast cancer awareness month. Finally, I feel temporarily energized and relieved.

Eating a lot is okay if I am able to work out. Otherwise,

I do feel guilty for taking advantage of my fairly fast metabolism. I feel like I could be skinner

if only I could just stay away from those yummy fries and limit myself to one piece of chocolate instead

of three. I am a nervous

eater, so when I can, I try to pace myself and give 10 minutes in between getting

seconds to see if I am really hungry or just distracted.

I try to make my late night snacks something I know I won’t eat a lot of like pretzels and then I drink a lot of water. I also go to the gym almost every week and do a half hour on the elliptical and some serious

crunches, which really helps me relieve stress and feel good about myself. I even went to a spinning class this year with my friend Jack. When I exercise

I can eat more, so I love to exercise.

My advice, have the salad bar as much as possible

with pasta for energy.Every once and a while it is okay to treat yourself and remember anything in moderation is fine.

Janene Gibbons

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