As if Americans did not already have enough to worry about in the
current recession, along comes The Washington Times newspaper with
information we sort of knew but preferred to forget:
In times of stress, we eat more and get fatter.
The paper's interviews with health professionals confirmed that there
really is something called comfort food, and it's usually fattening.
A piece of cake or a triple hamburger offers immediate gratification
and a short-lived feeling of well-being, experts told the paper. But
indulge often enough, and not only don't your pants or skirts button so
easily, but guilt, more anxiety and stress, and other health problems
can set in. At a time when worried consumers are cautioned to cut back
on spending, they can instead go wild at the store, buying that tasty,
high-fat food that makes them feel better.
To compound the
problem, a September survey by the consulting firm Booz & Company
revealed that more than one-third of U.S. consumers have cut back on
activities that cost money - notably including health-club
memberships. That was almost four months ago. Things are worse now,
and centimeters have already been added to many waistlines.
A North Carolina eating-disorder specialist told The Washington Times
that there might be a glimmer of hope in all this anxiety and
overindulgence. People's guilt is beginning to be focused not just on
their overeating, she said, but also about literally biting into their
family's food budget. When the strategy for feeling better makes you
sicker and eats into your wallet, she added, maybe this will be . . . a
motivation for recovery.
Maybe, but the newspaper pointed
out that in 2007, when the glimmerings of a recession were beginning to
trigger cutbacks and layoffs in industries across the United States,
candy sales were already up 2.2 percent.
Read more of Ted's personal reflections and stories from the road on his blog, Ted Landphair's America.