I binged after reading the news

I wanted to share something eye-opening that happened to me this past Motzei Shabbos.

It’s been a really long time since I saw myself binging and I thought it was important to share the experience with you.

I was working with a client on Motzei Shabbos, and when I finished working with her at 10:15pm, I suddenly realized I was very hungry. I hadn’t eaten since Shabbos, and since I put a lot of energy into my clients and calls, I was suddenly very hungry, and the only thing that appealed to me was…cookies. (No shame in that!) I went to my kitchen and got the cookies, and decided I wanted to go back to my computer and read the news a bit.

computer and cookies

Side note: I rarely read the news these days. I usually look at the news briefs so that I can know what’s going on without the sensationalist parts that come from the regular news stations. Maybe because I was tired and it was late, I started looking at everything that happened in Israel and the rest of the world. And it shocked me. Y’know, the way these sorts of things shock most people.

I found myself putting my hand into the box of cookies over and over again. When I finally realized what I was doing, I thought, oh my gosh, what am I doing? It’s been a really long time since I did that, and it was actually amazing to be able to experience a binge again. (Yes, I really just said that!)

I did start off eating the cookies when hungry. I wanted something to eat, and these cookies looked very appealing to me, and so I started eating them. At a certain point, though, I got distracted by the news. Not only was I distracted, I was troubled by what I was reading in the news. It was really distressing. I wasn’t even enjoying the cookies anymore and yet I kept mindlessly going back for more.

When I finally reflected on what was happening, I realized that the cookies had stopped serving their purpose long ago. It wasn’t cookies I needed right then, but rather to a) stop looking at the news, because it’s not going to help the situation or improve what happened, and b) to reflect on what I did need right now in the moment. I needed to work through my feelings — what it means to be living in Galus, what a crazy world we live in, a world where there is so much anti-Semitism, and what it means to be a Jewish person to have the awareness that it could have been me. It was a much more productive place to go to rather than into a box of cookies.

It’s amazing when you can take that step back to reflect on why you’re reaching for food. In a way it’s more enticing to bury my feelings in the cookies, but going though the process of understanding the fear I was feeling, and the anxiety that I was feeling, and all those feelings that come up when we hear about all those crazy things that are going on the world…and as a result what we should REALLY be doing to work through the emotions that rise up during these situations. In this case, for me, it meant doubling up on what it means to have bitachon, to believe that there’s a purpose to all this even if I don’t understand what it is, and to really let myself feel my emotions so that I could use this moment as a tool for growth.

So next time you find yourself reaching in to a box of cookies, ask yourself: What is it that I really need right now?

1 Comment

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Elana Jacksonreply
November 23, 2015 at 8:58 pm

Here is Gush Etzion, we tend to eat after hearing the news because “if I’m anyways going to be killed soon, might as well enjoy the chocolate while I can!”. The Emunah eventually comes back and the binge ends, but it’s not easy.

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