It's only fair to share…

In our continued pursuit to tackle our cravings and pin ‘em to the mat once and for all — this post will focus on the more tangible side of things.

Reach out and touch … you heard me.

That’s correct. Item number THREE on my Thirteen Surprisng Sources of Food Cravings list is — lack of personal contact. Ouch!

Are we really ready to talk about this? We joke about how people aren’t as true to us as a pint of Ben & Jerry’s. We tease that a cupcake is better than sex. We refer to coffee a hug in a mug.

But who’s laughing when chronic illness climbs aboard the foodie train?

Here’s one area of “nutrition” that we often miss: comfort comes in many packages.

How many of you stressed-out folks reach for something that you can’t find advertised on TV? Think about that for a minute. If you’re reaching for something to comfort you – and there’s a TV commercial or radio/magazine ad for it – think again! Take a second look.

Real comfort does not come from Nabisco, Kraft, General Foods, General Mills, PepsiCo, or Nestle. Of that I’m certain.

They lack the “Reach Out and Touch” factor. Speaking of … when was the last time you felt truly comforted by another human being? An affirming hand on your shoulder or a slight caress to the upper arm showing that they’re listening and that you’ve been heard. Fingers interlocked – hand in hand solidarity. A gentle full-body squeeze to let you know that you’re loved, supported, and valued. Are you getting enough of this?

I’ll be honest — I know I’m not. I’ve got a serious case of “comfort debt” going on. What about you? Are you depleted or revelling in a surplus?

We already know this about food, but here’s a reminder. No cookie, latte, or creamy whipped frozen fluff can truly satisfy the “comfort debt” most of us have going on. One way to remedy this is to walk around wearing a Free Hugs button. It’s an idea.

Without getting into a big to-do over a deep subject I couldn’t possibly cover here, let’s chat about body language. What does your body tell (or scream) to those around you? Are you approachable or do you give off vibes sure to keep the world at bay? I understand body pain, so that issue aside, physical contact is still a necessary fact of life. Do you exude a willingness to participate? Do you initiate reaching out for a handshake? Not everyone is comfortable with physical contact, of course, but you can use your common sense to make that decision. Trust your judgment.

And, I can hear you from here. I know some of you (many of you) are single. You may not have a significant other in your life. But, you do have options. There are neighbors, friends, and people we haven’t met yet in grocery stores and the Target parking lot. Unless you’re living on the moon, human contact is an option.

On another note – I’m using the term “human” loosely. There’s no better hug than one that comes attached to a purr or a wag.…

If you don’t have one of these nifty “comfort debt” reduction tools already, get one. Go out and adopt a furry hug today!

Get caught up on our journey to tackle cravings! Read or re-read the original Cravings Post here.


Susan Ingebretson is an author, speaker and the director of program development for the Fibromyalgia Research and Education Center at California State University, Fullerton. Her book,FibroWHYalgia: Why Rebuilding the Ten Root Causes of Chronic Illness Restores Chronic Wellness, details her own journey from illness to wellness.

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