If you saw the recent “Saturday Night Live Weekend Update” special episode last week, you already know what it means to sheet-cake.
For those who haven’t seen it, definitely check out the replay of Tina Fey’s serious, smart, and powerful monologue about the sad and scary state of race relations in the United States.
The whole time Tina Fey makes important points about current events, she is furiously pushing sheet cake into her mouth.
At one point, the issue she is talking about is so sad and stressful, she makes the point that sometimes sheet-caking isn’t enough. You have to grab a slice of grilled cheese and dip it into the sheet cake.
It’s the ultimate demonstration of stress eating- Eating to calm ourselves during difficult situations.
Maybe we feel overwhelmed, out of control, or sad. Sometimes it’s a mix of all those things. But I’m guessing even if your go-to isn’t sheet cake, you’ve done the same thing before.
Many people suffer from bulimia, which is a medical condition that involves binge-eating and purging. It’s serious and in my opinion, much like addiction, requires professional help to heal. In the case of this post, I’m not talking about bulimia; I’m talking about good, old-fashion stress eating.
And I think we’d be hard-pressed to find one American that hasn’t stress eaten in their life.
We’ve all been there. It was a hard day at work. As you’re driving home, a million things are flying through your mind.
You get home, unlock the front door, head straight to the pantry, and down half of a bag of potato chips.
Why? Because it makes you feel better. Until you stop eating, which is when you feel like shit.
Then you promise yourself you won’t do that again. You know it’s the reason the weight isn’t coming off. Or why that healthy meal of salmon and veggies doesn’t sound good when it’s time for dinner.
But that heaping bowl of ice cream about 9 p.m.- that is EXACTLY what you deserve. Come on, think of all the pressure you are under??
We all have these moments, but rarely do we feel better later. And more importantly, eating all those chips and ice cream never elevates any sort of pressure. In fact, it can make us feel worse.
So what’s the fix?
Should we binge on healthy food? Or maybe walk instead of eat? Maybe get on social media and vent?
Or maybe just sit with it for a minute. Just feel it. Feel the pain, pressure, or whatever feeling you were trying to soothe with those chips.
Because those feelings can’t kill you. They may feel uncomfortable and painful, but you can breathe through them.
So what about the worry that you’ll get stuck in whatever horrible feeling you were trying to escape?
From my experience, walking through the feeling- really processing it- will take the pressure off. Looking at it for what it is, instead of trying to dodge the feeling through eating or drinking, is the way to get unstuck.
Will it fix it? Sometimes it will.
Sitting with a painful worry and looking at it for the reality of the situation could provide insights you aren’t privy to when you are in the painful and stressful emotions of trying to avoid the thoughts.
And sometimes there is no fix in that moment.
But at least it’s not the scary monster under the bed anymore. You faced it. You still have to deal with it, but all that energy that could have been used up by trying to avoid it can now go towards helping you move through it.
So savor the sheet cake for what it is.
A delicious slice of sugary goodness perfect to enjoy when celebrating milestones.
But also understand eating it mindlessly in the kitchen, while standing, and scrolling through your Facebook feed is not going to fix anything.
That kind of healing can only take place when your heart and soul get into the game.