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Losses & Gains: A Simple Lesson In Grief Accounting

I haven’t stopped eating since December 11, 2011. I tried. But every attempt at any sort of control was futile.

A potato chip to nip the truth. A French fry to mute a cry. And anything covered in chocolate (and I don’t even really like chocolate) to just push down even the slightest of feelings I felt that day that I was told by my mom that she wanted to die.

I’ve gained 50 pounds in the past seven years. I blamed it on menopause. I mean, how else does one pack on that much weight in that short of time, unless they’re Tom Hanks preparing for a movie? I couldn’t drink it away - I don’t drink. Couldn’t smoke it away - gave that up years ago. So instead, bite-by-bite, I soothed my way to the unrecognizable cellulite receptacle I am today.

It took me seven years to realize that I’m eating for two: Me. And my mom.

I ran into someone the other day who didn’t recognize me. I saw him last when I weighed 109 pounds. I blamed it on the curly hair I’ve started sporting lately. But at some point while explaining that “I’ve decided to finally embrace what God gave me,” it hit me. It wasn’t my hair that painted me a stranger. It was the puffed up arms and face that left him squinting that, “You look familiar, but I can’t put my finger on it,” look he gave me when I walked up to say hello.

Dopamine has become my drug of choice. I don’t buy it from a guy on the street. I buy my dopamine through the mini-mart at work, through the fast-food windows on my way home and through the check-out at the pharmacy in the two-for-one candy bin I can’t ever seem to pass up. Dopamine begets dopamine. The more fat and sugar I eat, the more my brain gets rewarded. It’s Pavlov, baby.

Grief eating ain’t no joke. Google it. It’s a thing.

The Germans call it "kummerspeck." Which translates to “grief bacon.” Yum. It’s when difficult emotions cause us to overeat. To use it in a sentence, “I’m gobsmacked with kummerspeck.”

I’m wondering if now that I’ve faced the monster head-on, I’ll be able to finally say goodbye to the pain, and to the 50 pounds that rode in with it.

I’ll ponder that over a piece of cake and get back to you.


Lisa Goich is the author of the book 14 Days: A Mother, A Daughter, A Two-Week Goodbye. She’s a regular contributor to Fine Living Lancaster magazine, The Huffington Post and her own blog, A Girl On The Go. For more information visit

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