How to Curb Comfort EatingJanuary 19th, 2014 by David
Food is so much more than fuel. With food we celebrate, bond, experiment and express ourselves. It is ingrained in cultures and families dotted throughout the globe. But it can also become a comfort to turn to when we are stressed, sad or lonely. This cycle can become dangerous – addictive even. Food can become the answer to our problems, and then the root of self-contempt.
You’ve had a really bad day, so on route home you hit the shops with a growling tummy and a heavy heart. This lethal combination of hunger and sadness drives you straight to the ice cream fridge, where your worries temporarily melt away at the delicious prospect of devouring the tub in front of therapeutic ‘Sex and The City’ re-runs. Into the basket it goes, and is soon joined by a family sized bar of chocolate, tube of potato chips, packet of fudge brownies, a French stick and a tub of cream cheese. Fast forward 3 hours and the packets, tubs and crumbs surround you in a pit of despair. Your belly feels like it may just combust and self-hatred now entangles with the afore-mentioned sadness to create a miserable cocktail of contempt. Does this sound familiar?
Comfort eating is a rollercoaster cycle which is difficult to dismount. It is a habit that many are embarrassed to admit to but everyone has moments when a slice of cake offers some much needed bursts of happiness. But when things begin to escalate there is no simply sense in eating your feelings. Here are some tips on beating the cycle and curbing comfort eating for good…
- Plan your meals and do your food shop on a full stomach after you’ve taken a walk, a workout or something positive. Plan your meals and snacks in advance and aim to do a weekly shop to get all of your essentials, including satisfying and tasty snacks which are healthy to boot. If you don’t have naughty foods in the house how can you binge on them?
- It is a good idea to do your food shop with company. Perhaps suggest a food shop date with a healthy friend to gossip as you wheel your trolleys around – this is proven to reduce temptation to fill up on unhealthy foods.
- If you have a hankering for treat foods, but you’re not hungry, consciously identify this as a comfort food craving. Rather than mindlessly obeying the demands of your dark passenger, do something which distracts your thought process like phone a friend, take a bath or go for a walk with the dog.
- Listen to your favourite song. Music satisfies the same area of the brain that comfort food triggers, so as you’re singing or dancing away to the music, your cravings are being silently scrapped.
- Keep a food diary. You’ll be amazed at how powerful this is. When you are logging your daily eats you’ll naturally feel the urge to keep things healthy. Writing it down on paper is like admitting it to yourself. If you’ve binged on pizza, you won’t feel proud to diarise it.
- Find ways to de-stress which genuinely make you happy. Yoga, petting your dog, reading a book, or spending time with your partner. These are all hugely comforting tools which involve zero sugar, calories or carbs!
- Do not ban any foods – if you do this, you’ll want them more. Eat healthily but have treat days too where the rules are relaxed and you can indulge a little – just be mindful not to cross the line into a full blown binge.
- Work out in the morning. If you make time, even just ten minutes (*insert link to ten min workout blog here*) you’ll feel like honouring your hard work by eating healthy throughout the remainder of the day.