Do you find yourself mindlessly munching through a whole bag of chips after a stressful day?
Comfort eating is triggered by emotions that you may be trying to escape because they feel too uncomfortable to face.
Comfort eaters (Emotional eaters) are eaters of emotion.
They have difficulty identifying and communicating their feelings and tend to eat in response to emotions.
This behaviour tends to happen automatically.
Let me spill the beans here – It’s easier to eat rather than talk about feelings or sit still with an uncomfortable feeling.
Finding comfort in food is common, the problem is it often leads to feelings of guilt or shame, leading to a cycle of excess eating and associated issues, like weight gain.
Did you know that according to different studies women are more likely than men to comfort eat when feeling stressed?
Firstly, explore some of the challenges and obstacles that contribute to comfort eating.
Research shows that there are 220 food related decisions that we make every single day of those we know that less than 20 are made quite consciously.
We make most of them out of habit and a lot of them are driven by our emotional state.
Many food-related decisions occur in distracting environments and may lead to relatively “mindless eating.” This would explain why people often cannot really explain why they ate six chocolates from the office candy dish, ate two bites of chicken for every one bite of coleslaw at lunch, or why they consumed three helpings of potatoes
Here are three simple tools to help you stop the comfort eating habit.
Tool #1- Manage Your Stress Levels
I suggest putting aside some-time to create your list of possible comfort strategies.
If you take time out to care and nurture yourself daily, you will feel better, and experience more happiness and satisfaction….and crave less.
That means creating the time in your day to destress, journal and relax, even if it’s just five to 10 minutes of doing absolutely nothing
1. Start off by asking yourself the following questions:
- What do I need in those moments when I want to eat?
- What can I have on my list that is within my reach and doesn’t require much energy?
2. Show yourself some love by doing activities you enjoy.
Here are some nurturing-self-care activities to help you manage stress:
- Yoga and meditation
- Journaling (it’s amazing how much better you will feel after you download your thoughts onto paper)
- Take a long soak in the bath and listen to your favourite music
- Finish work early enough to have self-care time
- Connect with friends and go out
- Move your body daily in a way that you find enjoyable
- Get a massage on a regular basis
- Go take a hike-literally
The key is to experiment and find what feels best for you.
You may find this video helpful 3 Tips To Relax Without Food
Tool # 2 – Grounding Technique.
When you feel a craving or feel like indulging in extra treats that you would rather not eat, try this fabulous grounding technique.
1-5-4-3-2-1 Grounding Technique
Using your 5 senses is a fast way to bring you out of your thoughts or intense emotions into the present moment. This is a simple grounding technique you can do in the moment.
Try the following steps:
- Name 5 things you can see
- Name 4 things you can hear.
- Name 3 things you can touch within your immediate reach.
- Name 2 things you can smell.
- Name 1 thing you can feel.
Tool #3-Create New Rituals
Many people tend to get stuck in indulging rituals.
If you know your habits and rituals and when you’re most vulnerable, you can develop other strategies that target the emotional eating behaviour.
Ask yourself these questions to get clarity:
- When am I most likely to indulge my emotions?
- What part of the day does it tend to happen?
- Who am I with when this happens?
- Where am I when the feelings strike?
Use this information to set yourself up for success and put some new rituals into place.
Create new rituals:
Here are some situations and useful ways to deal with them:
If you likely to indulge when home alone:
- Don’t keep any trigger foods or comfort foods at home.
If you likely to buy something indulgent the way home from a stressful day at work, and eat it secretly in the car:
- Change your routine and take a different route home that doesn’t involve you going past the supermarket.
If you’re sad, stressed or frustrated about something:
- Ask yourself if there’s a more effective way you might address it OR take care for yourself?
- You could take a 15-minute break to go breathe outside, or take a quick cat-nap.
What does this mean for you?
Remember that self-awareness, being honest with yourself and self-compassion will help you move in the right direction.
Creating these positive changes will make you feel so much better than the food ever did!
“Today I challenge you to be present and feel what you need to feel.”
Now I have a question for you….
- How can you create some time in your day where you can just be and feel, even if those feelings are uncomfortable?
I would love to hear your thoughts on this article. Please write a comment below.
🍓Food & Mood 😃 Coach
I coach busy stressed women who are emotionally eating to put down their fork and pick up their life.
If you feel ready to change your relationship with food book a free 30-minute-coaching session with me. I’ll show you how to eat well consistently so you feel HAPPY, energised and confident wearing the clothes you love.