This is a continuation of the April 2, 2014 Weights and Balances on focusing on comfort eating.
In many cookbooks and websites, there are now sections on “comfort foods.” What does the term “comfort food” imply? It implies that you can eat these foods to attain or maintain a feeling. That sounds oddly familiar like why a junkie needs his drug! Moods tend to dictate what type of comfort foods that we seek out. Happy moods seem to draw us to pizza and steak, whereas sad moods move us to seek out ice cream and cookies and bored people seek out potato chips. I am a potato chip seeker! (or was) More proof that I had an issue with eating from boredom! (Bad bad habit!)
We tend to over-feed emotions and thus gain weight. We have to learn other coping strategies or we are doomed to keep fighting overweight.
Things to try to keep in focus:
- Learn what triggers comfort eating in you (anger, feeling unappreciated, feeling hopeless, feeling out of control, boredom)
- Learn to recognize real hunger signals (hallow feeling, mild gnawing sensation in your gut)
- Keep of list of things you can do when you realize you are wanting to eat when not hungry
- Find a “healthy” alternative comfort food
- When faced with something highly fattening, take about four bites and call it quits, equal pleasure with much lower cost
- Use moderation, learn to “live with” comfort foods by controlling your portion size of them (individual servings not whole bags/boxes/cartons)
- Do not skip meals; this will almost always lead to over-eating
I had someone once tell me that I had to work very hard to stay overweight. Now I am really beginning to understand what that really meant. Eating emotionally is a lifetime habit that is difficult to face but for lasting weight loss and greater health it has to be overcome.
Something to remember, when you slip up and eat emotionally, do not give up on yourself. Self-forgiveness must happen and re-focus on making good choices at the next meal/snack/day. Staying focused on how far you have come and what you have learned from your mistakes will help keep you moving forward in your journey to long-term weigh loss success.