The Secret Comfort Eater's Guide
Enjoying food is one of the pleasured of life, and comfort eating is something we all indulge in to a degree. But if you are looking forward to spending your spare time on the sofa watching television, munching through a whole packet of biscuits, eating a whole box of chocolates, or eating supersized takeaways, then you are heading for trouble.
This kind of comfort eating is giving no comfort, just causing your weight to rocket, and your health to decline. If you start with the promise of one biscuit and then munch your way through the whole packet, you are overeating, and you need to learn how to control your eating.
You are not eating for health - you are eating for comfort.
Comfort eating often stems from childhood. When you were a child you were told what to eat and what was forbidden. When I was a child, I was told to eat up everything on my plate as there were children starving in Africa. Also food was expensive and my mother did not want to waste it.
When you grow up, it can be a great joy to choose food for yourself. You can eat whatever you like.
We live in a culture of abundance and most of us can buy whatever food we like, so self-discipline is necessary otherwise we will all end up too heavy to get about. The wealthier you become, the more important it is to have self-discipline. The major key to weight loss is making gradual changes that your body accepts. Your body does not like sudden change and will fight against dramatic changes, sending out hungry signals that you will be unable to resist.
Let's look at the reasons why we comfort eat.
There are two main types of comfort eating. One is to fill an emotional void which means no one is taking care of your emotional needs; you are not getting the support you need; or maybe in childhood you got into the habit of using food as a fix to cheer yourself up. For whatever reason, you needs were not being met, so you ate as a substitute for the love you needed. Or maybe you are so busy taking care of everyone else that you forget to ask for what you need.
To put a stop to this kind of comfort eating you need to deal with the source of the problem. Ask yourself what you need; ask for help and reassurance when you need it; forgive yourself for your failings; be kind to yourself and feed yourself positive messages.
Change what you can and accept what you can't, the future is all yours.
The other sort of comfort eating stems from plain, simple boredom. Is there nothing more exciting in your life that what is on the television, and what you can eat? You deserve more. You need to get to the source of this as well. What is lacking? Is it your work? Is it being at home alone with the children? Is it the wheel of life that leaves you tired and bored? Make some changes - change you work - help with a charity - take up exercise - take up education. Only you can decide, but you need something more interesting than food being the highlight of your day.
Regular exercise is a great morale booster.
Try a walk or a swim when you feel like a snack coming on. Getting out and about; working towards your goals in life; taking care of your health and keeping busy are all important.
Recognise trigger foods that make you want to eat more and don't buy them.
Regular comfort eaters need to know that this is something that we can all identify with. Share your problem with someone - it's not a a dark secret. Over-eating will not solve your problems, but discussing them is a great step forward.