Are You A Comfort Eater?

Are You A Comfort Eater?

A friend says she has to have a chocolate Pain Au Raisin from Pret every morning without fail. Yet, despite the pleasure she initially feels when eating it, she often feels unhappy about her eating patterns. So, why do we eat things we know are bad for us and why do some of us eat this food believing it makes us happier? How can you tell if you are a comfort eater?

Unfortunately, comfort eating won’t ever fix the emotional problems we use it to address. Instead, it will make you feel worse in the long run. Why? Because not only does the original emotional issue still exist, but you’ve added guilt to the mix, too. If eating has become your primary emotional coping mechanism, you should realise that you are compounding the initial or underlying problem, and, as a result not just adding guilt, but excess weight and the other health issues eating bad food will bring you in the long term, to this list.
Below is a simple Self-Scoring Assessment Tool from Help Guide which is not meant to be used as a clinical diagnosis – get to your GP for that. However, it can help you to decide if you need to visit your GP and perhaps even help you to improve your relationship with food alone.

Are you an emotional eater?

  • Do you eat more when you’re feeling stressed?
  • Do you eat when you’re not hungry or when you’re full?
  • Do you eat to feel better (to calm and soothe yourself when you’re sad, mad, bored, anxious, etc.)?
  • Do you reward yourself with food?
  • Do you regularly eat until you’ve stuffed yourself?
  • Does food make you feel safe? Do you feel like food is a friend?
  • Do you feel powerless or out of control around food?

If you answer yes to two or more of these questions, you may have an emotional eating issue which could do with some focus. Check out our article on how to break free from the cycle. But if you feel it’s too serious for you to deal with on your own, speak to your GP or a healthcare professional.

photo credit: Purple Tiger Products

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