We all have comfort eaten our way through the fridge at some point in our lives. It’s not uncommon for some to manage their moods by chowing down on a Chinese or scoffing a packet of biscuits in one sitting. And occasionally, it is not such a bad thing. But for others, it can turn into a dangerous habit which stops them from dealing with underlying emotional issues. So, how to break free from comfort eating?
Whether you have self-diagnosed or seen a GP, you will need to learn how to manage your eating. This includes doing the following;
ANALYSING YOUR DIET: What it is you need and aren’t getting in life? When does it get you down the most? It may be approval, security, love, or even just a hug. Some times of the day are worse than others. Recognise the mood, connection and comfort need and try to swap your illicit pleasure for a,
MOOD-BOOSTING FOOD instead. Fruits, veggies. nuts, foods packed full of or omega-3 fatty acids, like those found in tuna, salmon, herring and walnuts all help the mind as well as the body and can be eaten in abundance…remind your taste buds that sugar and salt are not the only tastes on this planet!
DISTINGUISH BETWEEN EMOTIONAL AND PHYSICAL HUNGER: they are not the same and are often easily confused. Here are some clues taken from the ever-helpful Help Guide:
- Emotional hunger comes on suddenly. It hits you in an instant and feels overwhelming and urgent. Physical hunger, on the other hand, comes on more gradually. The urge to eat doesn’t feel as dire or demand instant satisfaction (unless you haven’t eaten for a very long time).
- Emotional hunger craves specific comfort foods. When you’re physically hungry, almost anything sounds good—including healthy stuff like vegetables. But emotional hunger craves fatty foods or sugary snacks that provide an instant rush. You feel like you need cheesecake or pizza, and nothing else will do.
- Emotional hunger often leads to mindless eating. Before you know it, you’ve eaten a whole bag of chips or an entire pint of ice cream without really paying attention or fully enjoying it. When you’re eating in response to physical hunger, you’re typically more aware of what you’re doing.
- Emotional hunger isn’t satisfied once you’re full. You keep wanting more and more, often eating until you’re uncomfortably stuffed. Physical hunger, on the other hand, doesn’t need to be stuffed. You feel satisfied when your stomach is full.
- Emotional hunger isn’t located in the stomach. Rather than a growling belly or a pang in your stomach, you feel your hunger as a craving you can’t get out of your head. You’re focused on specific textures, tastes, and smells.
- Emotional hunger often leads to regret, guilt, or shame. When you eat to satisfy physical hunger, you’re unlikely to feel guilty or ashamed because you’re simply giving your body what it needs. If you feel guilty after you eat, it’s likely because you know deep down that you’re not eating for nutritional reasons.