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How To Break The Habit Of Comfort Eating

What is your "go to" place when you are upset?  Do you automatically reach for food?  Did your mother give you a chocolate every time you were hurt?  Eating for comfort is an unhealthy habit.  Discover how you can break it.

Ways to break the habit of comfort eating


Are You Really Hungry?

When you start thinking about or looking for food STOP, tune into your body to check if you are actually hungry. Check that there are physiological signs of hunger, such as a rumbling stomach. If those signs are present then the body needs food and you should eat until you body feels satiated.

Connect To Emotions

If you find that you are not actually hungry then ask yourself “what am I feeling”? Many people do not pay attention to how they are feeling emotionally. When they have uncomfortable feelings they automatically try to suppress it. They don't identify what the emotion is.

Soothing yourself with food rather than addressing the cause of pain becomes a habit. Pain is part of the human experience and you can expect to feel it from time to time. Your feelings are a message from yourself to yourself. This flow of communication is continuous.

Name The Feeling

Give it a label. Happy? Hurt? Disappointed? Bored? Lonely? Sad? Angry? Acknowledge those feelings and be present with them.

Then ask yourself “how much cake must I eat to feel less sad/angry/lonely”? The answer, of course, is that food will only give you a temporary good feeling. A short term gain with long-term consequences.

Eating hasn’t addressed the cause of the feeling and afterwards you feel bad and beat yourself up.

It would better serve you if you can find something else that you can do to feel less this way. Such as:-

  • calling a friend
  • engaging in a hobby
  • doing some exercise

Sometimes there is no solution to the feeling. At those times a pragmatic attitude of accepting “what is” for now and being gentle on yourself is all you can do.

Expect To Stumble

Humans, don’t like change. We are creatures of habit and the moment we start to change them we become uncomfortable. Sometimes we get it wrong. Like buying a take-away because you didn't take lunch to work. When that happens you have two choices. You can give up and say "I can't". "It is too hard". "I'm a failure". Or pick yourself up and get back on track.

Every “mistake” is an opportunity for learning. You can choose to look back at what happened and think about what you could have done differently. If you didn’t take lunch to work you can identify what stopped you.

  • You may have run out of time to prepare it.
  • You didn’t have the ingredients to make it or
  • you were over-burdened with other tasks.

Once you have identified what stopped you doing what you set out to do you can find a new strategy to achieve it. You cannot fix what you don’t acknowledge. You could perhaps ask someone else to make it. Or relinquish some other tasks or decide to shop more often.

Be Kind And Patient To Yourself

If you make caring for your physical, emotional and mental self a priority then what follows is a slim healthy body. Understand that you didn’t get fat and unhealthy overnight and you won’t get slim and healthy overnight. Just love and care for yourself!


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