Dear Coach series – Comfort eating

Comfort eater

Dear Coach

I have struggled with comfort eating all my life. I will skip meals and eat sweet treats all day. Many times I’m not really enjoying the ‘treats’ but just feel compelled to eat them. I have tried so many times to overcome this habit and failed that I don’t think I will ever be able to now. Any ideas how to switch to a healthier attitude to food?

Dear friend,

Comfort eaterThank you for your letter, it shows an openness and willingness to change even though you feel like this isn’t currently possible. Although this habit brings you feelings of guilt, it’s important to recognise and accept this as part of yourself. It is nothing to feel shame about, you are good enough as you are.

When you find yourself about to comfort eat, stop and ask yourself what emotions is it that you are feeling? Are you using food as a means to avoid feeling uncomfortable emotions or as a means to procrastinate or something else? Could you wait for 10 seconds to see if the feeling passes or if you could resolve the problem without food? You could also use a food diary to track your the emotions and food intake, to see if there are any patterns.

Rather than belittling or criticising yourself over this habit, when you find yourself eating treats tell yourself the affirmation ‘I love and accept myself.’ Tell yourself this many, many times over the day, particularly when you feel bad about yourself or eating patterns. This may seem counterproductive, but no change is ever made through guilt or feelings that you should be or act in a particular way. You are good enough as you are and you do not need to change anything. By accepting yourself as you are, this habit will no longer serve a purpose and will fall away by itself.

You may also wish to set a new habit on regular meals. Use the affirmation ‘I enjoy eating three meals a day, breakfast, lunch and dinner. I enjoy feeding myself with healthy, nourishing foods.’ Aim to say this affirmation 50-100 times a day until it becomes a new belief for you. As you begin to say it, your ego may protest with thoughts such as ‘I’m not a good enough cook’ or ‘I don’t have time.’ Thank them kindly for sharing and continue with the affirmation. Over time, these thoughts will diminish and you will naturally find yourself reaching for healthier, more filling foods.

Love and blessings,

Tina

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6 thoughts on “Dear Coach series – Comfort eating

  1. Thanks for these ideas. It is hard to feel positive about what I identify as a negative habit but I will make an effort to counter the ‘you’ve failed again’ mind monkies with a well rehearsed reply!

    • Tina says:

      It’s only a negative habit because you have decided it to be 🙂 It doesn’t make you any less lovable or less of a person. Using the affirmation I love and accept myself, is about acknowledging that you are a wonderful person, that you are good enough as you are.

  2. Helen says:

    Hi I’m not really sure what to comment, but here goes…. I actually cried while reading the post on comfort eating, to me it rang so many bells in my head of how comfort eating has been a huge part of my life.
    Up until about 18months ago I was a terrible comfort eater. But with several big life changes that have happened I no longer or very rarely feel the need to comfort eat.
    But in saying that there have been occasions when I have for one reason or another so I will take note of what has been said and try and put them into place the next time I get the urge for a little comfort eating. Thank you

    • Tina says:

      Thank you so much for sharing your experience reading this letter. I’m so glad it resonated with you and you were able to let go of old emotions that no longer serve you 🙂

  3. I’m struggling with this myself, I’m sure many of us are. My eating habits are awful but I’m working on improving them by engaging my brain and thinking about what I’m doing. I like the thought of positive reinforcement and finding out why I’m reaching for rubbishy foods rather than waiting for a tasty, healthy meal. Something I will definitely be practising.

    • Tina says:

      Hi Aine, I’m glad you found the response helpful. Try using the affirmation ‘I nourish my body with healthy foods’ to replace any thoughts that your eating habits are awful 🙂

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