The term ‘comfort food’ exists for a reason, and there is no shame in finding comfort in certain foods, in fact, it’s completely normal. Problems can arise, however, when we take this too far and forget that food is meant as fuel (and joy) for our bodies, not a substitute for heartfelt love or comfort. A destructive love of food can come about when it becomes your only coping mechanism, and the only reliable thing in your life.
Food becomes unhealthy when used as a frequent tool to help you cope with issues in your life, and when you’re depending on food to help pick you up or make you feel good instead of finding other ways to deal with your problems.
Make it common practice to turn to other, more positive things to help you cope:
We all know that food won’t make our problems go away, right? In fact, for many, comfort eating can lead to a whole host of secondary problems, such as weight gain and other related health issues. But we still enjoy turning to food when times are tough because it makes us feel so good, at least initially.
However, learn to turn to other comforting things to help you address your feelings, and you’ll soon get out of any destructive habits caused by comfort eating. Here are a few things that you could do instead of indulging in your favorite comforting foods:
- Light a scented candle and immerse yourself in your favorite soothing or uplifting fragrance
- Sit somewhere comfy and peaceful, and read a novel or good book
- Try writing down how you’re feeling in a journal
- Get out and go for a walk. Clear your head and immerse yourself in nature and the world around you. This often helps to give you a better sense of perspective and view of the bigger picture.
- Talk to a trusted friend or family member about how you’re feeling
- Indulge in a long, hot bath or shower. Use your favorite bathing products and unwind both your body and mind.
- Watch your favorite show
Try one of the above the next time your emotions begin to run high and you feel as if things are getting a little out of control. Recognizing your patterns of behavior is one of the first steps towards a healthier way of dealing with problems, and once you break the habit of comfort eating, you’ll soon find even more ways of giving yourself the comfort that you need.
If an unhealthy reliance upon food is taking over your life, it might be time to talk to a counselor about the cause of your discomfort, anguish or pain, before it develops into an eating disorder that could be much harder to cure. If you love your food and want to love your life, too, then rest assured that you can achieve a healthy balance, you just might need a little help getting there.