If you regularly eat for emotional reasons and feel out of control because of it, you’re probably wondering how to stop eating for comfort. Is there an easy way to do it? The answer is both yes and no. It’s not exactly easy to break the habit of comfort eating, but it doesn’t have to be overly painful, either. The key is to first recognize why you eat for comfort in the first place.
When you eat sugary, fattening foods, they trigger a release of “feel good” chemicals in your brain. Over time, it’s possible to get hooked on these chemicals so that you keep craving the foods or activities that trigger their release. This is important to understand because it’s not just that you have no willpower, or that you like food too much.
Every time you feel depressed, anxious, or stressed, you immediately start craving a release of those feel-good chemicals, and you reach for the foods and/or beverages that you know will make you feel better.
How to Stop Eating for Comfort
Stopping comfort eating requires you to find other ways to feel better besides eating certain foods. The good news is that other activities can also trigger a release of these feel good chemicals, like exercise, meditation, and laughter.
When you get into the habit of spending more time on feel good activities besides eating, you slowly start to re-train your brain to connect feeling good with these activities. At the same time, you start disassociating eating with those feel-good chemicals, and your cravings to comfort eat start diminishing.
Just keep in mind that this technique will show you how to stop eating for comfort, but it can’t do the work for you. It’s still up to you to get and stay committed to changing your habits and creating a healthier lifestyle.
On a side note, you may also want to take a look at any situations in your life that keep triggering the need to eat for comfort, and take steps to improve them if you can. For example, if your job is excessively stressful, or if you are involved in an unhealthy relationship, you’ll find it very difficult to stop comfort eating until you resolve the situations that are causing most of your discomfort in the first place.