Finding comfort in food is something we are all familiar with. Eating is not only about hunger, it can also be about self-care, a way to relieve stress or reward ourselves. Emotions definitely drive food cravings, and sometimes those cravings are at their strongest when we feel our most emotionally fragile.

But having an emotional trigger for a certain ‌food or dish now and again is perfectly normal. When it becomes a habitual coping mechanism in your day-to-day life, this is what we refer to as emotional eating.

Anger, sadness and stress are some of the biggest triggers for a food fest. Movies glamorise sad break-ups with ice cream binge scenes to ridiculous proportions that actually do more harm than good, encouraging the act of self-soothing emotions with junk food.

Eating your feelings

When food is used as a tool to ignore feelings rather than to face our emotions or satisfy hunger, we set ourselves up for entering a dangerous cycle of habit that can be incredibly difficult to break. Unlike alcohol and drugs, we can’t just cut food out of our lives in order to reset our habits, we have to eat every day to survive.

If food is not being used as a primary fuel for food that enriches your life and makes you feel shame and guilt, you could already be using food for comfort.

A cycle of comfort food

Whether it is the temporary rush of carbs and sugar from junk food or whether it is the long-term gains of eating food that fuels us and makes us feel our best, food makes us feel good. But it can also make us feel bad. Raw carrots and salad are hardly the things that we view as comfort food and emotional eating is ‌rarely a feast of healthy snacks.

When you are in a cycle of comforting yourself with food, it is typically with high calorie, low nutrient options and they make us feel terrible, low in energy, and lethargic. As the cycle continues and we gain more weight, more feelings of shame drive further comfort eating and before you know it, you can end up with a whole range of additional health issues like high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease.

Get back in control

Going to the gym and comfort eating? Don’t be fooled, you can out-eat any fitness plan. Taking back control and breaking the cycle of emotional eating starts with identifying the root cause. Until you have identified what the driving force is behind your eating patterns, you won’t be able to break them.

It can be a very confronting experience, loaded with so many feelings of shame and self-loathing, with so many things that are hard to admit to yourself, let alone anyone else.

Make the change

But if you are ready to make a change, I can help.

I offer accountability, support and a completely confidential, safe space with no judgement for you to work down to the root cause of your emotional eating habits and cycles. Once we have identified the root cause, we will break the cycle together.

Read more about me and the services I offer on my website.

You CAN have the life you want and enjoy the freedom of breaking negative behaviour cycles. I would love to hear from you.