I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I love food.
Sometimes this is a good thing – I love cooking fresh meals from scratch and planning healthy menus.
But sometimes, it’s not such a good thing and I find myself using food to deal with my emotions. That’s right, my name’s Fat Fighting Foodie and I’m a comfort eater.
In the past, I have let this emotional reliance on food sabotage my goals to become fitter, healthier and more comfortable with my body. But I’m currently making a big effort to address this.
If I’m honest, comfort eating has probably been both my best excuse and my worst enemy in my weight loss battle. Time and time and time again, I’ve dealt with being stressed or bored by scoffing bars of chocolate (usually family sized) and slabs of cheesecake to make myself feel better. Ironically, it’s only ever made me feel worse as I’ve usually crammed it down my neck at lightening speed (I swear I could break world records) rather than taking the time to enjoy it and have then felt guilty at having lost control. I would usually then conclude that I’d ‘blown’ my healthy eating for the week and so I’d eat rubbish vowing to ‘get back on track’ following my next weigh in.
So what’s different this time around?
As I mentioned previously, I’ve got a new mantra that I stole from the TV show ‘Fat: The Fight of My Life’:
“The purpose of food is to nourish my body and mind. I will not find comfort in food.”
Unfortunately, I’m currently having a stressful time at work and a week or so ago I had a particularly hard and emotional couple of days. I had to nip in to the supermarket on my way home from work for some cat food (for my cat – I’m not that extreme in my efforts to curb my emotional eating that I have substituted chocolate for pet food). It was cold and dark and I knew that Mr FFF wasn’t going to be home for a few hours so I’d be going home to a cold, dark house. As I walked through the doors of the supermarket, the urge to head to the bakery section was strong. I could almost taste a chocolate-covered donut. I reasoned with myself that I could work it into my points,but knew that, in reality, I wouldn’t – that’s not how comfort eating works for me, there’s no point if I’m not going to try to cheat myself; the guilt’s just not the same. So I dug deep and reminded myself of my mantra. I thought really carefully about the donut, and all the other stuff in the bakery section. Would they nourish my body? No. Actually, they wouldn’t even taste that nice compared to home-baked stuff. I decided it wasn’t worth it and would only set me back further on my weight loss journey. I still needed comfort though. So I thought about what I could treat myself to that would be comforting but wasn’t food. The result: I bought myself a nice, new pair of pyjamas.
When I got home, instead of sitting on the sofa, mindlessly stuffing my face, I ran myself a nice bath then got cosy in my new pjs and caught up with Mr Selfridge. And do you know what? I actually felt a lot better for having done that. It might seem pretty obvious, but I’m so used to the cycle of feeling fed up–>comfort eating–>feeling worse that it actually felt really empowering to not comfort eat.
So for me, so far, that mantra is working and I hope it continues. It’s going to be tricky as work is likely to be stressful for a good few months, but I’m hoping that the more I practise saying no to comfort eating, the easier it will get.
Now, I can’t rely on buying pyjamas every time I want to comfort eat as I’d soon be bankrupt (although I suppose it would be good for the textiles industry) so I’ve been trying to think of other sources of comfort. So far I’ve come up with:
- adult colouring whilst listening to music
- having a bath
- playing a computer game
- watching some tv
- working on my blog
- reading other blogs
I reckon I’m going to get quite a bit of practise at resisting comfort eating over the next few months though, so if you have any other ideas for alternative sources of comfort, please let me know.
Thanks for reading