How to Stop Eating for Comfort

Identifying actual hunger is essential to controlling comfort eating.
Identifying actual hunger is essential to controlling comfort eating. (Image: woman eating outdoor image by citylights from

Comfort eating says more about relationships with food than it does about appetites. Eating for comfort is the result of dealing with a negative situation or emotion with food. Sadness, depression, anger, fear and stress are just a few emotions that can trigger comfort eating. Eating instantly suppresses negative emotions but does little for the underlying causes of comfort eating. You can control comfort eating by following a few steps and staying in control of your thoughts and actions.

Focus on being aware of when you eat and why. Before you eat anything, make sure you are actually hungry and not bored, scared or angry.

Don’t diet. Diets fail because they do not address the root cause of why you eat for comfort, reports an article published on Health Central. As long as you avoid facing the causes of why you slip up on dieting, you will continue to slip up. Forget dieting and force yourself to deal with why you’re comfort eating.

Eat sensibly and don’t deprive yourself of favorite foods. Eliminate junk food, sugars and processed foods from your diet. In fact, you should remove them from your kitchen. Don’t eat a bland, boring diet, though. Try a variety of fresh vegetables and fruits and find healthy food that tastes good. Don’t deny yourself favorite foods, though. Allow yourself to have them occasionally.

Find healthy ways to deal with stress, anxiety, fear and anger. Exercise, adequate rest, talking with friends and therapy are better avenues for coping with your emotions than eating.

Make peace with food and create an alternative to eating. The key to beat the habit of comfort eating is to isolate what you’re feeling, or what is triggering the urge to eat, and find another way to deal with it. Take a walk, call a friend, do push ups, chew gum, drink water or listen to music instead of eating. Push through the emotion or boredom and try not to think about food.

Realize food will not bring you any kind of lasting happiness. The comfort you feel from eating is a passing pleasure and, after that pleasure, you might suffer guilt and failure, which will only continue a vicious cycle.

Focus on being happy, or content, every day without emotional eating. Realize that there are things you simply can’t control and eating will do nothing to change this. Food can act like an addiction for many emotional eaters because it calms them down and makes them feel better. From this perspective, food should be approached like an addiction because it solves nothing and generally only makes you feel worse after you indulge.

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