It’s cold, you haven’t got much too do, or you have a lot on your mind, and you reach for the biscuits (or the chocolate, or anything else really).
Most of us have done it at some point…
Some people don’t seem to mind, they happily comfort eat confident that they will stop when the weather gets warmer for example.
It is a fact that in winter, when the days are greyer and colder, there is a definite tendency to eat more.
Biologically, it makes sense.
Our body uses a lot of energy to keep ourselves warm, so when the temperature drops, we feel the need to eat more, purely because we are using more energy just to maintain our body temperature.
So, let’s cut ourselves some slack here, to a point, eating a bit more in winter is perfectly normal.
And comfort eating, when you eat to make yourself feel better is understandable too.
Personally, I have been raised by lovely women who would make me feel better after I hurt myself by offering me some chocolate or a biscuit.
If you have had the same kind of experience, it’s no wonder that the biscuit cupboard looks like our best friend when we feel down, anxious or worried.
But if the comfort eating is bothering you, the good news is that it is a habit that you got into, and that you can get out of if you want to.
I used to comfort eat quite a bit. McVities dark chocolate digestives to be specific!
Getting out of it happened almost by accident – and I’ll be sharing that story in my live on Wednesday – and I remember being quite intrigued afterwards by how I had stopped and also how I managed to stay away from it (most of the time anyway. There has been occasions when the call has been too strong!).
I have discovered that comfort eating is very much linked to our energy level.
It is linked to moments of stress, anxiety or boredom. Moments when our energy isn’t at its peak.
And I have also found out that by trying to rebalance the energy, the call of comfort eating isn’t quite as strong.
Here are a few things you can try:
Our body needs 2 litres of water a day. And a lot of us aren’t anywhere near that.
Now, the thing is that our body sends the same signals to the brain if you are hungry or thirsty.
So when you feel a bit nibblish, try and have a drink of water or a hot drink. And see how you feel.
Our energy gets blocked in our body in times of stress and boredom.
When we are stressed or anxious, we tense up, blocking the normal flow of energy in our body.
We can feel the physical manifestations: tense shoulders, lower back pain, a sense of the muscles and nerves being as taunt as the strings of a violin for example.
This tension also affects our brain, telling it that there is something to be scared of.
The brain wants to make you feel better and reaches back to what has worked in the past… ice cream or chocolate for example.
Equally, when we are bored, our energy level goes down as we are not moving and we probably aren’t breathing particularly well either.
The solution to both these issues is to move.
Do a few stretches, go for a walk if you can, do some yoga.
It will raise your energy, lift your spirits and the need for comfort eating will lessen.
During my live on Wednesday, I’ll be sharing a short sequence that can be done really quickly and easily and completely shifts your energy.
Do some yoga
Yoga develops your awareness of your body and your emotions. It puts you in a position to notice what is going on and act accordingly.
Thanks to yoga, you become aware of your comfort eating. By becoming aware of it, you are in a position to do something about it.
And talking about doing something yoga helps you develop your inner strength, your determination and your willpower. Because I won’t lie to you, if you really want to stop the comfort eating, it will take some willpower.
But most of all, be kind to yourself.
As we have seen the root of comfort eating is a feeling of unease. And you don’t want to add to that.
Quite the contrary, taking the time to relax will help you feel less stressed and anxious and you will be a lot less tempted to reach for the biscuits.
Don’t forget that comfort eating is your brain trying to look after you the best way it can.
You can gently train it to find other things that make you feel good and little by little, the temptation of comfort eating will not be as strong. Join me Live on Wednesday at 10.30 in my Facebook group to learn that energy shifting sequence and more tips on understanding and managing comfort eating (if you want to).