I’ve been a comfort eater my whole life, and there have been times I’ve really hated that. Sometimes it makes me feel really out of control, both of my relationship with food and of my emotions. Like everyone else, I started off my year with high hopes of being happier and healthier, in part by improving my relationship with food, and this evening was one of the first tests of that. I know that telling myself I’m not going to comfort eat is not going to work, as I’ve tried that a million times over, and it just results in a cycle of me eating because I feel bad, and then feeling bad because I’ve eaten. And hey, emotions are difficult, they can’t all be meditated/journaled/talked-about away. Sometimes you need some feel-good chemicals to get you through, and all in all there are less healthy ways to get them than a second helping of pie and some jelly snakes.
If I am going to comfort eat though, I do want to retain some kind of control over it. If it turns into a binge, then I don’t have the levels of self-acceptance required to feel anything other than awful about it. I think my new comfort eating strategy is this; firstly, acknowledge before you eat anything that what you are about to is comfort eat. This has taken me a long time to be able to do, but I think I’m there now, or at least I was today. Secondly, try to have some kind of portion control. Comfort eating is all about sugar and carbs, which are easy (at least for me) to consume in huge quantities, but diminishing emotional returns are achieved pretty quickly. Eat a bit, see how you feel, and wait 30 minutes. If necessary, I can always eat more in the future, but I can’t un-eat something. Thirdly, and most importantly - you are doing this to feel better about whatever it is that’s getting you down. If eating is making you feel worse, then it’s not a very sensible coping strategy. So don’t beat yourself up about it, enjoy it. Actually let it help you with whatever it is you’re feeling.
The last one is the hard bit I think. Hopefully I’ll figure it out at some point this year.