Comfort Eating and Discomfort | TMOHP Episode 023

Comfort eating is a term almost everyone uses, and it’s something we all do. I’m sure you can easily make a list of your “comfort foods.” There’s nothing wrong with comfort eating - unless it feels like it’s taking up too much space in your life. Or unless the eating you’re doing doesn’t feel comfortable or comforting (beyond the 30 minutes after it happens).

We overeat for a reason, and the urge for comfort is real. Our ability to create comfort for ourselves is important. Sometimes. However, discomfort has gotten a bad rap, and many of us - even women who do hard things every day, have created some myths about our need to avoid discomfort in certain areas or situations.

We’ve also been fed myths about the types of discomfort that are helpful. The weight loss world sends a lot of messages about being tough on yourself, pushing harder, and of course, expecting endless discipline or willpower. 

So let’s talk about discomfort as the antidote for comfort eating and as a power tool you can use to grow your confidence, and put yourself on a different, more effective path with food.

Take a deep breath, take a listen, and let’s get uncomfortable.

What you’ll learn in this episode:

  • Why discomfort is important and what it can do for you
  • Why getting uncomfortable doesn’t start with pushing yourself to do hard things
  • Why your mind might go blank when you’re trying to figure out how to change your eating without a diet
  • The kind of discomfort that creates freedom from overeating - and the kind that doesn’t

Featured on the show:

  • Take the free Hidden Hungers Quiz and find out your primary Hidden Hunger and your best place to start shifting your relationship with food.
  • Join Your Missing Peace: If you want to be a part of a group that will celebrate your new thoughts and beliefs, where I will coach you through those blind spots, and where you will learn how to combine new thoughts and beliefs and ways of treating yourself with behaviors that change your eating, then it’s beyond time that you join me in Your Missing Peace. This is the program where we dive into how to be uncomfortable AND unstoppable without stress, drama, or quitting on yourself.
  • Visit for more tips and resources to create peace with food and overcome overeating and emotional eating

Episode Transcript

Sometimes we tell ourselves things that aren’t completely true. And if we repeat them over and over, we start to accept them - as truth. If that’s hard to accept, look at what’s going on in our society today. Words get repeated over and over again and things that are blatantly untrue become accepted.

We also do this to ourselves.

For instance - 

We overeat and we tell ourselves it’s for comfort.

But when it’s the reason you’re overeating, and I’m not talking about all comfort eating, but when it’s overeating that you aren’t happy about, comfort eating isn't really comforting - at least not when you look at the big picture - beyond the thirty minutes after you ate the lasagna or the cookies. If it was, you wouldn’t have ambivalent feelings about it or it wouldn’t feel like a problem. REAL, lasting comfort usually requires time spent in discomfort. We have to know what we feel and what we need - we have to feel the discomfort of that in order to address these things. In order to create real, lasting comfort.

There are different kinds of discomfort. Diet mentality falsely teaches that the way to "success" is being constantly uncomfortable doing hard things - and having enough willpower to stick with it. 

Not possible and not true. And while feeling bad or forcing yourself to do something unpleasant IS discomfort, if that’s where you start, it’s not nearly as likely to be helpful in the way you hope.

 The discomfort that pays off is the discomfort of taking your power back from your thoughts, your beliefs, and the way you talk to yourself. If you want freedom from overeating and real peace with food. This is the place to start. 

So let’s talk about discomfort. Discomfort has gotten a bad rap. We live in a society that tells us we should always be seeking comfort. That self-care IS comfort. That we should always be striving to feel good.

Sometimes the opposite is true. We learn and grow when we step out of our comfort zones. We build resilience when we get uncomfortable and realize it won’t kill us. We grow our leadership when we find our voice and say the hard thing or look the difficult feeling or situation or relationship in the eye. And you can transform your relationship with food and your eating when you allow yourself the discomfort of believing and thinking and trying uncomfortable things.

Discomfort - feeling it and knowing we are bigger than and stronger than the discomfort - is incredibly empowering.

Sometimes (almost always) the thing we need to do if we want to change something is to allow discomfort. This is especially true when it comes to changing your eating habits and your relationship with food.

To be clear: I am NOT talking about the discomfort of forcing yourself to do the same old thing one more time while pushing yourself harder or talking to yourself more harshly.

Diet mentality conditioning tells us that to change our eating we need to get uncomfortable by DOING. It’s do do do.  We need to DO hard things. Or we need to DO without. Our diet mentality conditioning tends to have us focus on what we will DO and NOT DO and that to change we need to DO and NOT DO uncomfortable things.

Sometimes this is true. But you know what doesn’t work?

What doesn’t work is forcing ourselves to do and not do uncomfortable things without addressing the way we think and the beliefs we have and the way we talk to ourselves. If we don’t shift our mindset, all that doing only leads to stress, overwhelm, and wearing ourselves out.

And when we shift our thoughts and our beliefs and the way we talk to ourselves, so much of that tough DOING isn’t even necessary.

Shifting your thinking might sound easy. Or maybe you already know how hard or uncomfortable it can feel to practice talking to yourself differently - perhaps with self-compassion instead of constant criticism. 

How scary it can feel to challenge a belief - like the one that you need to step on a scale every single day even though it haunts you and leaves you feeling awful. 

How unanchored you might feel if you let go of the thought that the only answer is to go on another rigid food plan - even though you know in your heart it won’t work and won’t last.

Testing out new thoughts and beliefs and new ways of treating ourselves can be the most uncomfortable thing of all.

That can be stepping into discomfort. Let me give you some examples.

Discomfort - real growth discomfort - might be:

To decide: I’m going to measure my success without the scale.

I’m going to feed myself when I’m hungry.

It is safe to feel my feelings.

It is safe to experiment with getting hungry.

I can change my eating and still eat the food I love.

I can stop when I’ve had enough.

I can take an hour for myself.

Or I don’t have to get it perfect. I can have days where I overeat and still make progress toward my goal.

It can feel scary. Or wrong. Or sometimes worst of all, when you try to figure out how to think or believe differently, you can just go blank.

Ever know what you DON’T want to do or think or feel but you don’t have a clue how to make that happen? A - this is normal. And B -  THIS is the blank, blind spot of change.

It’s uncomfortable, especially for high-achievers who are so used to being able to make things WORK. But if you want real freedom from overeating and peace with food, it’s necessary.

It can be uncomfortable. And it’s necessary. Because you can’t create something different when you think and believe and tell yourself the same things you always did.

Our society gives us so many ways to avoid discomfort. Comfort eating is just one of them. Scrolling, numbing, TV binges. Being a workaholic or constantly overwhelmed with stress we create. We tell ourselves that these things are comforting, but they aren’t - at least not in a lasting way. And honestly, they block the path to change.

The way out is sometimes messy. It sometimes feels graceless. And your old brain is going to be more than happy to tell you you’re doing it “wrong.” Did you know that we are hard-wired to resist change?

Changing IS uncomfortable

Take a breath. Know that this is normal. Know that change causes discomfort. Be BRAVE. It is so worth it.

Experiment with allowing discomfort.

Don’t always expect yourself to feel confident and great.

Ask yourself what the unstoppable version of you does on a hard uncomfortable day instead of telling yourself that the unstoppable version of you never has hard uncomfortable days (that’s a new thought!)

What does your unstoppable self do after she’s overeaten?

You are stronger than discomfort. Allowing in discomfort and surviving it helps you find your strength again. It helps you grow your confidence in yourself.

Most of all, allowing discomfort, allowing yourself to be imperfect, and allowing yourself to try a new way with food is how you create - a new way with food.

If you want to be a part of a group that will celebrate your new thoughts and beliefs, where I will coach you through those blind spots, and where you will learn how to combine new thoughts and beliefs and ways of treating yourself with behaviors that change your eating, then it’s beyond time that you join me in Your Missing Peace. This is the program where we dive in to how to be uncomfortable AND unstoppable without stress, drama, or quitting on yourself.

Do you know how liberating it feels when you take your power back from your self-sabotaging, overeating taskmaster and inner-perfectionist? It’s DIVINE.

Here's what Amanda shared about Your Missing Peace:

"Your Missing Peace was SO worth my investment. I've done Weight Watchers for almost 20 years off and on, and I've read many books on cognitive therapy skills with dieting and overeating. They helped me lose weight, but I would always regain it. These programs didn’t address the core emotions that caused me to overeat and their approach proved to be too complex or rigid to continue with every day. After completing Your Missing Peace, I eat mindfully. I eat less, and I feel more satisfied and less guilty when I do eat. The program showed me how to successfully pinpoint the exact emotions/feelings/situations that trigger me to overeat and what I can do instead. Now, instead of just being on auto-pilot and grabbing something to eat when I'm not even physically hungry, I have effective alternative strategies. I’m also calmer and happier with myself.Most other programs are 90% about what and how to eat, and tend to make you feel totally deprived - something most of us don’t need at all. Your Missing Peace is a completely different approach. I think any woman who struggles with weight issues needs to do this program, because you need to know that you can be empowered instead of following a regiment and you can get off the dieting hamster wheel."

Your results and experience will be unique to you.

Be brave. Be uncomfortable.

You’re stronger than you think and stepping out of your comfort zone is how you create freedom from overeating.

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Your Missing Peace is the psychologist-designed program that provides the tools, the support, the coaching, and the confidence to create freedom from emotional eating and overeating. Finally - emotional eating help done right! Your Missing Peace is specifically designed for smart, high-achieving women who are DONE with diets, who want a lasting solution, and who are ready to take their power back from food, from overeating, and the scale. 

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