Is comfort eating comforting? It depends. Many women comfort eat to soothe or reward themselves after a day with far too little comfort in it. In the short term, it sometimes fits the bill – it’s easy, doesn’t require a lot of energy, and can provide relief or pleasure or … comfort. Widen the lens a bit however, and the picture can be quite different. Many women wake up after a night of comfort eating feeling discouraged, frustrated with themselves, and even guilty or ashamed. The pleasure didn’t last, and the physical discomfort from eating too much really isn’t comforting.
Comfort eating also isn’t always comforting in the short term. A lot of people use the term comfort eating when what they are really seeking is a feeling of numbness. Numbness may be a short-term way of avoiding the negative, but it’s not comforting. And that comfort food we all crave at certain times? Too often, a bout of comfort eating becomes an experience of mindless or guilty eating, where that delicious, rich, creaminess isn’t really tasted, or savored, or fully enjoyed.
Do you eat for comfort? It’s worth asking yourself if your comfort eating strategy is really giving you your bang for the buck. Want to have a lovely experience with food? Give yourself permission to really be present. Take it in, taste it fully, make it a five-senses, full-on experience. Are you seeking comfort from food when what you really crave is something else? Give yourself permission to start taking care of yourself in better, more satisfying, and lasting ways. New habits can be learned – one small step at a time.
Here are some quotes that relate to comfort eating, because sometimes inspiration, or a fresh perspective, can make all the difference.
Ice cream was reliable. Young men were not. -Kerry Greenwood, Murder in the Dark
Food is the most primitive form of comfort. -Sheilah Graham
One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating. -Luciano Pavarotti
Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly. -M. F. K. Fisher
Let food be thy medicine, thy medicine shall be thy food. -Hippocrates
When walking, walk. When eating, eat. -Zen Proverb
One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well. -Virginia Woolf
Better to eat a dry crust of bread with peace of mind than have a banquet in a house full of trouble. -Proverbs
Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you who you are. -Brillat-Savarin
Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food. -Michael Pollan
Food is not just eating energy. It’s an experience. -Guy Fieri