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.