Kick the comfort-eating habit

Sophie Boss, psychotherapist, author and co-founder of Beyond Chocolate, the UK's leading no diet community, says the first step to combating emotional eating is to deal with our feelings

by Psychologies

it's time to move beyond chocolate, emotional eating, comfort eating, Brain Food, Beyond Chocolate no diet forum, community

Deal with your feelings to help curb comfort eating:

  1. FEEL IT. Experiment with choosing to feel the emotion rather than eating it away. We can tell ourselves to just let it go, but when making sense of it doesn’t alleviate the feeling, the only way to move beyond it is to ride the emotions like a series of waves until they die down and disappear. When you stop fighting feelings, you may find they come and go quite quickly. You don’t have to wallow in them; start small. Set a timer for a few minutes. Stamp your feet, cry into your pillow, but when the time is up, stop, then see if you want more time and repeat if necessary. Keep going until you’ve had enough.
  2. EXPLORE IT. Putting your feelings into words or pictures can be helpful in making sense of what can feel like an impenetrable tangle of thoughts and emotions. Doing something where you can vent, reflect, or question what you’re feeling, instead of shutting yourself off and turning to food, can provide helpful insights and even closure.
  3. SHARE IT. Sometimes feelings are big and scary, and sharing them with someone who cares or who has the professional skills to offer guidance and support is the wisest thing to do. Members can use the BeyondChocolate.co.uk forum for this; a hugely supportive and welcoming environment that can make all the difference. There are dozens of threads to post on or just read for reassurance.
  4. CONTAIN IT. If it’s not the right place or time to explore or share your feelings, one way to manage this is to contain them in a imaginary ‘safe box’. First, imagine your own safe box. What does it look like? How big is it, what is it made of, what colour is it, how does it lock? Create a crystal-clear picture in your mind so when feelings rise at a bad time, you know where to put them. Become aware of what it is you’re feeling. Once acknowledged, imagine locking it away until you can deal with it. Don’t let feelings fester in the box. Commit to only putting in one at a time, and if, when you go back to the box, it seems as if the feeling has eased, give yourself a few minutes to recall it to ensure it really has gone, as feelings don’t often just disappear.

For more from Beyond Chocolate, go to BeyondChocolate.co.uk

Photograph: iStock

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