The Clinic

Comfort Eating

It’s easy to crave foods such as chocolate, crisps or cakes. They taste nice, can make us feel better, cheer us up and be used as a treat or a comfort. Many different emotions can have us craving these foods from anxiety, stress, sadness, anger or even boredom. Unfortunately with the Band these foods tend to still be managed really easily

Comfort eating can make losing weight really difficult because you can be full of good intentions to eat well but then something happens that makes us feel unhappy or worried and before we know it the good intentions have disappeared into a tub of ice cream or a packet of biscuits.

If you tend to start a healthy eating plan every Monday but have given up by the Thursday then it sounds like a good time to change. Make small, manageable targets each day or each week and stick to these first. These could be simple changes like eating more fruit or drinking 8 glasses of water a day. Add in a new target every few days until your overall diet is healthier. You may still be bingeing on junk food or eating for other reasons except hunger but your diet should be healthier overall. Also making easier changes first can prepare you ready for making the tougher changes

After a few weeks when you have stuck to some dietary improvements you may feel ready to tackle the comfort eating

Here’s how!

  • Never start a diet or new way of eating on a Monday. When you decide you are ready to start losing weight start immediately instead of waiting till the Monday. Aim to follow it every day and if you overeat one day just get back on track the next day….not the next Monday!
  • If an unfavourable result on the scales has you reaching for the chocolate then stop weighing yourself for a while
  • Ride out those cravings. Wait at least 10-15 mins before giving in. The longer you wait the less likely you will be to give in at all
  • Deal with your emotions instead of using them as an excuse to eat
  • Think in advance what else you could do before giving in to a food craving eg write a letter, surf the internet or have a bath
  • Exercise regularly to release those happy hormones
  • If you are actually hungry between meals then you may need a band fill
  • Limit any snacks to just 100 kcal or less
  • Try making a list of all the things that make you turn to food and try and deal with them one by one – ask for help to do this if you need to

If you are still struggling to keep the cravings at bay and are comfort eating on a regular basis then it’s ok to admit you need help. See your GP for advice because help is available and it’s nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed about. Your GP could refer you to a dietitian, counsellor or in some cases a Cognitive Behaviour therapist for more specialist problems. Your Band can be a great help in terms of hunger and portions sizes but may not be enough in itself to sort the comfort eating

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