Compassionate comfort eating - A.K.A. indulging mindfully
Updated: Jun 30, 2021
Times of acute or prolonged stress can lead our bodies to crave solace and comfort in order to recover a primal sense of safety in the form of:
Cravings for carb-y rich comfort foods
Lack of desire to be seen (by friends, family, social media..)
Lack of movement
Insatiable desire for rest
Ironically, avoiding all of the things that normally nourish us.
When we think about making healthy changes that sustain our long term health, one of the biggest barriers can be letting go of our comfort foods. The things we reach for when we've had a stressful day at work, or had an argument with a loved one. When things are out of our control.
So we buy 3 packs of yumyums or croissants, or ice cream or wine whatever your comfort food of the moment is, and we eat it all in one sitting without even enjoying it and then feeling guilty or full of regret after.
Is this really making yourself feel better?
But the thing is that these comfort foods aren't necessarily 'bad'. Like anything, the dose is the poison.
Society tells us that to be worthy and valued we have to be 100% 'on' 24/7, all go, doing everything perfectly all the time. Including our 'diets' where we 'should' be eating healthy 24/7. But because we have these emotional ties to food, it's not that simple or easy to do.
I hope you are unlearning more and more that society isn't always right, and this is not the only way to success, and certainly not the only way to health and balance.
So, indulge in rest. Indulge in some comfort food. Indulge in slower movement. Meet yourself where you are. We can't be ‘on track' and GO GO GO all the time- it's just not human, and it's just not healthy.
So give yourself a break, a hug and a big bowl of pasta- if that's what's calling to you.
There is huge importance in approaching comfort eating with intuition and reflection.
We want these indulgences to be just that. Indulgent. A treat. Not a distraction, not a stuffing down of emotions, not an excuse to put off our health goals. So how do we decipher the difference? First let's define two concepts that get overlapped.
Indulging: to allow yourself something enjoyable, without guilt.
Comfort eating: to eat because you are feeling uncomfortable emotions and not necessarily because you are hungry.
I invite you to marry the two with a free downloadable workbook on approaching indulging mindfully:
Sometimes space for pause and a bit of negotiation with our minds is all it takes to make a better decision. Your body knows what's best for it if you allow yourself to really listen to it.
Let's strive more for a little better, not perfect.
I'd love to hear your thoughts and experience with comfort eating in the comments!