We’ve all been there. Tough day at work, reach for the ice-cream. Argument with a loved one, run out and get some fast food. Hormones and emotions racing around, eat as many biscuits and crisps as you can.
4 min read
And of course – ‘but it’s Easter… I can eat chocolate if I want!, 5 massive chocolate eggs down and the guilt is overwhelming, our stomach is cramping and we can’t even remember eating that last one – did I even have 5?!
Comfort eating is ‘eating to make oneself feel happier, rather than to satisfy hunger.’ It’s the notion that food will elevate our mood and take us out of the bad emotion in order to feel better. And whilst chocolate is claimed to increase the level of endorphins and affect serontonin (both help you feel more calm and less stressed), eating all the Easter eggs will not ultimately make us happy.
If you’re like me and typically do reach for the sweet treats, the indulgent pies and every variety of chocolate egg then you might find it helpful to know these tactics so that when a tough situation arises, you’re tackling it with confidence and ease and not feeling like Bruce from Matilda after eating that chocolate cake (we’ve all been there).
There are three simple ways of looking at this: physically changing our environment, tackling our inner cookie monster and having an infallible back-up plan. All three are the key to eating without guilt, enjoying the cake and eating it too whilst looking after our health and sanity at the same time.
Let’s start by physically changing our environment.
I used to be addicted to sugar. 3 spoonfuls of sugar in my tea (3x a day), jam on toast, chocolate bar before lunch, chocolate bar after lunch, pudding after dinner, sweet treat for supper and not to mention a chocolate reserve in my bag in case my energy levels dropped… I was a walking delectable! It wasn’t until I was about 24 years deep into this addiction that I realised something needed to change. So I removed every bit of sugar from the house and I replaced my usual sugar habit with something else. And whilst I don’t suggest going completely cold-turkey (because it was very hard), I do suggest taking away the temptations.
On your next food shop instead of reaching for the largest Easter egg, bag of chips or tub of ice-cream maybe opt for the smaller Easter egg, a bag of nuts or some dark chocolate or dates. Start small or throw yourself into it! Find what works for you by at least trying and you’ll be shocked at much of a difference it can make.
Secondly, tackle your inner cookie monster
Working out WHY we tend to reach for the indulgent snacks can make all the difference in changing our habits. Ask yourself the following questions:
• How do I feel when I reach for the snack? • What emotions am I experiencing when I want to eat a massive Easter egg? • What do I tell myself when I find myself wanting to comfort eat?
Getting to grips with the reason we do it, can really help to stop, be aware and change our ways. We usually comfort eat to try and change our inner self, whether its what we say to ourselves or what our emotions are telling us – unfortunately, food is not going to alter any of that – it isn’t something we can replace for happiness but there are certainly ways we can. Which brings us on to our final strategy!
Find yourself an infallible back-up plan.
When the Easter eggs start flooding into the shops and the temptation to reach for the cool slab of chocolate that looks inviting too, make sure you have a back-up plan to reach for instead. What do you find actually does make you happy? A cup of tea? A chat with a friend? A cuddle with your pet? Make a list of all the things that make you feel comfortable, cosy and warm inside. Those are the things that will bring you joy and happiness, and not the chocolate.
And always remember that whilst a little bit of chocolate can help, and I fully encourage a sample of the array of eggs packing the shelves, if we want to enjoy Easter for all it’s worth and not engrossed in guilt – try these 3 tactics and we’ll be able to love ourselves, eat the right amount of chocolate and enjoy the good vibes of Easter too.