The reason you eat when you are depressed is because you need cheering up. You probably also eat when you are stressed or bored or just unhappy. The problem is that comfort eating is an addiction. Over time, you will consume more and more food for the same results. That’s how addictions work. Typically what you eat will be high calorie and all those crisps, chocolates or cakes add up over time. So a typical comfort eater is not only miserable but overweight as well. You might not want to stop comfort eating. If you know what your problem is and cannot do anything about it comfort eating is better than comfort drinking, although both impact on peoples lives in a negative way.
But if you eat all the time, can’t work out why, and don’t want to be overweight you can do something about it. Here are a few tips.
Keep a diary: This can be a real pain, but it need only be for a week or so. Jot down what you eat and how you are feeling at the time. Maybe you eat before a meeting, when you are bored at home or to keep calm during school holidays. A diary will show you if there is a pattern you never knew existed. When you know what your problem is you can do something about it.
What to do: If you are scared of a meeting be well prepared. Make yourself the best prepared in the room – then nobody can cause you problems. If you are bored look around for something which interests you and do it. The list can go on and the answer is always to try and solve the problem. If you cannot you have lost control and you are a victim. That is why you console yourself with food.
Deal with the food: Not every problem can be solved, so if you still comfort eat make sure you are not eating junk. Don’t have any around, clear your food cupboard, bag or desk of crisps and chocolates, cakes and salted peanuts. Don’t keep fizzy drinks in the fridge, they are high in sugar. Carry on drinking them and you will destroy your teeth as well as put on weight. You need healthy snacks like fruit, yoghurt, seeds and raisins, crisp breads. But whatever you eat try not to eat a lot of it.
Don’t deprive yourself completely: There is no harm in the occasional treat. Dark chocolate can be on your list of healthy foods. Try to cut down on how much you eat whatever it is. Your diary is likely to amaze you when you see how much you eat without really noticing.
So that is the reason you eat when you are depressed. Food is nice, food makes you happier, you love food, food loves you. Only it doesn’t remove the reason you are depressed in the first place. Find that out, deal with it and the problem of comfort eating may well go away.
See you soon,
28 August 2012
Photo. Leisamarie (Flickr)