So, let me just start by saying, there is so much depth to this subject, it can’t be covered in just one blog, or even 20 blogs! Also, this is based on my own personal experiences. I am not a professional, I can only discuss what I found in my own experiences on this matter.
I had a HORRIBLE relationship with food! For so long. Due to this I found it hard to reach my health and fitness goals for a very long time, because despite my best efforts, I would feel unhappy, stressed out or upset and turn to bad food as comfort. When you are an anxious person to start with, this is not a great thing haha. I would get so frustrated with myself, I really wanted to achieve those goals and just could not get there. I would have my other Personal Training Colleagues say just cut carbs, eat high fat, lift weights only, do High Intensity Training. When in fact, none of this would be any help, because my anxiety and stress levels would get insanely high and I would go and eat a whole bunch of food that wasn’t any good for me or my mental state.
When you are someone who has these tendencies, it is so frustrating to hear ‘just don’t eat that’ or ‘just do this’ s if you can just switch it off. I guess what I’m saying (and took a very long time to learn myself-which is okay, because now I can help OTHERS) is that if you are a comfort eater, a stressor or an anxious person, you need to sort the emotions out first and not put so much pressure on yourself or feel guilty.
Here is what I found helpful (again not an expert, this is from my experience and if you have tips and hints please comment below 😊) to prevent comfort or stress eating:
– In a diary or on a note pad, write down the triggers that make you feel stressed, worried or negative in any way. List all of the things that are bothering you and try and make a connection as to why you feel this way. Do you bring home work issues and struggle to switch off, are there some problems with relationships, whether it is intimate, family, friends, do you stress about finance? You guys get the picture.
– After you have identified the things you are worried about, have a look through and evaluate whether you can:
o put some strategies or steps in place to reduce the stress and know you are doing something about them, need to get rid of some toxic people in your life (sad, but sometimes you need to do it to grow!),
o Stop stressing about things that haven’t happened yet (I do this A LOT and often need to write a list of what I’m stressing about to remind myself that I just need to relax and stop being such a worry wart).
– One these things have been done, try and think of an activity you are going to do when you feel this stressed or worried that you can do, instead of eating. Ideas could be: Call a friend to talk, do some meditation, go for a walk, read, or take up a new hobby such as a team sport or craft to give you another focus.
– Last but, not least, remember that mastering this is going to take time! Even after you have mastered it, there will be times where it is not perfect and you will go off track (I have had this the last 2 weeks to be perfectly honest! But I am working on ensuring I have a list of tasks to get done each week and tick them off, incorporating some meditation into my day and ensuring that I am not seeing food as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ and just eating balanced meals with a few treats here and there. If I keep it balanced and don’t restrict myself, I don’t eat loads of bad food.) Being aware of why you comfort eat and having strategies that work for you in place is important. Doing the strategies consistently is also important. Lastly sorting this part out FIRST is what will make your health and fitness goals be achievable.
I hope that this has helped one person, any suggestions or comments are welcome 😊