THIS IS A POST FOR ALL EMOTIONAL EATERS, chocoholic and non-chocoholics alike. If you, in times of sorrow, feel like the only thing to do is drown in chocolate (or ice cream, or bacon), you should know that I used to feel the same way.
BUT, I WANTED A MORE CONSTRUCTIVE WAY TO DEAL WITH MY MOOD. Although chocolate does help (as of course ice cream and bacon do too), I’ve realised that I no longer wanted to be someone who relies on food for fixing emotions. That is why I looked up all sorts of ways to stop using chocolate for solving all my problems. I was surprised to find the internet full of tips!
THIS IS A SUMMARY OF THE TIPS I FOUND EXTREMELY USEFUL. They help break vicious cycles. I hope they give you some new options to work with next time you get caught in a stressful situation.
1. RECOGNISE THE PROBLEM
More often than not, I realise I was comfort eating after I already chunked that bar of chocolate. Stress can be a sneaky bitch, leaving us unaware of how stressed we are – until it shows in our (re)actions. Are you having a difficult period in your life/month/week? Are certain things making you stressed? Sometimes just realising this helps you prevent comfort eating because you become more in touch with your emotions.
2. MAKE AN OVERVIEW OF THE CHAIN OF EVENTS
Exhibit A: I eat chocolate for a better mood. Sugar makes me feel a sugar high. Little while later, there’s a sugar low. I eat more chocolate to compensate for the sugar low. Then everything repeats itself again.
What’s wrong with this picture? It’s a bit of a vicious cycle. If I wasn’t eating chocolate in the first place, I would have no sugar lows and hence wouldn’t feel the need to eat something sweet again. I think it would save me a lot of money, calories and mood swings to just skip the sweets and sugary chocolate in the first place.
Are you also going through a vicious cycle? Realising it might help you break it!
3. THINK OF ALTERNATIVES
What could you do to improve your mood other than eat junk food? Could you cook a healthy, nutritious meal instead? Make a cup of tea? Go for a walk or take a bath?
To figure this one out, you need a bit of talent in listening to your body. When you’re craving junk food, what is your body telling you? Is it hungry, tired or upset? Is it overworked, overwhelmed or confused?
What does your body actually need at that moment? Is it rest, relaxation or action? Try thinking of alternatives to feed your needs, rather than turning to sweets for an easy and short term solution. By addressing the underlying issue with an alternative solution you will find that your craving will go away as well.
4. TREAT YOURSELF TO WHAT YOU DESERVE
By this, I don’t mean a bar of chocolate. I mean love and respect.
Junk food is not love for your body. It’s harm and it makes your body need to work twice as hard to remain healthy. Treat your body to something lovely & caring, especially in times of stress when it needs extra support.
Green leafy vegetables, multi color fruit salads and healthy meals help your body get through a rough time.
Treat your body with the love it deserves and you’ll end up noticing a positive change in the rest of your life too!
If all else fails, and you are really in need of comfort food, try making some of the saintly sweets recipes to nourish and comfort your body at the same time.