Friday, March 16, 2018

The Truth About Comfort Food

The TRUTH About Comfort Food

Comfort food is actually about the need or the wish to be comforted by another person.  If nobody is available to provide comfort, or if the people in your life are not able to respond in a way that feels good, that’s painful.  The good news is that you can learn to give yourself what you need to feel better.

If you’re turning to food for comfort, the primary challenge is learning to respond to yourself with language instead of action (eating).

If you turn away from food as a way of feeling better, you’ve learned to respond to your needs by ignoring, denying or judging them.  It’s humiliating to have unmet needs, and you may have turned against your need for comfort as a way to feel powerful, turning passive to active. 

You cannot stuff down your feelings, nor can you starve them away or purge them.  Cultivating an ability to recognize, value and respond to yourself without bingeing, restricting or purging will help you overcome eating disorder behavior, no matter what your struggle with food.

Keep in mind the acronym VARY as a guide to providing comfort:

Validate:  Recognize that your feelings and thoughts are reactions to a particular situation, and you have an absolute right to feel the way you feel. 
For example:  I got passed over for a promotion at work and my co-worker got it instead. I feel hurt, unappreciated and upset.  Of course I feel that way.  How else could I feel given, this situation? 

Acknowledge:  Accept the existence and truth of what you’re feeling.
This is a painful, upsetting, and humiliation situation. I also realize that some of my sibling issues might have gotten stirred up, since my brother was always getting special treatment.

Reassure:  Encourage and inspire yourself by remembering that this situation will pass, and you will feel better.  Keep in mind past situations in which you were able to overcome difficulty.  You will this time, too!
I’ve overcome a lot of challenges in my life (recall them specifically) and I’m going to get past this, too.  I feel awful now, but I’m not going to be stuck in this horrible feeling.  I will feel better


When you are consistently respond to yourself in a supportive way, you feel better.  You may even feel good.  When that happens, you don’t use food to comfort, numb or distract yourself.  That’s how you make peace with food for good!   

Is food your best friend and your worst enemy?

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Click here to get started on a path to making peace with food for good!