How to tackle comfort eating

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Joined: May 13
Posts: 516

Posted: 01 Dec 2013, 15:34
I comfort eat. I know I do it and have done for a while. After a particularly bad week I am dreading my weigh in tomorrow. In avoiding over eating I find distraction works best, usually a hot bath in the evening as who wants crumbs sharing their bath and because the evening is when my cravings strike. I haven't yet found a good distraction or other method for dealing with comfort eating, what does everyone else find works for them?

Joined: Jul 11
Posts: 216

Posted: 01 Dec 2013, 16:16
I am a big emotional eater, and night time is the worst for me, but now, I don't eat after (pick a time that works for you). No matter what. I only started in August of this year, as part of a challenge on FatSecret, but so far, so good.


I try to think of exercise like doing the dishes or laundry; I might not necessarily look forward to doing it, but it is necessary.

Joined: May 13
Posts: 516

Posted: 09 Dec 2013, 01:56
Still struggling this week. Anyone else have any tips?

Joined: Sep 12
Posts: 553

Posted: 09 Dec 2013, 07:05
I, too, try to "close the kitchen" after dinner is cleaned up, brush my teeth & settle in with my dog and cat to read, relax, watch tv, etc. I also try to chew gum or have a mint if cravings come. Distraction is great in any form, but its also good to try to sort out the emotions you're wanting to eat rather than feel or deal with, if you can. Hope that helps, and good luck in this new week & new opportunity to better deal with wanting to eat when its not really food you're hungry for!
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Joined: Mar 10
Posts: 504

Posted: 09 Dec 2013, 07:16
This might sound crazy, but I try to avoid the things that lead me to comfort eating, like being comfortable. Nighttime is deadly for me, too, and as soon as my butt hits my favorite chair--whether for tv or a book or grading papers--my mind hits the kitchen and what might be lurking in the pantry or fridge waiting for me. It's torture. So instead, I don't get "comfortable" when that time hits. I try to sneak in an extra little workout from a dvd right then, not too much cardio or I won't sleep, but something like Yoga or Pilates or the like. I'm burning calories, gaining strength and flexibility, and then I hit the shower and get myself to bed.

This won't work for everyone, especially those of you who need to "relax" before you get into bed, but it works wonders for me. If I really have to do a little reading or whatever, I do it after I've gotten myself in bed because I simply WILL NOT eat in my bed so that's not even a temptation.
"The grass ain't greener, the wine ain't sweeter, either side of the hill" The Grateful Dead
Sweet Ce

Joined: Dec 12
Posts: 10

Posted: 09 Dec 2013, 11:07
shmiller: that's a lovely idea and i've thought of it often. i just have convinced myself that it's going to keep me up - a lie, i'm sure but... hmm, maybe i can take your suggestion for a few days and see what happens. thanks for sharing
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Joined: Apr 11
Posts: 53

Posted: 09 Dec 2013, 13:53
shmiller - thank you for describing your "nighttime process", I do the same thing of never getting comfortable until it's too late to eat - i just never realized what I was doing and and why!

Also I find in the evenings if I tell myself - "i don't have to eat that now, I can eat it tomorrow" - it often works and then i forget all about it. basically i am not saying "no", but "later", and then the emotional cravings are not there any more.

emotional eating is tough! hang in there!
If it is important to you, you will find a way. If not, you will find an excuse.

Joined: Feb 11
Posts: 1,223

Posted: 09 Dec 2013, 14:08
staying busy is really the key. I have bumped my evening meal to a little later in the evening (usually 6:30-7:00pm). It takes me a good 1/2 hour or more to eat, so that basically only leaves room for a protein shake (dessert) before grabbing my tea and chilling for an hour before bed. I have had no negative impact from eating a later dinner.
I go to the gym after work, so if I find that I am going to be home early from the gym - which then makes dinner early, I often will increase the time at the gym. Or I take the dogs for a walk. That keeps the sedentary, snack time less. But I'm crazy, so you might not want to do that Smile

Joined: Mar 10
Posts: 504

Posted: 10 Dec 2013, 09:36
I concur with NCNOLE about tea, also. I often grab a cup of unsweetened boiling hot green tea if I just can't seem to shake a craving. Nothing goes great with green tea (not sugary, not salty), and giving my belly something sometimes staves off the cravings.
"The grass ain't greener, the wine ain't sweeter, either side of the hill" The Grateful Dead
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Joined: Apr 11
Posts: 53

Posted: 10 Dec 2013, 10:00
Great tips for avoiding comfort eating!!

I thought of two other things that sometimes work for me when I am in the middle of a stressful week and am more prone to comfort eat.

I try to have a big pot of soup on the fridge. It's comfort meal, but without too many calories.

If I am too stressed/tired/cranky (don't have the energy to exercise/move) - I go to bed really early,even at 7 pm. I listen to audio books in the dark, sometimes fall asleep and get up later to shower and/or clean up around the house, sometimes i sleep until the morning. After a few hours of extra sleep I am less prone to emotional eating and my week improves.

If it is important to you, you will find a way. If not, you will find an excuse.

Joined: Sep 10
Posts: 2

Posted: 11 Dec 2013, 16:20
Something that really helps me with cravings is Skinny Fiber, you can see lots of information on Facebook just search vwood33skinnyfiber and it should come up.

Joined: Nov 13
Posts: 16

Posted: 12 Dec 2013, 07:08
I don't keep ANY comfort foods in the house. My husband and I rid all the cupboards, pantry and freezer of the "go to" comfort/snacking/just all around bad for you snacks.
If we want a treat.....we have it when we go out or we make a plan to have some for say a movie night at home with the kids but there is none left for the next day. Since I would have to pack up two toddlers in the middle of winter to go get the bad stuff...I have plenty of time to find something more nutritious or boil a pot of water for some tea. I find without it around I don't have cravings. My husband does not and never has had a weight issue and since he lacks a sweet tooth, except once every couple months, it was easy to get him on board.

Joined: Aug 09
Posts: 26

Posted: 12 Dec 2013, 11:55
As much as I think it's great to say just stop eating at a certain time or just never sit down and keep busy, I think that having that kind of restriction on your life is what inevitably leads us to the all-or-nothing dieting mentality and the on/off the wagon concept.

Life can't be all about restricting yourself. Whenever I work with clients who emotionally eat we do a couple of things.
1) figure out what the underlying emotion is and how food is helping them with that
2) find better substitutes. For example, for my clients that get salty cravings at night, they have a small handful of pistachios instead of a bag of chips. Or for the chocolate loving clients, many of them make this 3 minuet flourless chocolate cake or the peanut butter version:

I think just trying to ignore what you are craving, without getting to the underlying issue and trying to rely solely on willpower is tough because willpower is finite. My advice is find other options that you actually enjoy as much (or more) as the comfort foods so you will have to reason to revert back.

Good luck!

Joined: Nov 13
Posts: 471

Posted: 13 Dec 2013, 21:37
I watch my calories and carbs closely and when I reach my calorie limit for the day, I take a drink of water and chew sugar free gum about 5 calories. I also have sugar free candy which is less than 30 calories and 10 calorie decaffeinated tea after dinner.
Woohoo! I am excited! Love this website!

Joined: May 13
Posts: 516

Posted: 16 Dec 2013, 07:57
Things have picked up and this last week I've been very good with 3lb weight loss to prove it. Some of these tips will be useful for every day though, I'm going to test out a few of these. Thanks everyone.

Joined: Oct 11
Posts: 102

Posted: 30 Dec 2013, 10:09
The easiest way to replace a bad habit like smacking at night is to replace it with something else, like a cup of tea, or a good workout. Or smacking on something like sunflower seeds instead. I think that its not always just comfort eating, but a habit that's been formed, so you feel strange and uncomfortable when not doing it. Try the 3 3 3 aproach. Just focus on making it through the next 3 days and be excited about that victory, then take that victory and push it to 3 weeks. After you make 3 weeks you will have another huge victory and can take that energy and go for 3 months, by that time the habit will be broken and a new one formed.
Starting weight- 219 lbs May 2011
Goal 150 lbs- my original main goal, reached 6/22/2012! Yipee!

Pregnant with baby # 4. Gained 55 lbs. Weight at end of pregnancy 8/9/2013 204 lbs
Goal 1- 175 lbs reached February 23, 2014
Goal 2- 160 lb

Joined: Jan 12
Posts: 41

Posted: 30 Dec 2013, 10:34
I too have that night snacking issue Sad Lately I have used foods like Skinny Pop and Corn Thins to curb it. Both foods are very low calorie and taste great. I crave the "crunch" so both seem to work for me. Just a suggestion!

Joined: Nov 13
Posts: 2

Posted: 06 Jan 2014, 06:19
I have a horrible addiction to emotional eating but if you can find something else to do it helps. I'm an avid reader so that helps with that empty space kind of "pang". As far as the emotional part, yes you have to find what triggers it but I bet you already know what it is. Try journaling your emotions instead grabbing for those cookies. That helped me through a world of hurt while I went though a ton of stuff. Remember your goal and how good you feel when losing weight. Let that bring you back to saying no to that "pang". Emotional eating is no different than emotional drinking or anything else. We have to push through it. Have a friend you can call when you need an ear. Anything other than reaching for food.

Joined: Jan 14
Posts: 16

Posted: 06 Jan 2014, 18:09
Ruhu wrote:
I, too, try to "close the kitchen" after dinner is cleaned up, brush my teeth & settle in with my dog and cat to read, relax, watch tv, etc.

I totally do this too. I am usually home alone most evenings as my SO works night shift. So I get home around 3:30 pm, spend an hour, relaxing, checking social media, etc.

Then I start cooking supper. I cook supper for myself and a plate for my SO when he gets home as well as two extra servings for lunches for the both of us. I immediately clean up after eating supper, kitchen and other little household tidying. This usually takes just under two hours.

Most evenings I then have a shower, so I don't have to have one in the morning (time saver, don't want to wake up at 5 am to shower and have breakfast).

Then it's a mug of tea and relaxing for the rest of the evening.
Jan. 1/14: 255
Goal 1: 240

Joined: Feb 14
Posts: 6

Posted: 15 Feb 2014, 19:13
I usually try to work out after work so try to have dinner little later. If I don't work out, I try to go out with friends so I wouldn't get home so early. One more tip that I found useful is getting lost in good book or a puzzle. Once I get started on a puzzle, few hours can pass without me noticing and by that time it's already time to go to bed lol

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