Comfort food makes you feel a better when life is hard! It's a complicated concept to describe, because you know that food does not really have the power to change your circumstances in life, but somehow certain foods manage to sooth your emotions and lessen stress! Most of you are drawn to soft, sweet, or salty creations, that you just can't get enough of, when life is tough!
One thing that these comfort foods do have in common is that they are mostly refined processed carbohydrates like cookies, cakes, chips, candy, ice cream, and chocolate! The reason for this is that sugar and starch will increase serotonin, a neurotransmitter in your brain that increases your happiness. You will actually feel comfort. There are many other experiences related to food too. Maybe your mom always gave you cookies when you were having a bad or good day, as a child, and eating cookies spurs that memory subconsciously.
Comfort foods and emotional eating go hand in hand. Loneliness, anger, boredom, sadness, and anxiety are some of the top feelings associated with food! You reach for comfort food because food, unlike people, will never disappoint you, will always be there, and will never judge you!
The problem with these foods is that they are empty calories, and often require an entire day's calorie allotment to bring comfort! You also add guilt and shame for your perceived lack of self control. In the long term, they offer little comfort, but weight gain, self image problems, and frustration. They must be understood for weight control or weight loss.
We all have foods that bring us comfort. It's a healthy diet habit to recognize this and to choose some strategies to limit these choices, choose healthier choices, or learn the wonderful art of distraction! Find comfort in other places besides food for great weight control!