Feeding the Hole: The Comfort of Food
“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.” – Jim Rohn
Eating for emotion, whether the emotion is positive or negative is a challenge most of us will always face. We will most likely continue to celebrate using food and drink or be enticed by comfort food when faced with negative emotions. The trick is awareness and choice. When celebrating, give yourself permission to indulge. To indulge however does not mean to overeat or drink; rather it is allowing yourself the opportunity to savour the foods that bring you the most joy, free of guilt. Keeping in mind, once the occasion is over return to your healthy eating plan.
I call this the 80/20 health rule
80% – 90% of my week I eat for nourishment, planning meals that ensure I achieve or maintain my health goals. The remaining 10% – 20% of my week I eat the foods that make my heart sing, also planning my meals to ensure I eat the treats I love while maintaining a commitment not to overeat.
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What Are We Comforting Anyway?
Generally speaking, it’s stress in some form or another that needs to be relieved. Comfort food is, therefore, defined as whatever foods make you feel reassured and supported. Our favorite indulgences are often the very same meals our loved ones served when we were kids, and it’s this feeling of safety that pulls us to the food during times of insecurity or fear.
The recent passing of my Mom rocked my world! Death and illness has a way of making things real and putting things into perspective. That and entering the halfway point of my life seemed too much for me to handle. I felt numb and heavy with anxiety. My coping mechanism….comfort myself with fast food while hiding out and isolating myself from friends.
When my friend Sue asked me to do the challenge, I said “YES”! I needed a change, wanting to build a legacy for myself and my children. I wanted to honor my Mom but I just couldn’t seem to find the energy to get started. Unsure where I would find the energy or drive, I was determined to participate 100% (my brain was telling me “you weren’t successful before, you’re not going to be successful now!). I needed a plan and I knew I needed to start small
So I got to work…I drank two shakes a day, cleansed and detoxed my body, while cutting out the junk food and replaced it with ‘clean’ raw foods. I stopped drinking wine with my dinner and drank half my body weight in ounces of water. I reworked my schedule to ensure I got 7 hours of sleep a night.
I also began to exercise again, this time at home (huge victory since I had stopped working out for over two years)! I started with 5 minutes a day first thing in the morning. Yup that right, 5 minutes before going to work. I needed to start small so I could win and honour my commitment, 5 days a week!
Week after week I noticed the changes: my clothes were getting looser, my energy was through the roof! I now was working out 30-40 minutes a day and I’m waking up before my alarm clock! There’s a newfound “pep” in my step! Each weekend I celebrated my success with a glass of wine and indulging by savouring one of my favourite foods.
This challenge has been the catalyst I needed to rediscover my true self!
I now understand the strategy only works when I relate to my health as a journey and daily commitment. As I wake each morning, it is my choice to recommit to my health. If my choice today is not my best choice, tomorrow is a new day and an opportunity to commit to a better choice.
If you, like Cindy, have created unhealthy strategies such as feeding the hole with comfort food, I invite YOU to embrace the CHALLENGE and the 80/20 Rule! YOU too can master this habit!
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