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Old 07-21-2003, 08:49 PM   #1
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Default Using food as comfort

I know that there was a "What is food for" topic below, but I really need help with figuring out how to stop a particular kind of eating problem--comfort eating. I've been able to deal with most other eating issues, and until I was sick last week, I thought comfort eating was a thing of the past. Not!

I felt crummy (had pleurisy) and all I wanted to do was eat. I wasn't sick enough to quit eating--just sick enough to feel awful and not be able to exercise. I have to say I was better about it than I ever was before, but the urge was still there, and I gave a lot more than I wanted to.

Comfort eating has become an incredible habit with me. I know exactly when it started (I was 9) and why, but I still haven't been able to break the powerful habit and it's bumming me out. I have gotten it to the point where I only do it when I don't feel good--if I could just stay healthy all the time, I'd be in great shape!

Has anyone who experienced the comfort eating problem been able to quit? If so, how did you do it? I'd love to replace it with exercise, but exercising was out of the question last week.

The grand essentials of happiness are something to do, something to love and something to hope for - A. K. Chalmers.
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Old 07-21-2003, 09:23 PM   #2
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(hugs!) I hope you are feeling much better. To be honest, I don't know what pleurisy is.

I haven't beat the comfort eating thing yet either. When I do it, it's almost always some type of baked goods-cookies or brownies, or sometimes icecream/frozen yogurt. I've read all different articles that say to do something else when the urge strikes-I'm sorry, but painting your nails or taking a bubble bath (why do they always suggest those things in articles? I never paint my nails, and get bored taking long baths-I'm a shower person) does not feel anywhere near the same.

Sorry I couldn't be any help-just wanted to let you know you're not alone. I do remember articles saying to try and figure out what you actually are looking for-love, companionship, a hug, etc. and getting that instead of eating. Unfortunately, I always do my comfort eating at night, when my husband is at work (the reason I do it in the first place) or at work when I"m stressed. I can't go to a co-worker and ask for a hug! (not at my current job-my old job there were lots of sweet people around...oh, well)

Take care and feel better,

I love peanut butter and jelly too! When I'm sick for some reason I always want Progresso chicken noodle soup. It has to be that particular brand (weird, I know), or scrambled eggs and toast. I always crave breakfast food when I'm sick. My husband panics when I eat eggs for dinner-he assumes I'm not feeling well.

I miss my Jewish grandmother's chicken soup-it was the best!
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Last edited by suzie76; 07-21-2003 at 09:46 PM.
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Old 07-21-2003, 09:32 PM   #3
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When my grandmother was going through her cancer treatments, my comfort food was peanut butter & grape jam on white bread. I cannot tell you how many sandwiches I consumed 2 summers ago.

And for me, peanut butter (Skippy creamy only!) is a trigger food. It helped me gain back all the weight I'd lost while on phentermine. It just tastes so gooood.


I cannot have it in the house while I'm trying to lose weight. Also, I realized it has hydrogenated oil, which I am allergic to. The only peanut butter I can have now is Smucker's Natural. And they don't make the lowfat kind anymore (not that I can find anyway), so there ya go. I can't have it til I can control myself around it. And Smuckers Natural tastes nothing like Skippy Creamy, so what is the point, really?

Chicken soup, orange juice, and popsicles, however...I won't give up. Chicken soup is actually good for you, and I only want orange juice when I'm feeling lousy. I'm picky about that too--low pulp Minute Maid w/calcium, 100% juice. I just try & watch it w/the portion sizes. In fact, I'm feeling better & have half a carton left. Seems a waste. *shrugs*

"It's never too late to be what you might have been." -George Eliot
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Old 07-21-2003, 09:36 PM   #4
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You are definatly not alone. I sort of do the same thing when I am not feeling good. When I don't feel good, I just don't care, and end up grabbing whatever. Usually something quick and easy that doesn't require much preperation and somehow those always seem to be the wrong stuff. I think those are some of the times I have the hardest time eating right.

Hope you are feeling better.

Take care ~ Gayle
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Old 07-21-2003, 11:18 PM   #5
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my name is jane and i'm a comfort food addict. the hardest thing i've had to deal with. and pleurisy HURTS... everything aches.. and nothing really helps. is it any wonder that you needed comforting????

but it's just another form of self medicating to avoid/soothe those feelings we don't want to deal with. i've found [through lots of trial and error] that when i need comfort, i'm actually angry!!!! angry that i'm sick or lonely or whatever. and when <IF?> i do something to deal with the anger, i don't want to eat for comfort.

and, as noted above, we want those foods associated with those people who were comforting, to bring back those comfortable, safe, warm memories. we gotta find another way to access those memories, to bring back all those warm fuzzy feelings that made us feel safe. only you can find that way. i've closed my eyes and pictured scenes. and then the memories come back and i feel better. i can also SEE the food, and sometimes even smell it, but that's ok, because i'm focusing on my grandmother [the main comforting spirit in my life].

it's not easy.

i'm still going through this because i'm still angry that i have asthma.
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Old 07-22-2003, 02:29 AM   #6
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Ahhhh, if only food was JUST fuel. Wouldn't be all be thin, fuel efficient machines.

Food is a curious thing. My mother can't stand to look at another "Boiled Dinner" (cabbage, carrots, potatoes & kielbasa) while it's my home-sick food. When we were dirt poor, that's what we had. Heck, I had no idea it was cheap food, I just knew that it meant family to me.

When you're not feeling good, you're even more vunerable. Heck, my mom gets offended if I don't call her with the typical daughter whine, "Mooooommmm, I'm sick!" Not only are you physically weakened but you're emotional weakened ("why is my body doing this?" "what did I do wrong?") Personally, I take it very hard when my body rebels against me.

There are a few of things that I do when I'm in this state.

First, find a fix. Chicken broth, boiled dinner with turkey kielbasa, etc. I don't go for the "I'll only have ONE rice krispies treat/no-bake cookie." because it's a LIE. I won't stop.

I journal. I rarely journal what's wrong with me because it would be a very boring journal. I journal the memories that accompany the comfort food. For instance, when I miss my sister, I crave kool-aid and white bread with microwaved american cheese. (I don't make this up kids). So, I journal about how I used to trick her into making kool-aid for me ("Oh A-, you make the BEST kool-aid, how do you make it again?" C'mon, she was like 9 years old) or I journal about why I miss my sister.

Finally, I concentrate on what my body needs. If I'm under the weather, I may want to eat 3,000 calories in one sitting but it's not going to make me get well any faster. Would stretching? Would a nap help? How about a cup of herbal tea? Sometimes I visualize white blood cells attacking the enemy, or sometimes I draw it (hey, I'm a freak!).

If this film thing doesn't work out, I am SO going into Art Therapy.
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Old 07-22-2003, 09:23 AM   #7
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Default Feel Better Sheila

SAPF you can make natural PB low fat simply by pouring all the settled oil off the top.

Comfort eating I do my share. Trying to disctract myself is what I do that works.

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Old 07-23-2003, 07:56 PM   #8
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Default Re: Feel Better Sheila

Originally posted by rochemist
SAPF you can make natural PB low fat simply by pouring all the settled oil off the top.
I shall try this when I can trust myself not to finish off the jar in a week.

"It's never too late to be what you might have been." -George Eliot
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Old 07-24-2003, 01:57 AM   #9
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Goddess... you are so on target! I like the idea of writing about the glory foods in order to enlarge and focus the comfy feelings they bring up... and writing doesn't add calories, it uses calories! Have you seen the web pages for art therapists and journal therapists. LOTS of good ideas.
If you observe a really happy man you will find him building a boat, writing a symphony, educating his son, growing double dahlias in his garden. He will not be searching for happiness as if it were a collar button that has rolled under the radiator. - W. Beran Wolfe
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