Written by Jenn Hand, Holistic Nutritionist, Board Certified Health Coach, NBC-HWC

How To Comfort Yourself Without Food

Learning how to comfort myself without food was crucial in my own journey to break free of emotional eating, binge eating, and overeating.

Here are some tips to help: 

  1. Give yourself permission to be uncomfortable.

Feeling the emotions that sparked a desire for food can be very uncomfortable, especially as we are learning how to feel. In society, we’re taught to run away from anything that causes discomfort. Being a human being means we WILL go through uncomfortable parts of life, but this is what allows us to grow, expand and learn. Give yourself grace, compassion and permission to be in the discomfort as you feel. 

  1. Have a conversation with your inner child. 

This might sound woo-woo or very “therapist-y” but it has a ton of value. There is a part of us that usually craves love and comfort. Think of your own inner child (or a small child that you love if it doesn’t resonate) and ask what it is she needs to feel a sense of safety and comfort? 

  1. Use sensations to soothe. 

There’s comfort in the feel of a soft blanket or pillow, stroking a pet’s fur, smelling a delicious candle or essential oil and getting a gentle back rub. Explore tapping into your five senses to experiment with what feels comforting. Make a cup of hot tea, sit by a fireplace, get a back scratcher, ask for a back rub, play with playdough or a stress ball, listen to relaxing music, or find another way to utilize sight, sound, touch, and smell to soothe you. 

  1. Ask for support. 

This can feel challenging when we think we “should” be able to do it alone. Can you ask for what you need from your partner or loved one? Maybe it’s a hug or time together to share. Perhaps it’s to listen while you work through your emotions. It could even be doing something to get your mind off of what’s bothering you.  Sharing how you’re feeling or what you need with a close loved one, coach or therapist can be powerful and healing.

How To Comfort Yourself Without Food

Questions My Clients Ask Me:

How do you find joy outside of food?

This was a path of discovery for me (and for many of my clients who work to find what brings them joy outside of food!) I learned that joy involves moving my body, being in nature, hanging out with my dog, laughing with friends, having new adventures, engaging in deep conversations and listening to my heart. Explore what lights you up, what you’re drawn to, where you feel most alive and how you feel inspired to re-discover joy. 

How do you comfort yourself emotionally?

I’ve worked to find outlets for my emotions. Writing in my journal has been a big release for me and an important tool in my journey–it has provided a space to get my swirling thoughts out, vent emotions and gain clarity on what I’m really feeling. I also find comfort being in nature, snuggling with my dog, hugging a stuffed animal (yes, I have one from when I was little!), laying down on my yoga mat and listening to relaxing music. 

Why do I eat to relax?

Eating can feel soothing, pacifying and comforting. Often we eat sweet foods to relax, and this sugar is absorbed quickly in the bloodstream, causing an initial surge of energy. The problem is that it’s only a temporary fix. It wears off quickly and we are left with the initial problem we were stressed over (and we’re usually mad at ourselves for eating over it!)

Read More:

🌷What Is Mental Hunger?

🌷How to Stop Overeating at Night

Work with a Emotional Eating & Holistic Nutrition Coach

Overcome Bingeing and Emotional Eating, and Break Up with Yo-yo Dieting

Working with a emotional eating coach and holistic nutritionist can help you get free from the frustrating binge and restrict cycle and stop yo-yo dieting.

You don’t have to be obsessed with food or have a million rules around eating to find your natural weight and learn to love your body. Ready to actually see a lasting change and experience true freedom?

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About the Author: 

Jenn Hand has been helping women like you become normal eaters since 2015.

She’s worked with thousands of women, helping them to balance their bodies, end bingeing, stop obsessing over food, and start feeling amazing again.  As a board-certified health coach and holistic nutritionist, Jenn knows how to support you in making real positive changes that last.

Her articles have been published on Mind Body Green, Tiny Buddha, Thrive Global and other local and global media platforms. She’s the author of How to Be a Normal Eater and the creator of The Normal Eater’s Club program. Listen to Jenn’s advice and tips on the Cake Doesn’t Count Podcast, or read more of her articles for free on the Food Freedom Blog.

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