As you might know, I’m a recovered emotional eater (and founder of a video program to help people). I’ve personally found that “comfort food” is a big myth.
I’ve yet to meet a food which can truly comfort the root of painful emotions.
In fact, I’ve done a one-woman research study on the pros vs cons of comfort eating Ben and Jerry’s! My personal results? I don’t truly feel comforted after a big bowl! I just feel guilty and bloated! Comfort food is a myth!
I am not alone in bad mouthing the true comfort to be found in comfort food!
There was a huge study published in the American Psychological Association’s journal, Health Psychology.
The researchers set up an experiment where different groups of people were asked questions like:
Plus, they were asked to identify other foods they enjoyed – but wouldn’t necessarily pick as a “comfort food” to eat when anxious or depressed.
Next, participants were asked to watch a video – which was purposefully created to trigger “feelings of anger, fear, anxiety, and/or sadness.”
The first group of participants were asked to fill out a questionnaire about their mood. Plus, offered the comfort foods they had identified as their favorites.
(Note: chocolate was big on people’s lists! )
The second group of participants were offered the other foods which they’d chosen as enjoying – but not described as “comforting.”
And in the third group, participants were not offered any food at all.
“Participants’ moods improved over time – no matter what group they were in!” the researchers reported.
The researcher also reported: “This happened to the same extent regardless of which type of food they ate, or whether they at any food at all.”
In particular this University of Minnesota research team said…
“Negative moods naturally dissipate over time. (…) Individuals may be giving comfort food ‘credit’ for mood effects that would have occurred even in the absence of the comfort food.”
Notably, other recent research has reported that diets rich in fruit and veggies —at least 5 servings a day—wind up bringing a greater sense of well-being and happiness.
So if you’re truly seeking comfort in food, make sure you maintain a diet plentiful in fruit and veggies.
Unfortunately, many of the foods people choose for comfort (ice cream, candy bars, chocolate, pizza, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese) could easily be re-labeled as “Dis-comfort Food.”
Think about it.
Sugary foods bring about a crash and burn feeling – an hour or so later.
Plus, pigging out on pizza, mac ‘n cheese, mashed potatoes (etc) can make you feel mighty bloated.
And not only an hour later – but the next day when you go to put on your jeans.
If you’re feeling anxious or depressed, stop reaching for comfort foods. Instead, consider doing a comfort activity!
For example: comfort cycling, comfort walking, comfort meditating, comfort journaling, comfort manicure-and-pedicure-ing etc…
Already these psychological tools have helped many thousands of people to slim down and feel good – including myself!
Thanks to these tools I lost 20 pounds in 3 months! And I’ve kept the weight off for over 6 years – and still going strong!
Stop Emotional Eating is a video course you can start right away – do at your own pace – and keep for life!