“Reality Check” is an article series which looks at common mistakes people make when they begin dieting for weight loss. We’ll check out some ‘thought adjustments’ that will help you make better choices on your journey. The articles include tips, new ideas to try, strategies to follow, and encouragement to keep you moving forward.

Don’t turn to food for comfort

“I have had the WORST day! I got bombed on by my boss at work, I had a fight with my husband, and scraped my car in the parking lot at the mall! I need chocolate…and crisps… and a whole bowl of macaroni cheese to feel better”

Admit it. Most of allow our emotional state to control our cravings. When we have a terrible day, we often think that the best way to feel better is to eat ‘naughty’ foods in large quantities. The more sugar and starch the better!

I get it.

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Eating that giant chocolate slab does make you feel better… for a few minutes. Then suddenly, it makes you feel worse, because now your diet is ‘destroyed’ (not entirely, but it’ll feel this way), too.

Drowning your sadness in food really is counterproductive, because it doesn’t actually fix anything, and it makes you “fail” at another thing you’re trying hard to get right. It’s a five-minute ‘fix’ that doesn’t fix a single thing.

So what do you do instead?

Well, in the short term, find a remedy that ‘fixes’ your emotional stress without adding to your calorie total. If you’re not in a drought-affected area, have a nice long soaking bath. Or hit the gym and literally hit something. Join a boxing class, and release your frustrations into the boxing bag! Or take a self-defence class and learn some valuable skills while releasing your frustrations.

In the longer term, find someone you trust to talk to about your stress. A good friend, or counsellor, or your partner. A counsellor could help you identify more coping skills, and help you set a path for success.

Just don’t eat to ‘fix’ your problems, because the only thing eating fixes is an empty stomach.

If you really need some comfort food, take a look at these recipes below, just make sure to check your portion sizes!

HEALTHY comfort food! 16 Delicious RECIPES

Read more in the ‘reality check’ series below: