Is your goal to overcome cravings for unhealthy comfort foods during times of stress? Wintertime can bring on powerful cravings for unhealthy comfort foods. Comfort eating when you’re feeling stressed or cold is an extremely common practice. Unfortunately, when we’re trying to lose weight, it can make it much more challenging to reach our goals.
That said, if you’ve been trying to stop eating any of your favorite comfort foods, particularly when you’re feeling stressed, cold, and exhausted, you may be doing more harm than good. Restricting your foods to the point that you’re not able to enjoy your top favorites, particularly when you’d enjoy them the most, could work against you.
Instead, if you’re hoping to overcome cravings for unhealthy comfort foods, you may want to adjust your mindset. The more you try to deprive yourself, particularly in times of stress or discomfort, the more powerful your cravings will become until you’re practically feeling withdrawal symptoms. Denying yourself these foods will cause you to start using them as an emotional crutch.
Instead, alter the way you think about your comfort foods – nutritious and otherwise – so you will have a healthier relationship with them. The first step to overcome cravings for unhealthy comfort foods is to stop making your food choices a moral issue. That is, stop thinking of foods as “good” or “bad.” Indeed, there are foods that are more nutritious than others, but labeling foods as good and bad gives you the message that eating them is right or wrong. When you have that mindset, eating the “wrong” foods can give you a sense of guilt and your diet becomes a form of punishment.
You’re not trying to punish yourself by dieting. You’re trying to achieve a healthier body in which you feel better, more energized and even possibly more attractive. If your lifestyle becomes a punishment, you will lose.
Instead, stop thinking of foods in terms of “sinful desserts” or “guilty pleasures,” or even as “comfort food.” Instead, look at food in terms of its nutrition content and how much you like to eat it. Try to focus on mainly eating foods that are nutrient dense and that you still like, so that when it comes time to eat foods that aren’t as nutrient dense, you don’t have to worry about the occasional slice of pizza or piece of pie. After all, if you’re focusing on nutrition most of the time, and you eat a reasonable portion of the “unhealthy comfort foods” you love, there’s no harm done.
To help you overcome cravings for unhealthy comfort foods when you’re feeling stressed, start doing other things to ease your stress. Exercise, practice meditation or yoga and start drinking herbal teas. Begin trying lots of different flavors so you can find a few that make you feel warm, cozy and calm without sending 1,000 too many calories into your body.