Comfort foods. It sounds so pleasant, doesn’t it? Do you feel all warm and fuzzy inside when you hear that? We all know what they are and we all have indulged them a time or two (or three or four…).

But here is the ugly side…..eating these comfort foods comes at a high price.

I know that this blog will hit a little too close to home for a lot of you, but it is a blog that needs to be written.

Comfort foods are those foods that you turn to when you are feeling depressed or need something to help you emotionally.What are comfort foods? Here is a partial list:

  • It’s those extra calories that you need to feed an emotional need rather than a nutritional need.
  • It’s excessively big portions that keep you stuffed.
  • It’s high-calorie snacks.
  • It’s sugary or salty treats.
  • It’s fried and/or smothered with cheese.
  • It’s whatever you indulge in with mindless munching.

Do any of these sound familiar? Most people gravitate to a particular type of comfort food. For women, it could be chocolate. For men, it could be chicken wings. Or vice versa. However, studies have shown that women gravitate more toward sugary foods whereas men gravitate toward saltier foods.

Reasons for Eating Comfort Food

1.   Out of Habit: Your body loves routine. If you always snack while watching television then you’d probably find it hard to relax without mindlessly eating. The good news is that once you break the cycle your body will quickly adapt to a healthier routine.

2.   To Change Your Mood: How many of you have shoved food in your mouth because of something happening in your life? Does the thought of eating a carton of ice cream bring a smile? How about an entire bag of chips to lift your mood? Pay attention to the emotions that trigger you to overeat—you may be surprised by how often you use food to feel better.

3.   Because Everyone’s Doing It: Who can resist comfort food when you are amongst friends? What about when you are at a party with friends? Who can resist the jalapeno poppers when your friends are eating them like popcorn? Peer pressure doesn’t just apply to teenagers—it’s another reason to overeat.

Can you remember how you felt after you last filled up on comfort food? If you’re honest, you’ll admit that the stuffed and bloated feeling was downright awful. So why do it?  Is it because you like to:

  • Fit into clothes that are a few sizes larger.
  • Become drained with less energy than ever before (thanks to the sugar highs and lows).
  • Become plagued with health concerns and prescriptions.
  • Be embarrassed and frustrated with your body.

I am going to go out on a limb here and say no to all of the above!

Most people don’t realize it, but the battle to overcome your eating habits is decided by a single body part—and it’s not your mouth. It’s your BRAIN! Once you’ve made up your mind, for better or for worse, you can bet that your body will obey your decision to the letter.

I usually advocate having some treats or cheat meals every so often. However, you have to make the conscious decision to partake every once in a while. And you have to make the conscious decision to only eat a small portion. It’s all up to you. You have to harness the willpower to not have food control you.

There is no better time than now to give up your dependence on comfort foods. You can end the abuse, once and for all. Oh, and I can hear my personal training clients and subscribers telling me, “Yeah….good luck with that, Dennis. Giving up comfort foods is too hard.” But that’s what I’m here for right? And that is why Esther Hansen, the registered dietitian that I have partnered with, is here for you as well. We are going to keep you on the right track so you don’t sabotage your health and fitness goals.

Think of this blog as a wake-up call!