Comfort eating gets a bad rep.
From Dr. Phil to the mean trainers on The Biggest Loser in all of its respective countries. The message is clear. “Don’t eat your emotions.”
Step 1- Recognise emotional eating.
Step 2- Don’t eat 6 mini gingernuts with my cup of tea??
So, what do I do instead? Go for a walk, drink a glass of water, call a friend, write a list of 5 things I love about myself? Sure, great, absolutely!
Except when I can’t.
As a parent to a part-time 8 year old, a full-on fulltime 3 year old and a 24/7 new-born, I do not always have the luxury to meet my emotional and physical needs in a healthy, productive way. During the 3am feed, for example, or the dreaded 4:30pm cooking/homework/hangry kid witching hour…
I argue there is a place for a bit of comfort eating! A cup of tea and a handful of white scorched almonds for no other reason than it makes me feel good. So there.
Comfort eating also has a pretty crucial role when life is hard. Hot drinks and heavy carbs are just the thing to perk a person up enough to make the first steps in a real feel better solution.
Nine years ago, I had a flatmate who was nursing a broken heart. I used to dangle a hot, sugary alcoholic drink in a thermo-mug in front of his face like a carrot to lure him down the beach for a bit of exercise. Worked a treat. As a mum, I have found a walk/coffee-destination combo is actually a productive part of long term mental and physical health.
As mothers and parents, our needs often come last because we are the least vulnerable of the herd. I used to hate women who said they didn’t have time for breakfast… I now recognise it as a bonus if I eat before 9am.
We are tired, we are hungry, we are not are intellectually stimulated. Most toddlers and babies do not treat their carers with the common courtesy and respect of first world working conditions.
A little comfort eating is a totally reasonable crutch some of the time! What’s the point of pinning all those yummy things on Pinterest if we don’t eat them?
Make a hot drink. Bake some cookies with the kids. Enjoy your treats. A bit of comfort eating has its place. And is a great distraction from the temptation of daytime drinking which, arguably, has less of a place in day-to-day parenting.