Today's Episode

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Hi, welcome to my latest podcast episode. And I'm really excited to tell you that this is my 1/100 podcast episode which I am so proud of. I absolutely adore this podcast. It's my favorite way to chat to you guys. So much more than Instagram and creating videos. I feel so much closer to you and I feel like I can open up a little bit more on this podcast. And when I feel I open up more, I feel I can help you if you're going through similar stuff that I went through. Um I can help you get fit and healthy and feel really good and find your inner peace and calm.

And so I'm delighted that this is the 100th episode considering I was very inconsistent with this podcast for a while because I was so afraid of it not being good. Um And like I was joking the other day on another episode, I used to kind of spend an hour prepping for this podcast episode, an hour being cleaning the microphone, the screen hoovering all around, making sure my notes were perfect. Now, III I plan but I don't clean around the equipment for an hour beforehand. I just get stuck straight in. Um because version one is definitely better than version none. And it's, it's just terrific to be able to communicate with you.

Thanks for listening. I really appreciate it. Thank you so much for listening to me. Um And to come to me to help you get fit and feel great and find your inner peace and calm. So I want to talk to you today about comfort eating. Um I'm going to tell you how I overcame comfort eating and I'm going to give you really simple, practical steps that worked for me to overcome comfort eating that may work for you too. And I always find if you can take, if you find just one thing from this podcast episode that will help you have like a little mini revelation and will help you on your journey of comfort eating, stopping comfort eating. Then it's a job well done for me. Um Comfort eating. It has been a big part of my life up until about 24 months ago, 12 to 24 months ago. Um I would comfort eat in different ways.

So I would for example, eat on the couch after dinner. If I was watching something on Netflix, that would be a big comfort eating time for me, not every night. Um I would um comfort eat with my dinner. So if I ever felt very stressed out, I would say to Joe, oh my God, I love spaghetti bolognaise today with garlic bread just so I could have that big portion of spaghetti with loads of garlic bread. I would always be the one, you know, Joe would make a tray of garlic bread, you know, just from the shop with the nine slices on it and I'd probably have six of those and that was a big comfort eating time for me the dinner.

I remember being really stressed out and I used to pass apple green on the way home from work where my old studio was. And if I was very stressed out, I would stop there and get um as it called Camil really unhealthy kind of sticky chicken noodles. And I would eat them on the way home in the car. Uh I had, I had had lunch. I was heading to dinner. However, it was another big comfort eating moment for me. Um, I used to comfort eat when I was hungover. Very much. So I used to get the samosas and the baddies in Tesco. Oh, my God.

I would have it as a snack between lunch and dinner on top of my other snacks. Put a load in the microwave. Bit of soy sauce. Just eat, eat, eat. I would sneak eat, comfort eat. After I had drinks, I would have a crisp and cheese wraps on the way to my bed. Um I would comfort eat the whole time or if I wasn't comfort eating, I would be extremely restrictive on my food, kind of no dressing with my salad. However, comfort eating and all those pockets throughout the week. Um, the reason I was comfort eating was because I know now I wasn't managing my emotions very well and I turned to food for comfort and when you do that, it can have really negative effects on your physical and your mental health.

And I want to talk to you about those effects for, to, to you. Now, if you're comfort eating, I think sometimes you don't realize how bad it is until you kind of stop. Especially if you're the type of woman who is working out eating healthy, doing all the good stuff and your comfort eating. At the same time, I think sometimes you mightn't realize just how controlled you are by it. But I wanted to share with you some of the negative effects it can have on your physical and your mental health.

So the ways in which it holds you back. So number one is weight gain, comfort, eating, consuming like the really high calorie, sugary fatty foods or even just eating more foods leads to weight gain. And I used to be three stone overweight and then over the past couple of years, I fluctuated about two stone, one stone, that kind of thing. And I can see, I can see when I look back because I, I moved as an online coach over COVID and I can see that extra stone, that extra stone and a half on my body and it was from comfort eating everything else. I was doing healthy. I was working out, I was eating healthy.

I was drinking water, all that sort of stuff. However, I was comfort eating and I don't think people realize how much sometimes comfort eating can have a huge effect on your weight gain. I think we can tend to minimize it sometimes and not really think we're doing as much damage to our bodies as we are. Um, especially if you're eating like a really healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner, but it really can lead to a lot of weight gain. And, you know, I'm absolute proof of that working out so often. You know, throughout COVID, I worked five times a week but still overweight because I used to comfort eat.

Um, comfort eating as well can lead you to really unhealthy eating patterns. So the more you comfort eat and the longer you, you comfort eat throughout your life, the more of an unhealthy relationship you start to develop with food because you're, you're, you're leaning on food, you're relying on food for emotional comfort. So you just get this really fucked up relationship with food where you are either very restrictive on some of your meals and then you're kind of going overboard.

And in my case, it was the constant thinking of food that used to wreck my head. And I thought I had cracked a lot of that and I cracked some of it when I gave up calorie counting and uh and going low on carb and dieting and all that restrictive stuff. However, when you're comfort eating, you can't deny that food is very much in the forefront of your mind. A lot of the time when you comfort eat, like I used to comfort eat on the couch at night, have like five packet of crisps and half a packet of biscuits sometimes more. Um I would feel so bad the next day and try to make up for that with like really small portions and salads.

However, I feel like when you're stuck in a comfort eating kind of a cycle, you automatically only end up getting about three or four days of restrictive food. The rest of the time you, you, you're comfort eating. When I look back, I was only really doing Monday, Tuesday, Thursday of healthy eating and the rest there was pockets of comfort eating there and it just gets worse. The older you get, you're just relying on it more and more and more, especially forties, fifties, sixties, seventies when you're going through new challenges, older parents, um, empty nest, getting older, all that sort of stuff. If you don't fix it, you're, you're just making it things 10 times worse, emotional dependence. So relying on food for comfort, really hampers and stops you developing healthier coping mechanisms.

And this was me to a t you know, I gave up alcohol only a year and a month ago and I felt like a newborn baby in a negative way. Uh It's, it's been on, I can't describe to you. I, I, I'll try, I talked to Joe about it the whole time since I stopped drinking and comfort eating. I have experienced feelings that I feel I haven't become familiar with. And I really struggled in the first six months of giving up alcohol in the sense that my feelings felt very raw and vulnerable. I felt like I was wearing the insides of me on the outside. Does that make sense? I felt very vulnerable and I, I know it sounds crazy like come on Jessica, you weren't drinking 24 days, seven days a week, 24 hours, seven days a week.

But it did feel very new to me having to feel feelings, which, which led me to believe that I had been blocking a lot of my feelings out through alcohol and food, but we're just talking about food in this, in this episode. Um So when you rely on food for comfort, it really can stop you developing healthier coping, coping mechanisms for dealing with emotions, stress and difficult situations.

So you, you don't practice, you don't get good at it. You are, you get stressed out and you think of what you're going to have for dinner and you find that a little bit comforting and then you eat it and you find that a little bit comforting and then you stuff your face and you take that big long sigh of calm and release that you get when you, when you, when you get full. So you're relying on food, which is, which is awful because then you're, you're going to start to have problems with your weight and that's going to impact your self esteem. That's another thing.

Comfort eating totally impacts your self esteem and your body images lack of confidence, feeling really bad about yourself. I used to feel like just so uncomfortable a bit like Jekyll and Hyde, like on the one hand, I was really healthy, doing all my stuff. On the other hand, I couldn't handle any emotions and I was eating my emotions. All I wanted to do was have the biggest bowl of pasta and garlic bread when I felt stressed out.

And I did my dinners on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday were enough to feed three people just huge loads of spaghetti, loads of garlic bread, loads of pasta and then just dessert on Fridays and Saturdays afterwards. And then of course lots of stuff during the week. Um And I was just going around and around in circles. I remember waking up on a Monday and thinking, oh, here we fucking go again, closed tight, puffy face, feeling really uncomfortable, feeling stressed out and just wanting to attack myself. I just want just the self loathing and hatred that I felt when I was comfort eating.

It's just horrible, especially when you're, when you're working out and you're doing lots of good stuff and you're not seeing any results and you're, you're looking at yourself in the mirror. I remember so much my face just feeling so puffy because that's the thing when you get older, isn't it? Like you can't hide anything from your body or your face. What you might have gotten away with in your twenties, you certainly don't get away with. Uh once you hit 40 plus your action steps are on your body and your action steps are on your face. So if you're listening to this now and you comfort eat, I want you to know that you can stop comfort eating. And I'm going to share with you five steps that I took to stop comfort eating for good. I want you to know that you can stop comfort eating.

I also want you to know that you have to stick with it and embrace the failures and the setbacks. You're going to be comfort eating your way through to success in the sense that you're going to succeed once you've stopped. But the journey of, of, you know, not having stopped yet is part of the end goal of stopping. So don't give up and stick with it. And I really encourage you if you're listening to this and you do comfort eat. I want to remind you that sometimes and this used to be me when you comfort eat, you get way too detailed with the healthy stuff. You can be really tempted to calorie count. I have seen this umpteen times you can get really tempted to calorie count and you can get really tempted to restrict your food and write a food journal and be really uber vigilant.

However, you're just not being very honest with yourself that it's, it's, it's not the detail of what you're doing. Well, you need to focus on, it's actually this really unhealthy habit, this elephant in the room, this comfort eating habit that you have. And I see it so many times even on programs on the TV, you know, unhealthy, very overweight people or just overweight people and they're so hyper vigilant on the type of oats they have, you know, they would say like, well, I only have organic, I only have a teaspoon of honey. Yes. But you're overweight and that weight is coming from somewhere, you know, or, or on my salads, I Sprinkle seeds and nuts. That's really good. However, you're overweight and that's because you're comfort eating. We need to address the comfort eating, not discuss the detail of the salad.

And I have done that and lived through that and have been so rigid and so detailed and so vigilant on the food that I was doing well and ignoring the times I was comfort eating. If you're comfort eating 5 to 6 times a week, ie there might be like two nights of the week, three nights at the weekend and then like unhealthy stuff during the day twice. That's it. That's going to make you gain weight. It doesn't matter how many salads you eat or how amazing your morning smoothie is. If you're overweight, you're overweight for a reason. So let's just, let's just get really honest and straight here and rip off the Band aid and Band aid and say, why am I overweight?

And that was a very difficult thing for me to do, um, a couple of years ago to look at myself and be honest and say I'm overweight. Why am I overweight? And it was a bit upsetting? But I'm glad I did it. II, I used to be a very fearful person. I used to be very fearful of the truth. I used to kind of deny things to myself and not really want to look at my action steps too much. And comfort eating was something that I kind of brushed under the rug and I made myself feel better by making new recipes that would make me feel healthy.

However, when we're being really straight with ourselves, it's not about feeling better, it's about the facts and that's something I didn't do enough. I didn't deal with the facts. I dealt with the feelings. So when you get real with yourself and if you look at yourself not in a critical way and not being bad on yourself or having coming at it from a negative poor self image place. But by being honest with yourself and asking yourself, am I overweight? And if the answer is yes, asking yourself, why am I overweight, what are the reasons? What are the honest reasons that I'm overweight?

And if it's comfort eating, here's what I did that I hope might work for you too. So number one, become aware of why you're comfort eating really important not to move on to any other steps until you understand why you comfort eat for me. It was stress. I comfort because I was stressed out and I would run away from that feeling and I would run away from feeling the feeling of stress. So any time stress came upon me, I would either go for a really big dinner or I would have like loads of treats or five packets of crisps. I would do that when I was stressed out. So once you know exactly why you comfort eat, you're on to step two.

Ok. So how do I deal with my stress and you insert the emotion that you feel there? Why you comfort eat? How do I deal with it? So how can I fix the actual problem? Not, how can I limit my food? Not, no, it's the stress is causing me to comfort eat. How can I deal with my stress? This is what I did. I changed my life. I started to put up properer work boundaries, work used to infiltrate from the first thing in the morning to last thing at night. I realized that was making me feel very stressed out.

So I changed my work habits and I set boundaries and I got really super strict in work. I started to journal. I started to create a good bedtime routine where I stopped scrolling on my phone. I wound down with a very relaxing chewing gum style fiction book that didn't require me to think and it was bed at half, 10 lights out at 11. I got a good morning routine. I started to get up when the alarm went off, stop snoozing and I got my mindset right? Rather than allow myself to stay in a negative mindset. I used to say today is going to be a great day. Today is gonna be a great day.

I went through a period in my life of subtracting things that stressed me out and getting rid of things that stressed me out, including things like whatsapp and people in my life that I didn't really enjoy so much their company that I used to feel bad and that helped I figured out ways to wind down for me. What makes me wind down? What makes me go down a level after I finished work and I started to sit still however uncomfortable it is. I started just to sit still for five minutes at a time.

So that's step number one, identify why you're comfort eating. Step number two, how do you deal with what's making you comfort eating? Step number three, I got my food in order, I ate very routinely a breakfast, lunch and a dinner with two snacks in between. I had a banana midmorning a bit of protein mid afternoon and I was very, very serious about it. I didn't skip breakfast at the weekends. I didn't eat mad late in the night time. I got really routined. Roughly speaking, roughly the same times that I would eat every day, roughly within an hour. So step number four, in the early phase of giving up comfort eating, getting rid of everything in the house, think of them like triggers and it's only temporarily if pasta and garlic bread, if you like me, get, when you feel very stressed out and you want to turn to carbs.

Don't make it an option. Don't make it an option. The same with sugar crisps, biscuits sweets, desserts. Your brain might come up with excuses now for why you have to have them in your house. I would argue what's more important your neighbor down the road, who you have nothing to offer to. If she arrives at your house, your kids giving out whoever it is. What's more important if you're serious about stopping comfort eating, get them out of the house. If you're making excuses right now as to why you can't, then really seriously ask yourself, do you actually want to stop comfort eating?

You've got to get rid of everything out of the house. There's got to be no temptation in the early days while you can be very, very triggered if pasta and rice and garlic bread are a big comfort thing for you get them out of the house. Remember this is just temporary. This is really good. This means that when you, when you want to start to comfort eat or you ring your husband or you start to make dinner, you can't put on pasta and garlic bread, there's got to be something else. If it's sweet stuff and crisps, you've turned to, I know you could go to the shops, but at least there's a bit more of an obstacle of you having to get in the car and go and get them. Step number five, learn self care. So, what is self care?

So, for me, self care was learning how to speak kindly and compassionate to myself and not being the absolute awful horrible, nasty person that I have been to myself. I started to get really real with that and not just go. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And tune out when I would hear somebody talk about self-care, but actually take on board, the advice of people ahead of me were giving me, which was to actually start talking to myself in a kind and compassionate way in a self soothing way. The way a mother would to a child or a best friend would just, it's ok. It's all right. Calm down, wind down, it's ok. And then I learned what I liked what made me feel good and I realized I love wearing really nice new clean snuggle wear. So not pajamas, not outside clothes, just the really nice stuff you can throw on after a long days of work and still feel really nice while you walk around the house. I got some lovely moisturizer.

I made my wardrobe very capsule. I got rid of all patterns and stripes and color, not colors, patterns and stripes. And I just got into really lovely simple clothes that made me feel really relaxed. Lots of blazers, lots of plain tops. Lots of really nice, simple trousers, a nice pair of boots, a nice pair of shoes. Oh, it just feels lovely. Even thinking about it. Now, I got rid of so many clothes and just keep a capsule wardrobe. Now, I realized that I love baths. I love showers. I love candles. I love to sit in the garden. I like to read a good fiction book and go for a walk. So I started to implement little self care habits into my life. And then when I felt very stressed out, I would plan that day and work.

Oh, tonight, I'm going to have a bath tonight. I'm going to go home and light a candle and read a good book. I would talk to myself like this tonight. I'm going to go home, have a shower and put my really lovely snuggle wear on. And if you start to follow these steps, you're going to get there too. Number one, figure out why you're comfort eating. Number two, sort out the reason why you're comfort eating. So if it's stress or frustration or anxiety or worry, take action on reducing that feeling, get comfortable with feeling bad feelings and say to yourself it's ok.

This feeling is coming up and it's ok. Step three, get your food in order so that you're not extra hungry or you're not leaving long gaps between meals. Have a breakfast, a lunch and a dinner and two small snacks in between. Step four, get rid of everything in the house that triggers you that when you want to comfort eat, you're going, you don't have it in the house. Step five, learn self care, focus on what makes you feel good. And if you don't know what that is, if you haven't really loved yourself very much up to this point or taking care of yourself, then treat it like a new thing, you know, like I went to Brown Thomas for the first time there last year and bought um some Charlotte Tilbury Moisturizer or Foundation.

And uh it was a whole new experience and it was amazing. You know, some of you listening, you just haven't yet experienced self-care. Really. You may have been like slapping on anything, throwing on anything, throwing your clothes back and just putting yourself not really spending time on yourself. And when you don't spend much time on yourself, that can be a big reason why you might turn to food for comfort because you're not really feeling it anywhere else. You're not smelling the lovely smell of your moisturizer. You're not feeling lovely in the clothes you've carefully picked out whether that's your snuggle wear or your clothes for work.

So you're not feeling those feelings, those lovely feelings anywhere away from food. I promise you if you stick with this and you start to allow yourself to feel feelings, I promise you you're going to get exactly where you want to be just give it time and remember that if you comfort eat, it's ok. You get up the next day, you dust yourself off and you go at it again. And what you'll notice is you'll just start to comfort, eat less and less and less over time, you know. And remember it's not all or nothing, it's not about perfectionist. It's just comfort eating less over time. I hope you enjoyed this episode. Um, thank you so much for listening to my 1/100 episode. If this episode resonated with you, I would love for you to share it with a friend. And if you would so kindly do so, please leave a review.


  • Hello! I have just found your information and am soaking it all in. I guess I have had an epiphany that my post 40 weight gain IS comfort eating/stress eating. I am catching myself in the middle of stuffing my face and realizing that I am not eating for hunger’s sake. My question is now what? What do I do to stop- is there a phrase or an action I can do instead of eating out of comfort? It is challenging because of kids and their snacks and treats too. Any advice? I feel like I know why am I doing the unnecessary eating but how can I fix it this in the moment of compulsion/impulsion? I understand the meal planning and self care, but what do I do when I am face to face with chocolate chip cookies that I know I cannot eat just one and walk away? Or portion control at meal time? Looking forward to your insight! Thank you!

    • Hi Jennifer, for myself personally, I always find it helps to not have anything in the house and plan my treats. Same for the kids. So we all have treat nights on the same evenings. That helps so much. Reducing stress is also really key here. Winding down by sitting for 10 minutes doing nothing. Also reading, having a cup of tea, things that wind you down. I find it very difficult if there is treats in the house as there are days I get so tired that it is very difficult to say no. I really encourage you to rope the whole family in and talk about treat nights.

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