Self-Soothing with Food is a Short-Term Fix

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This week, Holly’s best friend moved away. She has a husband and a couple teenage children, but she feels sad and empty because she misses her best friend who lived down the street. Holly and her friend took long walks around the neighborhood several evenings a week. An hour would go by, and they would talk the entire time.

As Holly is leaving work the night after her friend moved, she is emotionally drained and looking forward to spending time on the couch with a bag of chips. Just the thought of sitting on the couch mindlessly eating chips brings some comfort.

Holly was 30 pounds overweight when she and her friend met. Many of their early discussions were about ways to conquer their mutual problem of overeating at night. Neither of them had been able to win this battle until they started spending time together. They had both been a little lonely, and food gave them something to look forward to. They were both ashamed of their bodies, and, ironically, food soothed those feelings – at least until they tried to button their pants or get on the scale. Tight pants and a higher weight told Holly she was a bad person. She knew this wasn’t true, but that’s what her heart believed.

When Holly and her friend met, they began filling their evening free time with long walks. Long walks and a close friendship gave them exercise and also filled up their empty hearts. They both lost the need to self-soothe themselves by overeating. Weight loss was a nice side effect of friendship and exercise.

Tonight, as Holly realizes why she wants a bag of chips, she becomes aware that starting this habit of overeating to self-soothe again is a bad idea. Eating chips when she is not hungry will only help her feel better for a short time, and she will feel worse in the long run.

Instead of trying to comfort herself by overeating, she decides to ask another neighbor who recently moved in if she wants to join her for a walk.

If you struggling with your relationship with food consider visiting our Colorado Springs Nutritionist. She understands there is more to your relationship with food than what is on the surface. Whole Balance Health has combined the fields of nutrition and psychology to create a program dedicated to empowering women, and developing the relationship with food you always wanted. Whole Balance Health provides nutrition and counseling services if you are interested in further exploring these options.

Author: Cathy Durst, MA, LPC

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