52 Ways To Comfort Yourself Without Eating

19 October 2016 | Written by Xenia Ayiotis

Filed Under: Overeating

How often have you found yourself at the bottom of a packet of Doritos or a jar of Nutella at the end of hectic day?

Comfort eating is an automatic behaviour for many of us. Studies show that eating when we are feeling emotional releases dopamine – a “feel good” chemical in the brain. As human beings, we are wired to avoid any form of pain (whether it be physical or emotional) and to seek pleasure. This pleasure can be in the form of many things: shopping, alcohol, drugs, sex, Facebook. For many of us the easiest way to soothe ourselves is through food because it is so readily accessible.

When working with clients, I look at the kinds of situations that trigger us to overeat and we look at alternatives to eating. Of course, sometimes the only thing we want to do is eat and that’s perfectly okay – just do it mindfully. Emotional eating does not need to be emotional OVEReating. Read more about how to eat emotionally in a mindful way, here.

Together, with my clients, we have created a list of things that we can do instead of eat. So if you choose not to eat when you are feeling bad, here is a list to choose from!

  1. Call a friend who will listen
  2. Play with your dog or pet
  3. Find a soothing object – soft jersey, blankie
  4. Vent in a journal or vent to the chair
  5. Do a Mindfulness Body Scan
  6. Do a meditation
  7. Breathe …. take 5 deep breaths in, hold for 5 and breathe out slowly for 10 (watch this video)
    … or do square breathing (watch this video)
  8. Go for a walk
  9. Go into the garden
  10. Create a playlist or listen to music
  11. Do a puzzle
  12. Play cards or solitaire
  13. Create a vision board
  14. Connect virtually with others in support groups
  15. Play with worry beads
  16. Plan a holiday
  17. Plan a party
  18. Do some gardening or plant a herb garden
  19. Watch some TED talks
  20. Do a free online course
  21. Do embroidery , suddoko, a crossword, knit, sew
  22. Doodle
  23. Paint or sketch
  24. Squeeze bubble wrap – one of my favourites!
  25. Soak in the bath with Epsom salts and candles – cheesy, I know, but it works!
  26. Do 3 yoga poses
  27. Make yourself a cup of herbal tea
  28. Make a gratitude list or write a list of what is NOT wrong
  29. Check out Pinterest
  30. Clean out cupboards, drawers
  31. Netflix….
  32. Dance like nobody’s watching
  33. Scrapbook
  34. Organise your old photos or create a photo album
  35. Read a magazine
  36. Breathe again…..
  37. Rearrange a room
  38. Organise your books
  39. Write a handwritten letter
  40. Bake or cook something and give it to the homeless
  41. Next time you are at a toy shop buy bubbles and blow bubbles – another favourite of mine!
  42. Google an interesting topic
  43. Go into nature
  44. Get a mindfulness colouring-in book
  45. Visit a nursery
  46. Go to the movies
  47. Change into comfy, soft clothes and curl under a blanket
  48. Listen to a podcast or the radio
  49. Switch off all the lights and light candles
  50. Go look at the stars or the clouds
  51. Think of past happy moments
  52. Plan a career change

If none of these activities appeal to you and you choose not to eat, then the solution is to actually feel the emotion. The reason we eat emotionally is to escape and distract ourselves from the difficult emotion.

I’ll talk more on how to do this in my next blog…

Are you ready to end the struggle with food and explore Mindful and Intuitive Eating? Do you want to feel free and at peace around food? Join my ‘Make Peace with Food’ Workshop on Saturday 21 July 2018 in Jo'burg or book a FREE 45 minute Introductory Session with me. You can also start learning about Mindful and Intuitive Eating by signing up for my email series - 30 Days of Mindful Moments.

Leave a Comment

“The banquet is in the first bite...”

- Unknown -

“Seldom is the last of anything better than the first...”

- Irish Proverb -

“If hunger is not the problem, food is not the solution.”

- Brooke Castillo -

“Someday society will doubt the wisdom of dieting rather than the willpower of dieters...”

- Unknown -

“In eating, a third of the stomach should be filled with food, a third with drink and the rest left empty...”

- Unknown -

“If you are invested in security and certainty, you are on the wrong planet...”

- Pema Chodron -

“The only journey is the one within...”

- Rainer Maria Rilke -

“Right in the difficult must we have our joys, our happiness, our dreams: there against the depth of this background, they stand out. There for the first time, we see how beautiful they are.”

- Rainer Maria Rilke -

“Wellness isn't about deprivation and it's not about perfection. It is about pointing yourself in the direction of growth, training yourself to get comfortable with your highest potential and then taking small steps to support that shift. It is about showing up for yourself day by day and then one day finding that you have undergone a transformation.”

- Kathy Freston -

Certified by The Life Coach School Certified Weight Loss Coach Certified Life Coach Certified and Trained by The Original Intuitive Eating Pro