“Food is Fuel, Not Comfort!” “Food is Fuel, Not a Reward!” We can say these things to ourselves over and over, but how do we actually put it into action? I hear people say this all the time, but then add the little p.s. “but I really enjoy food!” Our bodies were made to need fuel. We cannot function without fueling our bodies with food. But we are different than cars. We were given a sense of taste, and our fuel comes in many different varieties that we are meant to enjoy. So how do we train ourselves to think of food as fuel while still enjoying it the way we were created to? If you, like many of my clients, still haven’t figured out that you need to seek comfort in other things beside food, maybe now is your chance to start working on it?
Truthfully, it’s all in our heads. We have to make a conscious effort to replace food with something constructive. Instead of rewarding an achievement with dessert, reward yourself with something else that brings you joy – like a manicure, a new movie, or a good book. Maybe you are eating because of a disappointment. The same concept can be applied here. Instead of comforting yourself with a bowl of ice cream or a bread basket, call a good friend or go for a walk to clear your head. Exercise always makes us feel better, and what a great way to “comfort” ourselves while improving our health at the same time!
Most of the issues people struggle with are simply bad habits that need to be turned around. Watch your behavior and pick a destructive habit that you want to turn around. Make a concerted effort to recognize when the bad habit is triggered. Journaling is a great way for you to learn to recognize your triggers. Work on it for a few incidents and replace the bad behavior with something positive! It doesn’t take long to turn those bad habits into constructive ones.