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Why does food help us feel better?

We all need food to support our body – calcium for bones and teeth, vitamins, trace minerals, etc, to help us heal, grow, have energy and live.  What we don’t need is food to bring us comfort when we feel down, upset or low – really, we don’t! J 

If you think about it, it’s natural to find food comforting.  When you were a baby, you may have been breast-fed by your mother.  From our earliest memories, we associate food with comfort and security.  As you were growing up you were probably encouraged to eat everything on your plate to grow strong and healthy.

In some families sweets and cakes and chocolate are ‘treats’ and become associated with feeling good and happy.  In other families food, particularly sweet things, are provided when someone has hurt themselves.  Did you ever fall over and were comforted by being given a sweet or chocolate? 

Biologically food helps us feel good.  It triggers signals and responses in our brains which release ‘feel-good’ chemicals.  Chocolate has been shown to be particularly good at doing this, which is why we enjoy it. 

From birth to death, food is associated with important social events in our lives – naming ceremonies, weddings, birthdays, festivals and funerals. It is also part of socialising with friends.  What can be nicer than enjoying a meal with friends, either at home or in a good restaurant?

Food is important for life - but there are other ways for you to manage your emotions.

You eat emotionally because you feel some form of discomfort either about the past, present or future. In that moment, you think those feelings are so bad that you can’t stand them therefore you must get rid of them immediately so you eat.

Unfortunately, that then adds to your weight. You then feel unhappy about your weight, guilty about comfort eating and, because you feel bad, you eat more.  A vicious, self-defeating cycle.

What does the Emotional Eater Programme cover?

Through the ‘emotional eater’ programme you’ll:

  • explore your relationship with food
  • learn what it is that triggers your comfort eating
  • discover the underlying unhealthy beliefs you hold
  • challenge and change those unhealthy negative beliefs
  • identify and learn new more helpful and healthier beliefs
  • practice holding and believing the new, healthier beliefs
  • put into action new behaviours and ways of talking to yourself
  • feel different about yourself