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Andrea Bayles Nutritional Therapist
ND, Dip Nutr, Dip Herb, MBANT, MURHP, MCNHC

Beating your comfort eating qualms

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For this week's blog we'll be looking at comfort food, I want you to ask yourself these three questions;


  1. Do you eat more when you are feeling stressed? 
  2. Do you eat when you are not hungry or even when you are full? 
  3. Do you eat to feel better, to calm things down when you feel mad, sad, bored, anxious?


If your answered yes, then the chances are you are an emotional eater. Emotions and stress are governed by our hormones. We release cortisol and adrenaline at times of stress (and stress comes in various forms), and your body’s natural reaction to those hormones is to reach for the carbs or the sugar to boost your energy and give you a lift. 

Real hunger comes on gradually throughout the day – when my clients undertake a nutritional coaching programme with me – we identify very quickly the true feeling of hunger compared to emotional hunger.


Emotional hunger comes on very suddenly and is usually accompanied by out of control cravings for high calorie, high carbohydrate foods and will not be satisfied with anything else. 

Here are my 5 tips to overcoming comfort eating;

  1. Identify what triggers your eating

    Keep a food journal to note down the triggers or your habits. You may see a pattern emerging. It could be the kids when you get home from work and you are tired, it could be work stress, it could be the pile of ironing that seems to be never ending. Whatever it is, know how to identify it because knowing the cause of the problem is the first step to fixing it. 
  2. Once you have identified the cause, you then need to identify something you can do to replace the emotional eating. 

    Because this is your coping mechanism, you can’t expect to take it away and not put anything in its place. So, my personal replacement is to grab my jacket and get out of the building and go for a walk – even for a quick 10 minutes. For you, it may be doing a crossword, sports, relaxing in a hot bath, yoga, meditation, even drinking a glass of water changes the brains reaction. 
  3. Before you think ‘stuff it’ and give in to the craving allow yourself 10 minutes to identify the source of the craving.

    By giving yourself some time before the craving has got you, will give you the opportunity to make a more informed decision – hopefully a different one to giving in!
  4. Don’t keep any comfort foods in the house, in your desk or in your car.

    If it’s there, then it is easy to give in to your craving. If there is nothing there then at least, by giving yourself time to consider the craving means that you are more able to resist. 
  5. Finally, learn to accept your feelings and emotions.

    Allow yourself to feel them instead of suppressing them – after all they are there for a reason and may be telling you other things. When you learn to work through them, you stand a much higher chance of stopping the vicious cycle of emotional eating. 


Guidance and support is such an important part of learning the way forward to improving your health and wellbeing. Nutritional Health Coaching can change your way of life, your health and your energy – it can identify food triggers, helping you to overcome emotional eating.  

Natural Solutions provides bespoke nutritional health coaching to provide you with individual nutrition plans that enable you to have your own food prescription – Metabolic Balance is a health programme that will balance metabolism, hormones and reduce inflammation whilst shifting fat and gaining energy. 

Click here to book a free 15 minute consultation to find out how we can help you achieve your goals. 

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