The Comfort Food Circle of Hell

You know what we're talking about.

cookies and milk May 13 food

When you’re stressed, you don't crave celery. That's not news to you. “Stress eaters" are “much more likely to crave high-fat/sweet and rewarding comfort foods” (1).  So when you’ve had a Really Bad Day, it’s reasonable to assume that you may want to do something that will help you feel better, calmer, soothed.  You see the cookies, and they are the solution, or so it seems.  But here's what happens:

The Comfort Food Circle of Hell:

  • You want to feel better.
  • A cookie will help, you think. Just one.
  • You eat a cookie.
  • You want another cookie.
  • You eat another cookie.  And another.
  • You feel better. Calmer. Soothed. Then numb.  Then irritable.
  • You realize what you’ve done and feel disgusted with yourself.
  • You feel like a failure.
  • You want to make yourself feel better.
  • You eat a cookie…

Sound familiar? This cycle is the kind of pattern that ends in both physical and emotional misery. “Eating your feelings” started as a way to comfort and protect yourself, but has now become destructive.   “Comfort foods” are a quick fix that really don’t fix anything.  They leave you feeling worse about yourself, and that’s no comfort. 

That’s the essence of what we're talking about— using food for comfort is a bad idea for one reason: it doesn’t work. There must be a better way. In fact, there is a better way. That's what we'll be talking about in future posts. Please stay with us.


(1) Dallman MF.  Stress-induced obesity and the emotional nervous system.  Trends Endcrinol Metab. 2010.