Eight Strategies for Keeping Your Comfort Food

Comfort food. It comes in many guises.

Sweet. Salty. Cheesy. Chocolaty. Carbs. 
Sometimes comfort food is seasonal, and sometimes not. Comfort foods can come with a steep personal price tag.  
It is important to identify why you want comfort food when you crave it. Comfort foods are usually associated with positive memories. Oftentimes you eat comfort foods to reconnect with those pleasant feelings to counteract other emotions like stress, anger, boredom, emptiness, depression, childhood habits, social influences, rejection, isolation, or facing a difficult decision.

Your comfort foods aren’t inherently bad, but they often contain ingredients that can become addictive. When your body craves the sugars or salts from your favorite comfort foods, you often fall prey to those cravings and begin a cycle of guilt that can change your associations with your comfort food. This may even lead to a vicious cycle of overeating.
For anyone who struggles with weight management and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, comfort foods become a source of conflict. On the one hand, you need and want those positive associations. However, the nutritional values of your favorite comfort foods may sabotage your weight management goals. When this happens, and it happens to even the most dedicated among you, it is time to revisit your weight management strategies and lifestyle goals.
1. Identify the scenarios that make you reach for those comfort foods.
2. Find recipes of those comfort foods that can be made at home.
3. Learn simple, healthy substitutions in those favorite dishes.
4. Remove the temptations from the house.
5. Change the daily routine to avoid the shopping when the cravings flare up.
6. Order alternatives, healthy versions, and/or half-portions at your favorite caf├ęs and restaurants.
7. Lean on friends and family to help create a supportive environment that promotes healthy choices for everyone so much so that it becomes the norm.
8. Create new positive associations with your favorite comfort foods.

Your favorite comfort foods play an important role in your emotional well being. As you make healthy lifestyle changes such as exercise and weight management, your comfort foods can continue to be a source of pleasure. Contact the weight management specialists at your local Metabolic Medical Center for guidance in adapting your comfort foods into your weight management strategies.

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