After a long day at work, all you crave is to unwind, relax, and savor your favorite comfort foods.
You look forward to that cozy feeling of slipping into sweats, nestling into the couch, and watching Netflix while eating your favorite snacks.
The problem? You want to lose weight and achieve better health, but you know those habits can’t come with you.
According to most sources, you just need more discipline. You’re told to curb your cravings and resist the urge to seek comfort through food after a stressful day.
Yet, you feel trapped because the stress from work persists, you still seek that release when you get home, you long for comfort, and food seems like the only real source of relief available.
In this episode, I’m sharing strategies for finding comfort in food without compromising your weight loss goals.
→ Why past methods have only increased your cravings for comfort eating
→ How you can reduce your urge to eat for comfort without feeling deprived
→ What healthy comfort looks like with food, where you don’t gain weight in the process
→ The importance of being deliberate with your comfort, rather than reactive
You can, in fact, provide yourself comfort in food without weight gain. This isn’t just a vital aspect of naturally healthy eating; it’s also the path of least resistance to permanent weight loss.
Hello my friend. Welcome back to the podcast this week. So today I’m going to talk about how you can comfort eat without weight gain. And this may seem a bit counterproductive or like they strongly conflict with each other, comfort eating and weight gain. But I really want to offer you a different perspective today in terms of how you can receive comfort from foods you love without overindulging in them where it creates weight gain and you do not achieve your goals with your body.
So here is the struggle that I see the most often is you will seek comfort after a long day. So a long day at work, or maybe it’s a long day of parenting or whatever circumstance that is, and you crave the feeling of comfort when you are finished with your day and you just wanna put on your sweats. You want to snuggle into the couch and watch Netflix while eating your favorite snacks because the foods that you love are a really big part of that comfort.
And the problem with this is that you also want to lose weight and achieve better health. That is a really big desire that you have and you know that these habits with food can’t come with you according to most sources. What you’ll think you need to be doing is to be more discipline. So you’ll think you need to stop eating in ways you shouldn’t, that the foods are the problem, and that you just need to stop responding to your cravings for comfort after a long day.
But you feel stuck because the work stress is still there. You still feel like you need that release when you come home. You want that comfort and food feels like the only true source of comfort available at that moment. So what will happen for a time is you’ll attempt to harness more willpower and disciplines. You’ll create meal plans, attempt to follow the food protocols, but it always ends up going back to the same habits.
And I really wanna offer you a different approach in today’s episode, and this is going to be very similar to the process that my clients go through in my coaching program on your eating habits. So in that program, what we are teaching each client is how to lose weight from that path of least resistance, where they don’t have to constantly harness grit, willpower, and discipline. They can take a more easeful approach. And so how I walk you through this today where you can comfort each without weight gain is very similar to how we teach clients how to lose weight in that program.
Most solutions will tell you in these scenarios to harness more willpower or discipline and to essentially just force yourself to stop comfort eating. So this is the path of highest resistance. Any language or process that tells you you just need to force yourself to take certain actions without giving you any tools to solve for what leads to you. Taking those actions is a red flag because these will be common, very surface level solutions that will not produce a long-term result.
So the foundational solution to something like this is for you to place the focus less on the foods that you’re comfort eating and more on your human desire for comfort when you are experiencing stress. So we want to lean more into the approach where we work to understand your needs as a human rather than to force you and your body to cooperate for the weight loss.
Really something big that I teach in my process is that you and your body can be on the same side. You can work in a collaborative way and a consensual way to the results you want. And this is a really great example of that. When you are having a desire to comfort eat, it’s not about forcing you and your body to cooperate by putting it in its place and using more discipline and willpower. We want to understand your desire for comfort and ask the question first, how can I provide my body what it really is asking for without sacrificing my weight goals?
And that is a much more valuable question. So let’s talk about the process to doing this, the process to comfort eating without weight gain. So first I want you to imagine what your particular scenario is. The example I’m going to use here is someone coming home from a long day at work and they just feel that urge to veg out.
So they want to put on their cozy sweats, they want to sink into the couch, maybe watch some Netflix and just eat the yummy snacks. And this is what they think about throughout the day. They crave this moment and they really just desire that comfort. So with this particular woman that I’m sure so many of us can relate to, what you want to do in this scenario is to first find what is causing your initial stress. So when we want to comfort eat and we are primitively seeking comfort, this is a response to us experiencing emotional stress and to provide your body what it needs.
We first want to see where it’s having emotional stress. And so I want you to imagine in this scenario what’s happening is this woman who comes home from a day at work feeling stressed is wanting that comfort. She is experiencing the emotion of overwhelm with work because the thought she’s having about work is there’s always so much to do her to-do list.
She feels like never ends. She feels like she never has enough time. So consistently the emotional state that her body is in is overwhelm. And I want you to imagine that this person or you up until this point has not addressed this emotional stress that your body is having. So it has gone unchecked. So the very first thing you’re going to do is you’re going to just get curious about what’s causing your initial stress that you’re seeking comfort from.
Think about what is the thought and the feeling that you’re wanting to escape the moment you get home from your day. In this example, it’s the thought I have too much to do at work and the feeling is overwhelm. And so for you, once you have that thought and feeling, I want you to separate what you’re noticing here from your urges for food and for comfort and to just notice the emotional stress.
Notice the discomfort that comes up in your body emotionally when you think these thoughts that are creating the stress. So for this person, she wants to focus on the thought I have too much to do and really notice how that’s creating her emotional discomfort. What this is going to do is it’s actually going to lower your cravings just a bit in the sense that you’ll be able to see, it’s not that you’re overly desiring the food as much as it seems like you are.
What you’re actually desiring is to not experience that discomfort. And what happens when you acknowledge your stress is you’re teaching yourself and your body that it’s safe to acknowledge that discomfort and that it’s not something you actively have to get away from. It’s completely safe and it’s normal. So definitely don’t downplay this initial step where you actually begin acknowledging the stress when you get home from work and what’s actually coming up for you.
So now that you have eyes on this stress, so in our scenario here, she knows she’s thinking, I have too much to do and she’s feeling overwhelmed and she acknowledges that that’s the discomfort she wants comfort from. So then what you wanna do is you wanna normalize the desire for comfort in food. So this is something that is not taught to us a lot. We are taught to believe that if we are having a lot of cravings for yummy foods, that we need to be more disciplined, that we need more willpower.
Some of us will even go so far to believe that we’re a little little addicted to these foods because we’re craving them. None of this is true and these are just thoughts that are meant to shame us for our natural human behaviors. It is a hundred percent natural to seek comfort in food.
This does not mean you’re addicted. This does not mean you don’t have discipline. It is having a human brain. So you want to normalize the experience you’re having where you feel a desire to eat for comfort in that moment. And what’s interesting is most sources will teach you to have more discipline in this moment where you choose to think, I don’t need more comfort. I shouldn’t be eating those foods. I should eat healthier. And what’s interesting is this doesn’t relieve your stress.
Why you’re having a desire for comfort is your body is in a stress state. So you want to choose thoughts in this moment that provide you more stability and more comfort. You do not want to go to the judgmental, shameful thoughts like, I shouldn’t be desiring this food, I should be eating healthier. So when we think about normalizing this desire for comfort that you’re having, you also want to choose thoughts that provide you some comfort in this moment.
So maybe that means when you’ve acknowledged your stress, then you choose thoughts that comfort you in that moment. So some examples of this might be, I have time to rest in this single moment. For now I can just be, this right here is exactly what I should be doing. It is safe for me to take some time for myself. You’re going to have to come up with what individual thought makes sense to you. But really the purpose of this is to have thoughts that create safe, comforting feelings for yourself so you can picture feeling held safe, acceptance, ease.
These are emotions that you can create with your thoughts and you might have to experiment a bit to see what you would need to think for yourself to feel more ease, to feel more safe in these moments. But I want you to just try this on where you acknowledge that initial stress.
You normalize the fact that you’re desiring comfort. You’re like, this is normal. And then you choose thoughts about that whole experience that can provide you emotional comfort. So let’s picture our example here where she acknowledges her stress of I have too much to do. She feels overwhelmed, she normalizes that desire for comfort, and then she chooses the thought It’s safe for me to take a moment to myself right now, and in that moment she feels more safety.
Then once you’ve created that emotional safety, this is actually when you can engage in eating in a way that’s comforting without overeating. So I want you to picture a scenario where the comfort and appreciation you get from foods you eat is separate from the amount of those foods you eat. Because what contributes to weight gain is the amount you eat. It is not the types of foods you’re eating or how much you are enjoying each bite of that food.
Overeating is the only thing that will really sacrifice your weight goals here. So I want you to even think about the possibility of how you can deeply indulge in the pleasure of the foods you find comforting without overeating them. For our clients, this really means they tap into appreciation with each bite of food, with the flavors, with the taste, with the textures. They really learn how to experience their foods.
So I want you to think about what it would look like for you to indulge in the comfort of your eating without overeating. This is a skill you can learn. And then something you can really consider is once you’ve gone through this process, so you’re acknowledging that initial stress, you’re normalizing the desire for comfort and you’re choosing thoughts that create emotional comfort, consider alternative healthy forms of comfort.
You can add in deliberately. So maybe this means you have a a bit of alone time.
You take a hot shower, you wear comfortable clothes as soon as you come home, a period of meditation, whatever that is. Really you want to consider how you can supply yourself with comfort on purpose in a way that doesn’t sacrifice your weight goal. What will happen if you start approaching comfort eating in this way and your desires for comfort is you’re going to provide your self comfort in your life without weight gain. You’re going to harness control over your urges for comfort because you’re not looking to get rid of them and demonize them.
You’re listening to them and working with them. So this is the type of work clients do inside own your eating habits, and it’s why that program is so effective. There is nothing like it because our approach teaches you how to change your eating habits and lose weight in collaboration with your body.
I want you to notice what I mean when I say the path of least resistance with this approach. Notice there’s no fighting or forcing when you approach comfort in this way. There’s just learning, understanding and skill building, which is what makes the results permanent when you create them. You didn’t have to create results in a way that you didn’t want to create them that felt worse in the process. It all feels more useful and better the more you build these skills.
Really, the value of placing focus on this work when it comes to your comfort is you’re going to become someone who is deliberate with your comfort rather than reactive. You’re going to feel in control because you’re going to supply yourself with comfort intentionally. You’re not going to wait for your cravings with food to provide that comfort for you because if you do not prioritize comfort with yourself, with your stress, your cravings are going to do that for you.
They’re going to increase, you’re going to react to them, and this is why so many methods of weight loss aren’t long-term and effective is they’re not teaching you how to lose weight with your body in a consensual way that your body agrees with here to create permanent weight loss, you must be willing to check in with your body and provide it what it needs before your body does that for you in the form of cravings. Another really big outcome of this work that we see and own your eating habits beautifully is that you will naturally increase the level of appreciation and love you have for yourself.
And it’s not in this fluffy way, it’s not surface level. It’s more foundational appreciation and love for yourself and your body in a real foundational way because you are acting as the caregiver to yourself in this area of your life.
This is foundational work and it is effective. So if this has been valuable to you and you see the value in this work, you will love the own your Eating Habits program. So this is where you learn the full process to solving your food and weight struggles for the very last time. It is like getting your PhD in permanent weight loss. So enrollment for our next cohort will be open in January. You can join our wait list to stay informed on enrollment dates and exactly what you’ll need to join us in January.
So you can do katrentas.com/waitlist. I hope this was valuable today. Thanks again for being here and I’ll talk to you next week.
Hey there! I'm Kat Rentas. I’m a certified life and health coach for women who believes that eating healthy should feel simple and sustainable. I teach hundreds of high-performing women to change their eating habits without the overwhelm. Want to change your eating habits in a way that is aligned with your needs, preferences, and goals? You’re in the right place. You can read my full story here.