It’s easy to turn to food when we feel down: it doesn’t judge us, it’s much cheaper than therapy and it’s always readily available. Over time, however, those rich and filling comfort food favorites can take a serious toll on your health. Here are some tips to help reduce and replace any comfort eating habits.

Rank Your Physical Hunger

When the pantry calls, check in with your body to confirm it’s your digestive system’s need for fuel that’s carrying you to the kitchen. Try ranking your hunger on a scale of 0-10 with “0” being “starving” and “10” being stuffed. Any craving that comes when you’re higher than a 5 on the hunger scale should be treated with comfort-eating suspicion.


Learn Your Emotional Triggers

Keep a “snack journal” to record when you eat, what you eat, how you felt just before eating and any events that led to you snacking outside of your routine mealtimes. Over time, you’ll likely start to notice patterns in the latter two categories that triggered your trip to the fridge. Armed with that understanding, you can take measures to avoid those emotional triggers.


Find Healthier Ways to Self-Care

Comfort eating stems from a desire to escape what’s getting you down, so look into healthier forms of taking your mind off how you feel. Exercise is a great way to flood your body with positive endorphins and a solid replacement for comfort eating. Other stimulating activities like reading a good book or learning something new can also help fill the void–instead of filling your tummy.

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