Comfort Eating

August 29, 2007 § Leave a comment

NLP and Comfort Eating in Glasgow.


Why do people comfort eat? Well, to get a handle on that, you need to understand a bit about the unconscious mind.  Your conscious mind can handle about seven plus or minus two bits of information at any one time. Think how many digits of a phone number you can remember when someone shouts them out and at what point your brain just gives up and they all merge into one.


In NLP or Neuro Linguistic Programming we say that the unconscious mind on the other hand is dealing with so much more which includes everything coming at you from your senses, your breathing, blinking, moving your muscles and the rest. The figures vary between 4 to 11 million bits of information at any one time. To think we are conscious beings is to be very wide of the mark. The psychology establishment  are now coming round to the idea that we are mostly unconscious beings who work on instinct and react to the world around them in similar ways to other animals.


So the analogy which is often used is that the conscious mind is like the captain of a ship and the unconscious mind is like the crew. Imagine that the crew are seven years old  and we are getting even closer.  Now each member of the crew and each part of your unconscious mind has your best interests at heart.  So if its given a job it will do it to the best of its ability.  Say for instance as a child, when something bad happened a parent would cheer you up by giving you some chocolate.  If this happened a number of times, a part of you would associate cheering up with chocolate. As you grew up and things went wrong that part would step right up and offer its solution. The more often this happened the more anchored that would become to that idea.


Now if you go through a period of unhappiness then that part  would be constantly there offering food as a comfort i.e. you would comfort eat.. What its not very good at is seeing  the bigger picture which is that comfort eating and getting fatter is another source of unhappiness. If you are not being comforted in your life and it provides however fleeting a feeling of comfort, then its going to be difficult to persuade that part to stop what its doing. To stop it from comfort eating.


So what do you do? Well firstly you need to change your thinking. Look at your life and pay special attention to the areas where you are being comforted. If you are unhappy, the chances are that your internal filters are set to ignore the good parts of your life and see only the negative. You need to change that behaviour. Negative thoughts should be banned from your thinking. The minute they come at you actively think of something you enjoy or are grateful for. Really take charge of your thoughts. It requires discipline at first but gets easier and conditioned with time. Think about the things which do comfort you and concentrate on them. Make them bigger and brighter. Talk to yourself as you would to a seven year old child who you wanted to motivate. Get them to focus on anything good which happens. This will change your brain chemistry to produce more ‘happy’ chemicals and you will start to feel better. Its similar to getting fit; going to the gym can be difficult to start but if you keep going you start to see the benefits and it becomes a habit.  Take charge of your thinking and it too becomes habitual.


Once you prove to the part which provides comfort in the form of food that actually you are comforted in so many other ways that it is a bit redundant, you can more easily persuade it to stop what it does – to stop you comfort eating.


Try it for two weeks and see what happens. Tell your unconscious mind that you’re not doing negative thoughts for a fortnight and that if it wants it can start it up again then. The chances are that when it sees how much better you feel, it won’t bother.



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