Shaping Up: Three tips to avoid comfort eating

Ice cream is a common comfort food.

Ice cream is a common comfort food.

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Last week I had a phone call from one of my boot camp members seeking some advice.

Paul explained that he was finding it hard to stay motivated over the last couple of weeks and that he had hit a plateau with his weight loss.

It all stemmed from a cold that he picked up a few weeks ago. It meant he was unable to work out at full intensity.

He actually missed a couple of workouts because he did not want to make it any worse.

Previous to this, Paul was absolutely flying.

He had lost over a stone in weight and a load of inches, but because of this little setback his weight-loss slowed down a little, and he felt as though he was letting himself down.

He felt sorry for himself, and his natural reaction was to raid the fridge for comfort food.

We have all been there at some stage. You know, when you have had a bad day at work and all you want to do is go home, order a takeaway and drink a bottle of wine to relax and make yourself feel better.

The danger is if this ‘comfort eating’ spirals out of control.

When a comfort meal turns into a full day’s binge eating, then that continues into the next day, before you know it you have been off the rails for a full week, and it can be very hard to get back on track.

So, how can you avoid comfort eating?

1. Realise that you are never in full control

Fitness is just like many things in life - sometimes outside factors turn up unexpectedly and knock us off track.

At some point, you are going to come up against road blocks in your journey. Things like injuries and illnesses crop up that are out of our control.

However, the road blocks are normally temporary and will disappear very quickly.

So when they do present themselves, make sure you stay strong mentally, work hard and before you know it you will be back in full control.

2. Avoid having comfort food in the house

This one is simple. Clear your cupboards of all comfort foods. Things that are high in sugar like chocolate, biscuits, ice cream, bread and alcohol need to go because they are the things that you will reach for first.

If they are not in the house you are less likely to go off the rails.

3. Workout

If you find yourself comfort eating, it is because it makes you feel good for a few minutes while you are eating it.

But exercise does exactly the same thing. When you exercise your body releases feelgood hormones called endorphins.

It does not have to take long, just a quick 20-minute workout is all that it takes. Trust me, it will make you feel better.

Have you ever regretted doing a workout? I bet you haven’t, because you always feel good once it is done.

YOUR TRAINER: Graham Low, owner of East Coast Fitness, is an award-winning personal trainer based in Seaham.

The ex-professional footballer was nominated for the Small Business of the Year and Leisure Awards at the Sunderland Echo Portfolio Awards last year.

Graham won the Leisure Award at the North East Hotels Association Awards while working as gym manager at Seaham Hall in 2012.

For personal training, boot camps, small group training and online programmes email graham@eastcoast-fitness.com or visit www.eastcoast-fitness.com