Ep #214: Comfort Food Cravings: Why You Overeat When You're Under the Weather

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T-BOSS TAKE #43: Comfort Food Cravings

Sometimes, when we’re not feeling well, all we want to do is eat.

If you have been on the diet roller coaster, you have probably associated food with comfort.

In today’s episode, I delve into why we turn to food for comfort when we are under the weather and explore strategies to manage these cravings.

In this episode…

≫[2:08] We crave comfort.

≫[3:59] Our brain goes into automatic mode.

≫[5:24] We’ve tied certain foods to getting better.

≫[6:59] Trauma from diet restriction can resurface.

≫[8:02] My take on what to do.

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You are listening to the Weight Loss for Successful Women Podcast with Shannan Christiansen, episode number 214. Welcome to Weight Loss for Successful Women, a podcast for women who are ready to break the diet cycle and end their struggle with weight for good. Here’s your host, fortune 100 executive and certified life coach, Shannan Christiansen. Hello, love. Hello. It is November.

I know, I can’t even believe it. That’s so awesome. Right? I know. I love November. It’s my birthday month and my daughter-in-law’s birthday month and my oldest grandson’s birthday month. I know he’s turning 13. Oh, I know. I’m sad, ladies. I’m so sad. I don’t want him to grow up, although I love him,

so, and I want him to keep growing. But you know, you feel me? You understand if you have children or grandchildren or you’re an aunt, you totally get it. So I love today’s episode because I’ve never done an episode on this. I know of all the episodes, right? And I was thinking about this because we’re going into winter months and it can be kind of flu,

cold, maybe even Covid, I don’t know, right? Whatever it is, right? And allergies maybe, I don’t know. Right? We’re just getting over the fall. And so sometimes we’re not feeling well. All we wanna do is eat. I know, right? Me too. Me too. Right? I do too. And so I just wanted to make this episode because I wanted to talk about it,

right? And then also give you my take on it. So it’s important to understand, I think, first why it happens, right? So why is it that you wanna eat all the things when you’re not feeling good, and so that you can start to see the triggers? Because ultimately, when you have awareness, then you can decide what it is that you want to do,

right? And so, number one, when we’re not feeling well, we crave comfort, right? So if you, you’ve got a cold and your nose and all the things, even though you might not be able to taste it very well, you’re still craving comfort. You want to feel better. So when we want to feel better, a lot of times we equate that feeling better and comfort to food.

So if I eat this food, I’ll feel better. I know we, we just have, we’ve done this over time. A lot of times, especially if like my mother, she would get us special things to eat and drink when we were sick. So, you know, chicken noodle soup or ginger ale or whatever to breads, you know, comfort foods,

right? So when we weren’t feeling well, it was just, you know, one of those things. And so we crave comfort. And so I think that that’s probably the most widely spread reason for most of you that are listening. Again, we’re not feeling well. We wanna feel better. And so our brain is like, oh, you wanna feel better?

Let’s eat right. So then you can start to get a lot of cravings while you’re sick. Number two. Now again, this doesn’t, and I know this to be true for some illnesses, like if you have certain types of flus, last thing you wanna do is eat. So I understand that too. So, but I’m not talking about that.

I’m not talking about when you don’t wanna eat. I’m talking about when you’re not feeling good and you wanna eat all the things. Okay? I understand that sometimes there have been certain illnesses that I’ve had where I’m just like, I can’t, like I don’t wanna eat. Like I kind of have to like, come on Shannan, let’s get some fuel.

And I’m like, Ugh, I don’t want to. So I understand that. But I’m really talking about when you want to eat, when you’re feeling kind of under the weather. So number two, when we’re not feeling well, or our body is fighting off some sort of illness, our brain goes into automatic mode. Because remember, to fight off an illness,

whatever it is, our body has to go in, right? All our cells and all the things our immune system has to like kick up, right? And so when that happens, we go into our automatic brain because our body, it’s, it’s a miracle. It’s, I, I think it’s the most amazing thing. I mean, really we,

and we have one and it’s our body. And so basically it wants to save energy. And so you go into your automatic brain. So if you go into your automatic brain and you’ve been on the diet rollercoaster, yeah, like that, what do you think happens? All the automatic thoughts and things. Oh, we gotta get food. Ooh, this will make us feel better.

Oh, let’s eat this. And again, your thinking brain is quote unquote in hibernation your thinking brain. Because it takes so much energy to use your thinking brain. You’re not using that a lot. You’re mostly in your automatic habits and in your Lizzy brain. And so knowing that that happens when you’re ill or when you’re fighting off disease or illnesses, even if you like get a migraine or you have a headache,

right? Sometimes you don’t wanna eat ’cause you feel a little nauseous, but sometimes you’ll find like, Ugh, I don’t even feel good. And yet your your brain’s like, oh, we need to eat though. That will make us feel better. And so again, just understanding your automatic brain. You’re in that more when you’re under the weather. Number three,

we’ve just tied certain foods to getting better. I mean, if chicken noodle soup, yes. And bread with butter, please. I don’t even like ginger ale and seven up. I would, I would not get it. ’cause my brain knows enough that I don’t like it now. But when I was growing up, it was special, right? A popsicle,

do you want a Popsicle? Right? Like, oh, your throat’s hurting. Let me get you a Popsicle, right? A fudge stickle, right? Like my mom, she was all about getting us the things that we needed, right? The special little things when we weren’t feeling good. And then when we started feeling better, oh, you’re feeling better.

Let me give you a little bit of this. I know you’ve been under the weather, right? And so again, just understanding that we’ve tied certain foods to getting better, even the process of getting better. But then that little reward of like, oh, we’re feeling better. Oh, okay, now I can eat, right? This is for all of you who have not been able to eat,

and then you’re like, oh, I need to eat all of it. I’ve been starved ladies, I have plenty of, you know, suss, what’s the word? I don’t know. I wish this was live chat. Someone would help me in the chat. This is my Transform Boss ladies. I’m like, I don’t know the word. And they’ll put it in the chat for me.

But you know what I’m talking about. I got plenty of it on my body so I can go a few days of eating lighter, I’m just fine. But my brain’s like, you’re starving. You’re starving. So it’s just understanding that we’ve tied certain foods to getting better, right? It’s just awareness. Number four, if you’ve been on diets and you have restricted,

when you are feeling bad, when you’re feeling under the weather, when you’re feeling sick, when you don’t feel good, that trauma can kind of resurface from restriction and can show up because you’re in that automatic brain. So then your brain is like, we’ve gotta eat everything. We’re in survival mode. Holy moly. And it’s this trauma like, oh no,

she’s gonna restrict. We don’t feel good. She’s not eating. You know, we’ve gotta eat everything because we wanna make sure we have enough food so we can survive. And so your brain kind of goes back into this automatic pattern of we’ve gotta eat all the things, we’ve gotta hunker down. We don’t know what’s coming. I mean, this is what your brain does.

And so just understanding, it’s just part of your, I don’t know, your biology, it’s just the part, it’s how we’re wired, it’s how we’re made. I like to just understand that so that when something comes like Shannan, you need to eat. And I can talk back to myself like, am I physically hungry? Like, am I really physically hungry right now?

And is this food gonna make me feel better? I love asking myself that question. Will this make me feel better? A lot of times I’m like, no, it won’t. And then I can make that decision for myself. So here’s my take on what to do. One, get curious on what you’re thinking, even when you’re not feeling well.

I know when you’re not feeling well, you’re gonna wanna go into your automatic brain, be like, Shannan, I know you will, you will. But just ask yourself this simple question, will food solve this? I love to ask this. I know it’s so good. Is food gonna solve this problem? And if the answer is no, then you get to make the decision.

So one simple question. Number two, sometimes you can just allow yourself to eat what you want and then just pay attention to how it feels in your body, right? If you’re doing the eating basics. So I’m thinking of my clients and ladies who’ve been doing this work, you too can just give some grace to yourself, some kindness to yourself. Be like,

yeah, I’m gonna just eat the whatever it is, and then I’ll just check in on myself and just see how it feels and I’ll stop when I’ve had enough. And then number three, notice some, you know, you’ve made this tie that if I eat this, I’m gonna feel better and I’m gonna get comfort. And so I want you to see like,

is that true? When you’re eating the food, are you feeling better? Do you feel better two hours from now? Right? Just ask yourself and just notice. And then you can start to like challenge like, oh yeah, I ate something and it didn’t make me feel better. Or maybe you ate something and it did. And number four, if you’re not feeling good and you eat more than what you want,

just start to notice the thoughts around when I feel better, I will do better. I know those are the trick. I think there’s some of the trickiest thoughts, this thought, I’m gonna do better. You’re doing fine just right now. So you just have to like give yourself some kindness and grace. Like, I don’t feel good. I ate a little more than I wanted.

I don’t wanna make this a big deal. And tomorrow I’m just gonna do what I normally do and I’m gonna make my realistic plan. I’m gonna eat on plan. I’m gonna take the next best action. I’m not gonna make this anything more than what it is. So again, noticing those thoughts around this thought. I tell you when I feel better,

I will do better. You can do better right now. You can take the next best action right now. The last thing I wanna tell you is, as you are not feeling well, and, and I think this is just so important, just give yourself some rest, some water, hydrate yourself. Give yourself lots of sleep. Allow yourself, your body to heal.

Your body is amazing. Give yourself some kindness and some love, some breath, right? I love taking deep breaths. It’s all gonna be okay. That’s what I love to tell myself. It’ll all be okay. I will feel better. I like to tell myself that, you know, maybe there are certain parts of me, right? Especially if you have an illness that is,

you know, continues or it’s something that is an autoimmune disease or you know, something that isn’t going to go away. I love to still tell myself like, it’s okay. I got this. It’s okay. And I think through this work and this thought of allowing kindness and grace for yourself, it’s so powerful because mostly we’re pretty judgmental on ourselves. We’re pretty hard on ourselves.

We tell ourselves that we’re not doing enough, we’re not good enough. We carry a lot of shame. We should be thinner, we should be this, we should be that. And you know, then when we’re feeling under the weather or we have an illness or we’re sick or we’re just not feeling good, we just perpetuate that. And so I just wanna offer you something different.

And that’s just some love and kindness and some, I got this. Yeah. And if you want to learn more about this work and you’re newer to this work and you have not taken my five day reset, it’s just a mini course from the podcast, you can go to jointransformboss.com. You can take it. It’s free. It’s just a way to start to get into this work and learn some of the basics that I teach,

and it really can help you on your journey to losing weight for the very last time. I. Know so good. And if you’re not feeling well, I just wanna say I hope you feel better soon, and I’m sending you all the love. Bye. Hang on. Thank you for listening to this episode of Weight Loss for Successful Women. If you love what you heard today and wanna learn more,

come on over to bflycoaching.com. That’s bflycoaching.com. See you next week.

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