I Seek Comfort through Eating – Whole Lotta Love Linkup

Happy Valentine’s Day!  Today I’m working with a bunch of other bloggers in an attempt to improve website traffic to my little part of the internet.  Gigi at Kludgy Mom is running a fun linkup from February 14 – 28 called Whole Lotta Love where bloggers are resurrecting posts that received little or no action from readers.  I pulled a gem from last Spring.  At the time, I was hosting a weight loss challenge on my blog.  I had this idea that I would actually get motivated to lose 25 pounds if I was competing for a prize.  It ended up being a colossal fail –  for me, personally – but not for the winner who ended up losing something like 30 pounds.  I learned a lot about myself and my habits during that challenge and I’m sharing with you today when it all became crystal clear: I seek comfort through eating.



It started Sunday night when I treated myself to a cookie, or two, with the promise that Monday I would be back on track especially because Tuesday morning was weigh-in day. That kind of late night weakness is usually where every other diet has gone to shit. And that damn promise to myself. I promise I’ll be good tomorrow. I promise I’ll work out harder tomorrow. Does anyone else make these promises?

Yesterday started out like any other Monday morning. But, I was off. Instead of kicking the day off with a smoothie or something that would give me some lasting energy, I opted for a bagel and coffee. First bad choice. I was rushing to get out of the house and trying to corral the 4 year old who always seems to have other plans and wants to battle at the most inappropriate times. The vet appointment we had turned into a two hour shit storm. I was stressed out and livid at the news from the vet (but that’s an entirely different post), irritated that my kid wasn’t cooperating during the appointment, and bothered that the doctor seemed annoyed that I had my child in tow. Deep breaths. On the drive home I secretly wanted my girl to say she wanted Chik Fil A for lunch because I was ready to ditch my “no drive-thru edict” for a crispy chicken sandwich.

And then it hit me…when my life feels out of control I seek comfort through eating. Truth be told, I’ve kind of known this about myself for a long time. But it was crystal clear today.


Did this realization stop me from pigging out when we finally got home? No. I should have just made myself lunch but I ripped open a package of cookies, a chocolate bar, tortilla chips, a Twinkie, and a shit ton of almonds (which are supposed to be reserved for my healthy snacks). All that junk made me feel like crap. And I was still reeling from the vet appointment. I didn’t know what to do with myself or how to manage my emotions. It was such a bizarre day. To top it off, I was feeling extremely guilty which left me in a funk all night.

Do you ever have days like this? How do you manage?


  1. For me, I eat to procrastinate….big writing project? Meh…what’s in the pantry? It took me a long time to identify that, and it’s still hard for me to distract myself.

  2. wow. you just described me. i’m crying. i’ve known/recognized this about myself for awhile too, but….it’s hard to admit it/blog about it. I think maybe you’ve inspired me…thank you for sharing something so deeply personal and profound.


    • wendy nielsen says:

      Thanks, Erin. I feel like I’m barely scratching the surface though. I’m anxious to see if you write something! Thanks for commenting!

  3. I wish I had an answer for you, because I do the same thing – eat out of frustration or boredom. That’s why they call it “comfort” food.

  4. The guilt…ick. My weakness? Steel Cut oats. Total comfort. Kind of like binging on your healthy almond option. I may not gravitate to the sweets, but I can’t just do a tiny portion and I end up feeling gross and bloated.

    This new year I started an on-going list of anything I ate that made me feel crappy for any reason and dashed it with one word descriptions: bloat, guilt, sluggish, comfort, headache, or just tummy ache. Not say it’s a total deterrent, but at least I’ve caught myself on more than one occasion thinking twice about, “Do I really want that __________?” and I’ve gone with the lesser of two evils.

  5. I’m totally a comfort eater….especially when I’m stressed. I kinda just let it happen, it doesn’t last long, but then I don’t eat for a day…since I’m usually sick of seeing food by that point.

  6. I know I’m supposed to comment on a new blogger for this effort but the title spoke to me!

    So many people eat emotionally and even as a Registered Dietitian myself, I have these tendencies as well. Recognizing it is important and almost like we do with children, (if it is an issue that is impinging upon your health), learning redirection can be an avenue for improvement.

    In my opinion, t’s somewhat normal to soothe with food (despite what experts might say) – so much of our social being development revolves around food. If it happens, it happens. There’s always the next meal to make a “fresh” start.

    • wendy nielsen says:

      I hear you but day after day of making a fresh start isn’t getting me anywhere. I may need to call you for some professional help!

  7. Wendy, this is totally me.

    The SECOND I feel stress, I am headed into the pantry to carbo load. When I got laid off in September, quite literally within 3 minutes I was in the kitchen, searching for bread and butter, cookies, whatever.

    Now typically, I don’t completely overdo it, but I definitely indulge a bit. I know it, but I can’t seem to stop it. Melissa’s advice above is very reassuring!!!! 🙂

    • wendy nielsen says:

      I’m glad to know that people who I think are freaking rock stars experience the same kind of emotional moments as I do!

      Love this link up, Gigi!

  8. Okay, umm, yeah! Yes, I seek comfort from food – in two ways. One is when I am stressed. I just mindlessly nosh my way through whatever is going on. Another is when I’m tired. I need comfort foods – carbs!! I need to find a better way to deal (perhaps sleep and exercise?!). Glad to know I am not alone, though.

  9. I’m fighting this right now. I eat my feelings. I eat because I’m sad, frustrated, bored, tired, whatever. And the dumbest part? I eat because I’m too lazy to drink water. So I think I’m hungry but a lot of the time, I’m probably just overly thirsty.

    I have a wedding to attend in a month and a dress a size too small. But every day, it’s “Tomorrow…” I feel ya, girl.

    • wendy nielsen says:

      Tracy – I’m going to Hawaii at the end of March. There ain’t any hiding the cellulite and gut in Hawaii. Ugh!

  10. Hi Wendy! You have nooooooo idea how much I relate. I knew I had to click over as soon as I saw the title. I have managed stress through eating for my entire life. (And I have a 4 yr old and an unruly puppy too).

    Right now I’m not trying to change that particular habit – I’m trying to replace the stress eating with better choices. Just one baby step at a time.

  11. As hard as I try I do the same thing and then feel guilty for the bad choices that I made and vow to not do it again. And then I do it again.
    Why is there such a lack in willpower? I hate it.

  12. Hi Wendy, I found you through the Whole Lotta Love Linkup. What a poignant post, as I certainly know what you are talking about. I’m a health coach and know what I’m supposed to do, but still struggle at times. I recently wrote a series on my blog about my sugar addiction! I think, hope, pray, I’ve put it behind me now! Thanks for sharing your struggles. I think it helps us all to know we are not alone! Have fun in Hawaii!

  13. I wish I didn’t relate to every word of this post. Thank you for sharing so honestly and courageously. You’re not alone. Here’s a kicker: I also want to eat when I’m happy – those happy feelings are almost as painful as the anger, jealousy, sadness, etc.! Perhaps we can get a group rate to a therapist or mindfulness spa? Wonderful post!

  14. I am not a good eater. In fact, when I’m stressed, I do the opposite of you: I shut down and don’t eat. I know this, but I only make vague attempts to change it. I also will go without breakfast and not eat lunch until mid-afternoon. I get lightheaded and nauseous and still I’ll tell myself, oh, I’ll get something at home (and then once there it’ll be stupid shit like ice cream, cookies, a random avocado.) But, what I am similar about in your relationship with food? Liquor. Dun dun dun duuuuuuuuun. Feels good to type that out.

  15. Oh, I do the same thing. Especially when I’m PMSing. Salt, sweets, They are my down fall!

  16. I love this post – so true and basic, easy to ignore the simple things and forget that this happens! It is so important that we remember this is what we do when we’re stressed. I gained 10 pounds when I left my job to take care of my son – lots and lots of comfort food eating. Thank you for talking about this important issue!


  1. […] of raising my boys. Anyway, from this linkup, I have read a few other blogs that you might like. Wendy Nielsen writes a great blog about the struggle we all have of eating under stress or for comfort. […]

  2. […] I Seek Comfort through Eating […]

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