The hell of ‘comfort’ eating

How can something you do for comfort be hell?

My new website Love Yourself Slim launches this month – on Valentine’s Day actually! The day of love — yet this project is about not romantic love but self love. The purpose of this new website is to document my journey from being in a place of lack to being in a place of spiritual abundance and completeness, then sharing my findings along the way.

I know lots of people like me who struggle with their weight. For some it is just post-holiday excess or baby weight – a blip in an otherwise healthy lifestyle. But for others like me, it is a struggle that is much deeper than the level of diet and exercise, and it was this I wanted to highlight, to help myself and others with their emotional eating.

When looking online, I didn’t want to read factual medical analysis about weight loss or tips on how to stop nibbling. Their advice is often along the lines of ‘Ask yourself if this is actual hunger or head hunger!’ – Not helpful in my case. I knew the difference, I was eating when I wasn’t hungry but it didn’t stop me from doing it anyway.

I wanted to read articles of people’s genuine experiences so I could relate. I wanted to feel that I wasn’t alone, that I wasn’t just a freak with no self-control. There was nothing. Of all the resources on the Internet, I couldn’t find a website that I liked the look of – that I could see myself visiting regularly, to find words that would speak to my soul, which was where the real problem was. I wasn’t taking care of my basic needs, looking after myself properly because I hadn’t been taught how. Eating was the only way I knew to show myself love and comfort and give myself a hug.

How it all started

I grew up in a household of grief and pain. My parents had an unhappy marriage from the start, made worse when tragedy hit with the death of my baby sister when I was just a toddler. Losing a child is one of those things that goes against the natural order — parents should go before their children — so a loss like this is incomprehensible. My parents tried to make it work, having another baby (my brother who is 3 years younger than me) but it would prove to no avail.

My brother and I were provided for on a practical level. There was a roof over our heads and we had clothes to wear, but I have no happy memories of the time our parents were together. It was a home tinged with sadness and whilst I know my parents loved us, that kind of environment is confusing and lonely for a child.

Dieting in the family

My mum was always on a diet. Her 9-stone-something body wasn’t good enough in her eyes. My dad would tell her not to gain any weight or he might ‘go off her’, so she would eat very little. Then her hunger would scream so loudly she would binge before resolving to try to ‘be good’ the next day. I grew up watching this.

Eventually when I was 10, my parents split up and the next few years saw an acrimonious divorce with custody battles, courts, social workers, staying at one relative’s house then another, until we finally got a council house. This coincided with the time I entered puberty. My body was changing and I had no control over it. I had no control over anything. But I did have a friend in food. It was always there for me, it made me feel safe. When my belly was full I felt satisfied and cared for.

Unfortunately I didn’t know which foods were healthy and which weren’t. I snacked on crisps and biscuits forming bad habits that would take me the best part of 30 years to shift. I still struggle to this day with a compulsion to reach for sweet food when I am feeling discomfort, although I am getting much better.

These days I recognise and acknowledge my feelings, and I can detach enough to observe the struggle within myself to reach for the sweet stuff. Sometimes I am able to allow the craving to pass over me and sometimes I give in to it but each time at least I know I’m doing it. This is a big improvement on the mindless bingeing I did before.

Screenshot of Love Yourself Slim website

Screenshot of Love Yourself Slim website

What the website means

Creating my new website has been cathartic. Part of healing is to get things out, say what you have kept hidden. Dig up those old beliefs and give them a shake to see if they really still stack up for you today. Much of what drives us as adults is the operating system we installed when we were children. We didn’t install it purposefully, we just accepted things as the ‘way things were’ and ‘normal’ and didn’t question or filter our beliefs before letting them in to take hold. How could we? We were children.

But our core beliefs and values, installed as children are what create our current reality – as 20, 30, 40, 50 year olds and beyond. If you are happy with everything in your life, you are probably living true to your core beliefs and values – that’s great. But if you are not, then some inner work could help you to figure it all out. This is what I have been doing for the last 9 years, since I gave birth to my son. Having the beautiful family myself that I’d always seen in other homes helped me to start to heal. I had my husband, my daughter who came along to teach me about motherhood and my baby son. I finally had a happy family.

#LoveYourselfie

Love Yourself Slim is not actually a website about ‘how to ‘ lose weight. There are no recipes, exercise regimes or diet reviews. Rather is it is a blog about emotional fitness, spirituality, positivity, empowerment, and thoughts around these issues and friendship. Simply put, I don’t ever want anyone to feel alone with the battles that I have faced myself. My hope is that anyone struggling with the hell of emotional eating can find a home on this site.

On Valentine’s Day when I will start actively promoting Love Yourself Slim, I am running a social media campaign to help get the idea out about the point of this website. This campaign is called #LoveYourselfie and you can read more about it here.

I hope that my story has inspired you to take a look at the new website and it would mean the world to me if you can follow the social media accounts. I am always looking to interview people for the website about their inspirational stories of how they helped pull themselves out of body image and eating issues so if you have successfully reclaimed your body and have wisdom to share then do get in touch.

Can you relate to my story and do you have any insights about what you have read? Please share in the comments below.

You can find Love Yourself Slim here:
www.LoveYourselfSlim.co.uk
Twitter.com/LoveYourselfUK
Instagram.com/loveyourselfslim
Facebook.com/LoveYourselfSlimwithNadineHill

Cover image photo credit: Africa Studio, Shutterstock

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About Nadine Hill

Nadine is a busy mum (“Is there any other kind?!”) who writes the award winning family lifestyle blog, JuggleMum and self help blog Love Yourself Slim. Working from home at a portfolio career which also includes being the Editor at BritMums, running a small business and spreading herself all over social media, she has everything under control but still feels like she's hanging on by her Gelish covered fingernails! Self employed for 12 years she's been around the freelancing block a few times, so she created a YouTube playlist called The Businessmum Interviews to have a nosey at how other work-at-home parents are doing it. Watch and see - it's a juggling act for everyone! Immensly grateful to be doing what she loves, Nadine's most important job is 'Mum' to her teen and tween who keep her up to date with Snapchat, Minecraft and how to do 'brows on fleek'. You can find Nadine on Twitter and Instagram as @Businessmum and @JuggleMumBlog.

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15 Responses to The hell of ‘comfort’ eating

  1. Michelle Twin Mum 05 February 2017 at 15:29 #

    Ohh I love this new idea Nadine. How fabulous. I’ll be really happy to come over and support you wen it launches. Mich x

    • Nadine Hill 06 February 2017 at 12:29 #

      Ah thanks so much Mich! This website has been a long time in the making but I’m very proud of it! x

  2. Ness 05 February 2017 at 18:25 #

    This is such a positive step for you. I really hope it helps you and many others as well.

    • Nadine Hill 06 February 2017 at 12:30 #

      Thank you Ness, it really has been positive for me and if it can help anyone else then that will be a blessing.

  3. Susanna Scott 06 February 2017 at 07:56 #

    You are so brave to share your story. Your new site will be a great help and comfort to others x

    • Nadine Hill 06 February 2017 at 12:33 #

      Thank you Susanna, and to you and Jen for lending me your platform to tell my story. Hopefully people in the BritMums community who would benefit most from knowing about my site will find it through this post! x

  4. Otilia 06 February 2017 at 09:06 #

    Its’ hard…I am guilty of comfort eating…I am going to read on the site and maybe I can someday get rid of this ugly habit!

    • Nadine Hill 06 February 2017 at 12:36 #

      It is really hard Otilia, so I hope that you find something that speaks to you on the Love Yourself Slim website. It’s early days yet – I have a few posts on there that I think people will be able to relate to but there is still so much I want to say! Over the coming weeks and months I plan to get more content out to help people who share my struggle. Thanks for commenting. x

  5. Cass Bailey 07 February 2017 at 20:47 #

    I love this ad can’t wait for your new site to fully launch – it’s going to be a great help to people to understand how to make that change xx

  6. Steph Curtis 09 February 2017 at 09:08 #

    Can’t wait to join you on this journey – I also grew up with a mum who was constantly dieting and so I swore I never would… but maybe I just use that as an excuse for not losing weight…. Love your website idea xx

    • Nadine Hill 09 February 2017 at 13:30 #

      Thanks Steph. Food can be such a complex issue for many people – I think this site will help but thank you for your support. x

  7. Honestmum 16 February 2017 at 14:37 #

    Huge congrats Nadine, site looks fabulous and the emotional side leads to the physical, the endless cycle. I wrote about my relationship with food most candidly a few weeks ago and how pcos has affected my life, body and perception of my body. Thank you for sharing your story and creating a platform that will help many, myself included x

    • Nadine Hill 16 February 2017 at 15:00 #

      Ah, thank you for your support Vicki. It has been a long journey to get to the place of being ready to talk about my emotional eating and actually share it online but blogging really helps as I’m sure you have found when talking about your own issues with pcos. I’m proud of the website and the words it contains and have got so many stories planned for the future… Thanks for commenting. x

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Kairos | JuggleMum - 14 February 2017

    […] about this battle, called “The hell of ‘comfort’ eating” and you can read all about it here and I have documented my weight loss journey on the JuggleMum blog in these posts: Weight loss […]

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