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Comfort and Compulsive Eating

Suggested session plan

Aims of the session
For the group to
  • Discuss the different meaning of food and the reasons why they eat
  • Consider what comfort eating is, how common it is and why we do it
  • Identify positive ways of dealing with lapses

1. The Different Meanings of Food

Round - "Food makes me feel better when I feel..........."

The giving and receiving of food are linked with feelings and emotions in many complex ways. Food is used to convey many different messages.
Discussion in pairs - think of examples of how food is used to convey messages.
Group Discussion - sharing thoughts.

2. Reasons for eating

Group discussion
  • do you ever eat for reasons other than hunger?
  • what are they?

3. What is comfort eating

Group discussion
  • definition of comfort eating
  • cycle of dieting and comfort eating

It is very common. Recognising why you are doing it (as we have just done) is a very important step. Now you can think of how to deal with it.

Small group discussions - what else can you do in these situations other than eat? Then report back to the main group.

4. Lapses

Group discussion
  • why lapses are inevitable
  • how you should react to them

Discussion in pairs - think of recent lapses that you have had and discuss:-
  • What happened?
  • Why did it happen?
  • What would have been the best way to deal with this situation?

5. The importance of having someone to talk to

At times when you want to turn to food for comfort it often helps to talk about what is happening and how you feel.

6. Group members evaluation

7. What shall we do next week?

Publication date: January 2005
Review date: January 2010
Author: Kate Parkes, Lesley Bloomer, Karen Garvican
Code: WR-23-12-04
Bradford Nutrition and Dietetics Service is located within Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust. Adapted from Women, Food & Health pack, 1992
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