Mutli award-winning nutrition coach and author Nikola Howard is urging people to give carb-loaded lockdown comfort eating the boot.
After surveying members of her 12,000-strong Facebook community Nikola found many were overeating due to boredom and lack of structure.
Of the 161 respondents who answered: “I am comfort eating due to . . .”
• 43% said it was due to not having many things to look forward to, so they are eating food as a treat
• 29% were comfort eating due to being locked down with little to do and felt bored
• 28% said they did not have a plan they could keep to for eating healthily, and were returning to old patterns
Nikola was awarded Nutritional Coach Mentor of the Year this week by Corporate LiveWire Innovation & Excellence Awards 2021
According to Nikola, people comfort-eat for a variety of reasons including anxiety, depression, stress, trauma, and boredom.
While this is sometimes seen as a harmless way to de-stress there can also be a more shameful stigma attached.
Nikola said: “These mixed messages set people up for feelings of needless guilt and shame as well as embedding that food is a ‘treat’ that a person either has to earn with ‘good behaviour’ or use as a comfort if they are feeling bad.”
Humans are hard-wired to enjoy the physical sensation of eating from birth at the safety of a mother’s breast, drinking the combination of sugars and fats contained in breast milk.
Beyond this, children and adults are often rewarded with sweet things for being ‘good’ and something comforting, usually carb-based, when feeling low.
It is this relationship with food that often causes people to falter when trying diets.
Nikola believes a great deal of comfort can come from community support and this led her to create her low carb group.
“We can change the ways we react to certain situations and feelings with the proper support and not eating carb-rich foods.,” she said. “I still have comfort eating episodes, and now they are filled with steak, broccoli and Mushroom and a red wine sauce. “So called comfort food is essentially a learned behaviour and this behaviour can be changed. “I have developed unique methods over the past 20 for my clients and the community. They have been expertly tested and validated and shown excellent results over and over again.”
Nikola’s Facebook group, Low Carb in the UK, is a community offering advice, support and recipes helping people in their lifestyle journey on a low carb diet.
The website https://lowcarbinthe.uk offers a whole range of courses, webinars and articles information and details of her books.