I'm a massive comfort eater. I am not naturally in shape and nor do I find eating a varied and healthy diet that easy! That's why I know how hard it can be and can empathise and work to combat some of the pitfalls of eating and training that we all fall into because I deal with it daily! Stress is one of my biggest downfalls for triggering comfort eating so, here's what I do to combat the stress related eating.
The Stress Free Diet
I realised something yesterday. I don't really spend a lot of time or effort making healthy food choices. But I do spend a lot of time reducing stress, keeping things simple and avoiding particularly stressful situations where possible. And that's because I comfort eat. When I am happy, 'sane', busy (but not too busy) and doing what I love - I eat well. I don't think about what I'm going to eat and I don't feel like I am 'forcing' myself to eat well. Because I am not fighting any negative forces which are driving me to eat! However, when I'm stressed all I want is junk food. Now the emotional part of my brain is stressed out (from the stress) and stressed out from trying to force myself away from food. After not too long, those defenses are going to get really tired, really quickly, and I am going to be unable to stop myself eating junk food.
Let's look at it this way. The emotional part of your brain is like an elephant with a rider. The rider is the rational part of your brain. When there is no stress, no temptation, no problems, the rider and the elephant are free to walk along the path towards their destination is happiness. However, when something scares the elephant, or stresses the elephant, the rider must hold the reigns to keep him on the path. When there is tempting elephant food to either side of the path, once again, the rider must control the elephant to keep it moving forward. Combine these two things and suddenly the rider is not only tired from holding the elephant in check against stress and fear and all sorts of other emotions, he's also holding the elephant in check against tempting food. Eventually the rider will get tired and the elephant will run off, with a helpless rider on top, and will eat lots of tasty junk food.
However, take away the stress and fear and the rider is going to have a lot more energy to guide the elephant towards the healthy choices and away from the junk food! Throw both at the rider and he's going to stand no chance. So try focusing more on reducing stress and giving your calm and in control brain a fighting chance of making the right choice.
That's how I approach all of my training and food with clients and myself. Making things simple, easy to follow and so much more effective. You should try it.