SAN RAFAEL, CA - OCTOBER 01: Nutritional information is printed on the wrapper of a McDonald's Egg McMuffin October 1, 2008 in San Rafael, California. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed legislation Tuesday that makes California the first state in the U.S. to require chain restaurants to reveal calorie information on standard menu items. The law goes into effect in July 2009. (Photo Illustration by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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We all have foods we like.

Some of us order the exact same thing every time we go to that favorite restaurant. It’s just too good to every venturing into trying another dish.

I have my favorite Italian bistro, burger joint, pasta palace, Chinese place, Pizza delivery and steak house.

While I enjoy this variety they are really not what I would call my “comfort foods.”

What Is A “Comfort Food?”

Remember mom’s homemade mashed potatoes from ones she grew in the garden? Her warm, great smelling Apple Pie? Sandwiches with the crust cut off?

Comfort foods are commonly defined as foods that give us a positive feeling. Usually they are packed with sugar or high in carbs but we associate them with a feeling of well being.

Often times we just need a good sugar high.

Comfort Food and Obesity

Life is hard. You never get out alive.

So when life hits us hard we often turn to things that alter our psyche. Drugs, alcohol, or chips and dip. Chocolate is a big winner in comfort food.

The harder life hits us the more we eat and the bigger we get. Soon habit takes over and our comfort foods become a daily necessity.

A morning doughnut is quicker and easier that peeling fruit of a healthy breakfast.

Breaking The Comfort Food Cycle

Studies say that it takes 21 days of doing the same activity for it to become a habit. Often it takes longer than that to break the habit. You can’t break a smoking habit by going 21 straight days without a cigarette.

As an ex-smoker I can tell you that you will have that desire months after you stop.

Breaking any habit is a one-day at a time function. Go one day without your comfort food, cigarette or after work drink. Take a healthy snack with you to work that you prepared the night before and skip the morning doughnut.

Drink more water; it will help you feel full and satisfied. If you can’t totally give up your comfort food then cut down on the amount. Half a candy bar, half a doughnut, etc.

Some Final Thoughts

Think about your need for comfort food. What’s your trigger? What is it that sends you to the chocolate, ice cream or pastries? What were you feeling when that need arose?

Comfort food is a part of our lives. Unlike a cigarette or drinking habit we can’t stop eating. But we can all control what we eat.

So maybe you can change your comfort food to fruit, or healthy granola, or other healthy snacks.

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