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Comfort eating is about the relationship between food and emotion.

Ellen Anker-Nilssen is a psychiatric nurse and has been working on consolation for more than ten years. She established Food & Feelings in 1998 and released in 2003 the book “When food becomes an obsession”.



– When you eat without being hungry, it is to eat away the sensual feelings. The dinner will be a flight from the wounded. It’s the same thing that happens when you drink or take pills to forget about it. The difference is that you devote yourself to eating, and with weight gain, you feel insane and get less energy to work out. You get into a bad spiral, “explains Anker-Nilssen.

She thinks this is a distinguished female problem, although she also knows boys who struggle with consolation.

Eternal Slimming

– Often, the result is that you feel “usexy” or “ugly” and thus enter the slimming spiral, as the slurry breaks and you end up with an eternal fight against the kilos, “she says..

The result can be jojo slimming, a walk between dieting methods and slim preparations, such as the Beck method, diet pills, and maybe even “virtual slimming”.

Do not waste the problems

Anker-Nilssen recommends talking to someone about the problems, rather than eating them away.

– The best thing is to know their feelings, to know why they are angry, sad or depleted, and put it into words. It’s hard without anyone talking to and can be harder with the years. The longer you have been involved in compulsive slimming and consolation, the harder it is to get out of it.

Coercion Force

Many of those who come to Ellen Anker-Nilssen for help are slim and do not look like they have eating problems.

– Training is trendy and many like consolers keep the kilos at a distance. It also means that they do not always enjoy exercising, but can make it happen, says Ellen Anker-Nilssen.

Difficult term

Interests for Women with Eating Disorders (IKS) is a self-help organization, and their knowledge has been gathered through 23 years of contact with women with eating disorder.

Our experience is that it is important both to find out why the need for food shows up, and to work in concrete with their relationship with food

Director of IKS, Ellen M. Berg Ottesen, finds it difficult to answer questions about comforting.

– What’s really “comforting”?

– Consulsion is not a good term in our view, as there is little comfort in struggling with food, body and weight. I expect that what is put in the word is to eat more than you need to meet other needs than physical nutritional needs, says Berg Ottesen.

Guilt and shame

IKS uses the concept of forced eating and in the diagnosis system the term overeating is used.

– All consolations, if you define it as something extra, something good one day you are particularly tired or think you need something extra for the sake of the sake. There is also nothing wrong with it, most of us do. The problem arises when it’s the only way to give yourself something good, and it also creates guilt and shame as it does for those who have eating disorders, “says Berg Ottesen.

Uses food to control feelings

What IKS has learned is that there are major individual differences in these eating disorders, although much is likewise.

– All types of eating disorders are an attempt to solve emotional conflicts by doing something about food intake and / or body size, believes Ellen M. Berg Ottesen.

Our experience is that the vast majority of people who have a troubled relationship with food have it over time. If it has not overtaken itself in a few months, it is necessary to look into what causes the problem and what to do to solve the challenges behind it, Berg Ottesen suggests.


What it’s like to choose different tools to cope with what’s difficult, she has no clear answer to.

– I do not know if there are any. What we know is that more people have problems both in terms of food and substance abuse, there may be several types of eating disorders, says Ottesen.

Affect stress hormones

According to Fedon. No, research shows that the combination of high fat and healthy carbohydrates like sugar and starch “comforts” by damping the discomfort of stress caused by stress hormones.

In addition, such food increases the serotonin level in the brain, which provides short-term well-being and a better mood.

– This in need of healthy carbohydrates and fat, I do not know anything more than what I’ve heard from women who have contacted us. More people get a lot of craving for certain types of food when they feel the worst, because of this I do not know, says Ellen M. Berg Ottesen.

Women in particular exposed

– Eating disorders can affect everyone, but women between 15 and 35-40 seem particularly vulnerable. Our experience is that it is important both to find out why the need for food shows up, and to work in concrete with their relationship with food. This can be done through self-help, such as we arrange, and through therapy.

Our experience is that it’s important to start talking with someone about how one’s got it, says Berg Ottesen.

Eat something good and healthy

Camilla Andersen is a nutrition physiologist with a master’s degree from the University of Oslo. She is the entrepreneur and general manager of SomeBody.

If you’re not in the group of overpowered or obese, but still want healthy alternatives to foods that provide food or comfort, once upon a time, her advice can be worth listening to.

– You’d like something sweet. Then try something with “empty calories” and a lot of calories, such as candy, ice cream and cakes, says Camilla Andersen.

That's why she comforts her

BLUE BEAR: Sweet and healthy. Try them with kesam. Photo: Illustration photo: Colorbox

Here’s her tips on what to choose from chocolate and cookies:

  • Melon, such as honey melon.
  • Blueberries or raspberries with light vanilla kesam.
  • Enjoy your favorites of fruit and berries, even if berries are often very expensive. Perhaps it’s a comfort in spending something that you do not otherwise do.
  • Dried apricot and almonds, but no more than a nuts of a day – nuts contain a lot of calories. Dried apricot is sweet and good, and provides fiber.
  • Do not have candy and other sweets you know you’re going to lose control and comfort, and just want to give you a guilty conscience afterwards.
  • Be sure to eat regular, sweating meals (protein and fiber make you soaked), which means you do not have much space in your stomach to comfort.

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