I've turned to food for comfort for as long as I can remember...
I used it to feel better when sad or anxious; I celebrated with it when things were going well, on high days and holidays; I distracted myself with it when bored or lonely.
Especially cakes, biscuits, chocolates; all the things I ate as a child and associated with feeling safe and full and loved. Blow-outs with this kind of food briefly numbed the em0tion I was trying to avoid (even happiness threw me off balance) and was inevitably followed by guilt, shame, self-disgust and promises to myself that I wouldn't do that again.
And to counteract the calorie intake, I dieted; eventually reaching my target via a brutal regime of interval training and restricted eating. And for the period of time I maintained that weight, I have never been so unhappy. Stressed with the obsessive monitoring, isolated because meals out with friends were impossible (they might want dessert and if I have it, I'll never stop eating), completely focused on denying myself any pleasure - in life, not just in eating.
It couldn't last. My body recognised a macronutrient and pleasure famine and took subversive action. My willpower collapsed in the face of work stress and soon I was raiding the vending machines throughout the day, stopping at the garage on the way to my car and again at the supermarket before I reached the house. The wrappers were disposed of before I walked in the door and, even though I was beyond stuffed, I'd have my normal evening meal so that no-one would know I'd been on a binge.
The self-hatred grew, along with my waistline, until, one magic day, I read a blog on healing your relationship with food. And my world tilted; I sensed the possibility of freedom from self-destructive patterns of behaviour and the nagging voice in my head.
I did a course in Eating Psychology and...I was right. It is possible to change your relationship with food and to start liking (dare I even say, loving) yourself as you are. And the more you practice the better it gets; which is great because we get at least 3 opportunities to do just that every single day!
Your relationship with food is a pretty good yardstick for your relationship with life. As well as being a physiological need, it's a symbolic substitute for many of our psychological needs. We absorb comfort, companionship, love along with actual nutrients; we self-medicate in the best way we know how.
Finding the reasons why you use food the way you do is the doorway to freedom and magic. It was for me; it can be for you too.