When my dad died I remember people kept bringing food – so much food.

It was only when I gobbled down my third corned beef and mustard bread roll (I know, I know – but it was delicious) that I realised I was not going to be one of those people that goes off food in times of despair and stress.

When the chips are down, it is to chips I seem to turn.

Food has certainly been my friend in the past five years as I have navigated through the new world of special needs parenting.

Bad day - biscuit or three.

No sleep – pieces of hot buttery toast.

Child not feeding – some ice cream.

DLA form to fill in - whole chocolate cake.

I know it is not great (and so does my waistline) and I’ll have little bursts of fitness where I’ll begin to feel like my old self. Then a crisis will hit and I’ll hit the crisps.

There is a reason why it is called comfort food after all.

As my little boy gets older and heavier, I want to be healthier and stronger so that I can stick around as long as possible to look after him. This means I need to take better care of myself.

So how to break this unhealthy cycle of reaching for the biscuit tin every time I feel stressed, scared or even bored?

I know it is not going to be easy, but I need to give it a shot for myself and my family.

Here’s what I have learnt so far:

I need to know what my triggers are. For me lack of sleep is my biggest trigger for eating more. Although I can’t control the former, I can try to control the latter by recognising this will be a harder day.

I need to recognise the difference between emotional hunger and physical hunger. And how emotional eating will never leave me feeling satisfied.

Once the cheesecake has gone – the emotion will still be there. But I get to add guilt for stuffing my face to it.

I need to keep only healthy snacks in the house – apparently emotional hunger only wants fatty-type foods.

Keeping a diary of what I have eaten will help. Too often I will mindlessly eat and not know how much I have consumed in a day.

Writing it down shocks me and makes me more aware of what I am putting in my mouth the next day.

Too often I will eat a chocolate bar and then wonder where it has gone as I didn’t even taste it. What a waste.

If I try to control the urge to gorge when it hits by waiting five minutes, hopefully the urge will pass.

I am going to try and walk for a bit each day to clear my head of any built up stress and hopefully increase this exercise routine each day.

I certainly need to slowly change my mind set and realise that I don’t need food to help me cope. That I can manage all my emotions one day at a time without a tasty crutch.

It is time to look around and see there are plenty of ways to get comfort and pleasure. More date nights, spending time with friends, reading a book, a bubble bath or laughing with the children.

Most importantly, I need to start believing that I am worth it. Because I really am.

Things you might like

Check out the Splashy

The portable, lightweight and supportive seat that works for bathing or messy games wherever you go.

Find out more

Other articles you might enjoy...

Special Needs

Priorities change when you have a child with Special Needs

Boy how my priorities have shifted since a certain little girl entered my life. I…

Special Needs

Special Needs Holidays and Travelling: My Top Tips for Holidays and Days Out

These are my top tips for holidays and days out. Before we start, there are two items…

Survey icon

Public Opinion…

How do you find out about new special needs products?