One of the most appealing aspects of using food as a coping mechanism is that it provides immediate gratification, especially at times when everything else (school, work, parenting, etc.) provides delayed gratification. I find, though, that if I eat because I'm stressed, I tend to scarf my food. I'm not satisfied with a Hershey's Kiss---I need half the bag before I feel okay. And that , of course, adds to excess weight and it's a waste of hundreds of calories, all for a very short-lived "good" feeling.
Have you heard of Mindful Eating? It's a part of the mindfulness concept, that is, living in the moment rather than focusing solely on the future (or dwelling on the past.) This is not to say we should simply "live for now" and pay no heed to our future goals and plans but rather, we should look at the moments in our lives, cherish them and experience them. If you're going to eat chocolate, then ENJOY the chocolate, savor it, smell it, TASTE it----don't scarf it. Don't read, don't study, don't look at the Internet while you eat---just focus solely on the experience of eating. Chances are, if you fully experience that chocolate, you may not need to scarf the entire bag or box---you may be satisfied with far less than you would have had you mindlessly eaten the whole thing.
I am trying to live mindfully, not only in my approach to eating but with other activities and experiences as well, because I am sick of being stressed out all the time. The past few days haven't been so great as I've had a nasty cold---who wants to mindfully experience a hacking cough and stuffed sinuses? But otherwise, I do see that it makes a difference in my eating as well as my level of stress.
BTW, I like the above post about the puppy and kitty therapy, too.