How to Stop Thinking About Food: 5 Reasons You’re Obsessed With Food + How to Stop

Is food always at the back of your mind? Are you always thinking about your next meal?

Do you find yourself constantly thinking about food? Do you feel guilty or ashamed for obsessing over your next meal? If so, you’re not alone. Many people struggle with food obsession, and I’m here to help.

In this blog, I’ve provided you with 5 reasons why you might be constantly thinking about food. Some of these reasons may surprise you. I’ll also give you some strategies on how to cope with each reason, so you can move on from your obsession with food.

Consider these questions. How many feel true for you? The more you answer yes, the more you might be struggling with disordered eating that presents as food obsession.

  • Are you always thinking about or planning your next meal?
  • Do you label foods ‘good’ and ‘bad’ and spend a lot of time thinking about ‘bad’ foods?
  • Can you have ‘bad’ foods in the house without thinking about them?
  • Are you not enjoying social events because of food options – especially ‘bad’ foods?
  • Do you spend a lot of time thinking about how you should eat less?

It’s not your fault that you can’t stop thinking about food.

We live in a world where there are so many rules and restrictions around food. At the same a total abundance. No wonder it becomes so difficult to find balance, right?

Food is a constant topic of conversation – # food has over 500 million posts on Instagram and what I eat in a day (# whatieatinaday) has over 800,000. It’s no wonder you’re thinking about food all the time.

If you’re constantly thinking about food, you’re not alone. It’s a common experience for many people.

Here are five reasons why you might be constantly thinking about food and what to do about each.

1. You’re labelling food as good and bad

Labelling food as ‘good’ and ‘bad’ or healthy and unhealthy can create a restrictive mindset. It makes food stressful, a source of fear or worry, and can make you feel guilty for eating certain foods.

When you label food as bad or unhealthy it means when you eat those foods, you have failed. Consciously or even subconsciously, it means you need to make up for it in some way. This might be by eating more “good foods”, by purging, or by vowing to eat better.

This starts the cycle of ‘I’ll eat better later/tomorrow/next week’. And you never do.

That’s because by making ‘bad’ foods off limits and restricting them your brain wants more of them.

Strategies to help:

  • Start to notice when you label food as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ and try and reframe to just food
  • Start to listen to your body’s cues – what food does it need? What will make you feel satisfied?
  • Ask yourself, why do I think this food is bad? Has someone told me it is? Notice if you fear these foods
  • Work on your relationship with your body and food

2. You’re not taking care of yourself enough

Food can become a form of self-care when you’re lacking in caring for yourself. This can be fine as a form of comfort, but if it becomes a crutch when you feel down, it can easily become obsessive.

Thinking about your next meal, or a particular food, may be used as a way to avoid an uncomfortable situation or feeling. Thinking about food can help you disconnect from your thoughts and feelings, and over time this becomes a habit.

Does this resonate with you?

Strategies to help:

  • Take stock – how are you feeling physically, emotionally, and mentally? Perhaps at the end of every week you evaluate your self-care and needs going into the next week.
  • Decide what you need to take care of yourself. Maybe it’s resting or moving more, saying no to others or carving some time out to try a new hobby or passion.
  • Notice when you use food as a distraction/something to soothe yourself. Does anything trigger this? Once you make links with triggers, you can work backwards and find solutions that don’t only include food.
  • Reach out for support from others if you need it. Perhaps you need therapy or nutrition therapy? Sometimes you can’t fully meet your needs without help, which is what I’m here for!

3. You’re pushing back or skipping breakfast or lunch

Purposely putting off eating breakfast as late as possible can lead to low blood sugar, stress hormones, increased cravings, and feeling out of control. This means that food becomes a focus for your brain as it craves energy.

It’s no wonder you become obsessed. This is still a form of restriction, and so your body desperately obsesses over what it needs. Sometimes food obsession is simply biological hunger. You can’t really blame your body for needing fuel, right?

Strategies to help:

  • Prepare breakfast the night before if time is against you
  • Have a play around with different breakfast options if you’re just not a breakfast person
  • Check out this article on why breakfast is so important when healing your relationship with food
  • Take your lunch break – I know, sounds obvious. But actually do it
  • Stack habits: if you have a coffee every morning, start to eat with it so you get in the habit of doing the two together

4. You’re on a diet – or at least trying to be ‘healthy’

Diets have foods you can’t eat, and restricting food makes us want it more. The diet mentality can make you obsessed with foods we can/can’t eat, how much you should be eating, and how it affects your body. So much mental energy is dedicated to food.

And that’s not even the worst part. Dieting and pseudo-dieting don’t actually make you any healthier. Sadly we’ve all been fed a lie that hyper-focusing on health and food is a good thing.

Strategies to help:

  • Start working on eating intuitively – and no, it’s not simply “eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re full”
  • Move away from diets and diet culture. Stop following pro-diet pages, and set boundaries when it comes to people talking about diets around you
  • Learn about the non-diet approach and embody the values of this

5. You’re trying to cut back calories, because you’re binging at other times

Cutting calories can put your body into starvation mode, leading to the binge-restrict cycle. Binging makes you feel out of control around food.

If you rebound from binging with restriction then your body sends signals that might alter your hunger cues. This is coupled with mixed messaging about food and whether you’ve eaten enough, and increased stress on the body. So your brain is constantly focused on food, and what you should and shouldn’t be eating.

The root cause here is your binging, right? So focus on healing from binge eating and then the other strategies in this blog.

Strategies to help:

  • Work on breaking free from the binge-restrict cycle. Do this first by stepping away from restriction – both mental and physical restriction
  • Notice what triggers a binge episode – is it restricting? Or a certain life event? A certain person or feeling?

In conclusion, there are many reasons why you might constantly think about food. It’s important to recognise that this is a common experience, and there are ways to work through it. By taking care of yourself, listening to your body’s cues, and working on your relationship with food, you can break free from food obsession.

As you can see, there are many reasons why you might constantly think about food. It’s important to recognise that this is a common experience, and there are ways to work through it.

By taking care of yourself, listening to your body’s cues, and working on your relationship with food, you can break free from food obsession.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What techniques can assist in managing persistent thoughts about eating?

If you’re struggling to stop thinking about food, there are several strategies you can try:

  • Eat regular meals and snacks
  • Include starchy carbohydrates, protein, and fat at every meal
  • Work on your emotional wellbeing by practicing self-care, stress-management, boundaries, and processing your emotions
  • Keep yourself occupied with other activities, such as reading a book, going for a walk, or hobbies
  • Focus on more mechanical eating, rather than mindful eating until you’ve overcome the impact of restriction and you have more coping tools
  • Seek support from disordered eating specialists like myself and my team

2. Are there techniques to help reduce food cravings?

I know that Google and social media are filled with tips to help “stop cravings”

But honestly, cravings aren’t a bad thing. And a good relationship with food still includes cravings sometimes. But just alot less intense than you probably have them.

Following the strategies throughout this blog will bring you to a more peaceful relationship with food. This will then mean you have less intense cravings and more ease with food in general.

3. Should I distract myself from wanting to eat?

No way! That’s just going to make you even less disconnected and trustful in your body.

It’s normal and neccisary to eat every few hours. Don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise. As a disordered eating specialist nutritionist and therapist, let me tell you: 99% of the stuff online about eating is pretty much incorrect. And from a lens of assuming everyone wants to lose weight and manipulate their body.

Distracting yourself from eating isn’t a sign of a good relationship with food.

What you could do is fuel yourself enough with 3 meals and 3 snacks a day, and then use distraction tools if you have the urge to binge. But most of the time, if you’re hungry, you need to eat.

Key Takeaways

  • Food obsession is common and you’re not alone if you struggle with it
  • There are 5 key reasons why you might be constantly thinking about food
  • I’ve provided you with stratgies for each of the reasons

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