Do you find yourself constantly thinking about food and obsessing over it?
Are you wondering how to stop thinking about food?
Wondering if it is normal to think about food all the time?
Do you feel obsessed with your weight and food?
You are not alone. We hear this from our clients quite a bit. Hence today’s post! We’ll give you a run-down of our definition of food obsession, talk about where this often stems from in our experience, and review some ways to stop thinking about food so damn much so you have the mental space and time to live your life.
What is Food Obsession?
Food obsession is a preoccupation with food that interferes with other aspects of life. It can manifest in a lot of different ways, but here are some common signs:
- Constantly thinking about food, talking about and planning meals/snacks incessantly
- Having intrusive thoughts about food that affects one’s ability to focus on other tasks
- Feeling like there are “good” and “bad” foods and being bombarded with those associations when you are faced with said food
- Having lots of food rules, such as only eating whole grains (never white), avoiding all bread, only eating certain types of fruit because you were told they are lower in sugar, only eating nonfat/low-fat dairy products
- Feeling anxiety around upcoming events that may involve food, such as worrying about if there will be safe foods or trigger foods. Thoughts like “what if there will be cake at the party, I can’t control myself around cake” or “what if there won’t be any ‘healthy’ foods for me to eat and I end up eating junk food?”
- Being around a food that you have rules with and not being able to focus on conversation with others or whatever task is at hand
- Always wondering if eating a food or meal, or skipping a food or meal, will make your weight go up or down
Let’s establish something before we move on — it is NORMAL to think about food. Food is after all one of the greatest pleasures in life in my opinion, hence why we love experimenting with our own recipes. Thinking about food is a sign of hunger for many people.
Sometimes though, for some people at some chapters in their life, thinking about food may increase in frequency and/or intensity. When thinking about food starts to interfere with other aspects of life, this can impact quality of life and one’s relationship with food, mind and body.
In these situations, it is best to reach out to talk to someone so that you can realign and start feeling better. We got you.
Understand the WHY Behind Thoughts About Food
The first step, and arguably the most important step, in how to stop thinking about food constantly is to understand WHY you are thinking about food constantly.
This can be a lot to unpack. It takes time and introspection, and is often much easier to navigate with the help of a professional.
Where Does Food Obsession Come From?
In our experience, food obsession most often stems from a place of restriction. There is no denying that many cultures value thinness, and this message is pervasive. You can receive it explicitly, as in someone (could be a loved one, a stranger, a health professional) tells you that you should lose weight. You can also receive it implicitly, simply by noticing that most actors/actresses you see on TV reside in small bodies.
There are a million other messages in between, but let’s not get sidetracked here. It is completely understandable to respond to diet culture messaging (which is everywhere) by feeling like you need to change your body to be valued and respected. This does not mean you are broken or wrong. Who does not want to feel valued and respected?
This pervasive messaging leads many people to engage in some form of dieting in an effort to change their bodies. Could be the keto diet, a low carb diet, intermittent fasting, having lots of food rules, and there are about 3,465 other options out there.
We are not shaming people who diet, but we are shaming the constant pressure from diet culture to change our bodies, be smaller, be healthier, be better, blah blah blah. ESPECIALLY when this leads people into the trap of diet, restrict, feel deprived, binge, feel guilty, repeat.