Do you find yourself constantly thinking about food, even when you’re not hungry? You’re not alone. The truth is that we all think about food at some point throughout the day. It can be hard to stop these thoughts, but it is possible with a few simple steps. In this blog post, we’ll explore possible triggers and delve into mindful eating techniques to overcome food obsession and reclaim the joy of eating!
Recognizing Food Obsession
When I decided to prioritize living my best life in the present moment, I knew that one of the key aspects I would concentrate on was food. My goal was not to stop thinking about food altogether but to develop a healthy relationship with food.
Upon deep reflection, I’ve come to a realization – my non-work passions revolved solely around one thing: food. Whether it was sneaking in a quick snack during work or mindlessly munching at my desk while immersed in tasks, it seems like my love for indulgence knows no bounds.
At home, I would frequently find myself searching through the pantry or refrigerator, mindlessly snacking even when I didn’t have a genuine appetite.
When it came to date nights, they often revolved around food – you know, going to the movies, dining out, and so on.
As for girls’ night out, it typically meant a happy hour or going out for a meal.
Vacations and trips were also almost always food-based – visiting a new city and discovering its culinary offerings or embarking on an adventure to explore the mouthwatering dishes of another country.
When I was invited somewhere, I’d first think about what I’d wear then second it would be about what food was available. I knew my obsession with food had reached a breaking point and that it was time to start taking action.
Understanding Food Obsession
Food obsession occurs when disordered thoughts about food take over other aspects of your life, sometimes leading to binge eating.
This obsession can cause feelings of guilt, blame, or frustration, as well as an unhealthy relationship with food and eating, making you think about food constantly.
The good news is that it’s possible to break free from food obsession. It just takes a little bit of self-awareness, dedication, and consistency.
Identifying Your Triggers
Identifying the various triggers that contribute to your food obsession is a crucial step in overcoming it.
Emotional triggers, such as stress or boredom, can ignite a strong fixation on food. These triggers stem from intense emotional reactions triggered by a variety of factors, including memories, experiences, objects, people, and situations.
Environmental triggers, such as the smell of food or seeing someone else eating, can also trigger a strong desire to eat.
These types of triggers are often associated with our senses, as they stimulate us and make us want to consume something.
Physical triggers, including hunger, thirst, or fatigue, can cause food obsession. These triggers are sensory reminders that can bring about a reaction or response, such as the homeostatic pathway, which signals the need to eat to maintain basic metabolic functions.
12 Ways to Stop Thinking About Food
In addition to fundamental practices such as staying hydrated, exercising regularly and getting plenty of sleep, certain techniques have helped me reduce food-related thoughts and feelings of obsession. Below is a list of a few of my favorites:
To ensure a well-planned week, create a meal schedule and commit to it. As an additional step, I like to dedicate an hour on Sundays and Wednesdays to prepare, portion, and store nutritious snacks.
For instance, I might purchase a whole pineapple, slice it into chunks, and keep them in the refrigerator. Similarly, I may buy bags of bite-sized pretzels and divide them into small zip-lock bags for convenient grab-and-go options. Have the kids join in on this fun activity while playing music and dancing in the kitchen.
Never Leave Home Hungry
When heading out the door, make sure to eat something nutritious. Going out on an empty stomach can lead to impulsive snacking and unhealthy cravings, this is especially true when going grocery shopping. When going out to eat with others, I drink 8oz – 10oz of water before I leave home.
Set Water Goals While at Your Desk
While I’m working, I always have a tumbler of ice-cold water on my desk. My personal goal is to finish the entire tumbler before I allow myself to get up. And once I do get up, I make sure to refill it promptly.
Drink Water Before and After Meals
Before and after every meal and snack, I make sure to drink 8oz – 10oz of water. This helps me stay hydrated throughout the day while maintaining proper digestion. It also prevents me from overeating and curbs the ravenous cravings.
Find Healthy Alternatives
Processed foods are often packed with unhealthy fats, excessive sodium, and empty calories that lack essential nutrients. To steer clear of these culprits, I consciously avoid indulging in sugar-laden snacks like candy, soda, and chips. Instead, I opt for a refreshing piece of fruit or a handful of nutritious nuts that are both low in calories and abundant in vital vitamins and minerals. It’s all about making mindful choices. Regardless of my location, I always strive to select the healthier option available.
Think Before You Eat
There are days that I want to grab a baked good or salty treat. What I do is place the treat in front of me and wait 10 minutes. If after 10 minutes I still want to eat it, then I’ll allow myself to indulge. However, most of the time after 10 minutes have passed, my cravings will have subsided and I no longer need it. This mindful practice has helped me control my cravings and avoid impulse eating.
Earn Your Treats
If I do want to indulge in something, such as ice cream or a sugary snack, then I make sure to earn it. This means that if I have been sitting all day, then I need to get up and move for at least 30 minutes. This could be anything from going on a walk around the block to riding my bike or practicing yoga.
Savor Your Meals
When I sit down for a meal, I practice mindful eating, fully savoring every bite. This involves taking my time, being conscious of the flavors and textures, and avoiding eating on the go.
Walk Away From Unhealthy Foods
When I’m grocery shopping, I always make sure to avoid the aisles that have unhealthy snacks. This prevents me from impulse buying and reduces my chances of snacking on processed foods or sugar-based treats. Additionally, if I’m in a place with a lot of unhealthy options, I’m sure to walk away and find a place where nutritious foods are available.
Choose Physical Activities Over Food-Centric Activities.
When I’m looking for something to do, I now try to pick physical activities over ones that involve food. That could mean going swimming with friends instead of having a movie night with pizza and soda or going to a driving range or bowling instead of going out for dinner. This allows me to make the most of my time while also avoiding temptations that may lead to unhealthy eating habits.
Track Your Treats
I use a habit tracker to keep track of which days I’m indulging in treats and which days I’m staying away. This helps me stay accountable, as it gives me a clear visual of my habits.
Talk About It
Having a supportive person or group of people is essential when trying to break an unhealthy habit. Talking about our struggles can help us find healthier alternatives and create strategies for avoiding cravings.
Developing a Balanced Eating Plan
A balanced eating plan is instrumental in reducing food obsession. It provides a comprehensive framework and guidance for making healthy food choices and ensuring your body receives the necessary nutrients to stay energized and healthy.
A balanced eating plan includes prioritizing nutrient-dense foods, allowing for occasional treats and indulgences, and adopting a flexible approach to eating.
Nutrient-dense foods are packed with vitamins, minerals, and other beneficial nutrients, providing our bodies with the essential nutrients needed to stay healthy and full of energy. These foods can also help reduce the hunger hormone ghrelin and keep you feeling full for longer.
By incorporating nutrient-dense foods, occasional treats, and a flexible approach, you can develop a balanced eating plan that helps you overcome food obsession and maintain a healthy relationship with food.
Taking proactive steps to manage food cravings is crucial for a healthy lifestyle.
By implementing these strategies into your routine, you can effectively control cravings, build a healthier relationship with food and ultimately stop thinking about food all the time.
Remember, breaking old habits and developing new ones takes time. Stay consistent, focus on progress, and you’ll succeed.
You have the power to overcome food obsession and reclaim the joy of eating.
If you feel you have an eating disorder, or if the cravings are interfering with your daily life, please seek professional help. A mental health professional can provide you with the guidance and resources you need to take control of your food cravings.
Want more ideas for fun things to do to keep your mind off foods? Consider taking up a new hobby. See our list of fun hobbies.
I’d love to hear from you. What are some techniques that you use to keep your mind off food?