Sometimes you may feel like you are obsessed with food. Every single waking minute of the day may be filled with food obsession. Even when you just finished a meal, you are just thinking about your next meal.
If you struggle with these constant thoughts of food, it’s time to recognize why you are constantly thinking about food and to make a change. It may seem tempting to get rid of all the delicious foods in your house or restrict your intake in response to overeating caused by food obsession.
But is this the best option? Will this help solve your food obsession? Well, first, we need to discuss what food obsession is, why you are obsessed with food, and how to stop being obsessed with food, for good!
What is food obsession?
So what even is food obsession? Well, there is no specific definition or diagnosis of food obsession. So it’s hard to say for sure what it is. But, if you exhibit some of the following symptoms, this likely means you are obsessed with food:
- You are constantly thinking about food. When you wake up, when you are working, exercising, even after you have just eaten. Food is the #1 thing on your mind.
- Constantly feeling guilt after eating, especially food you consider “bad”.
- Feeling anxiety at social events where food is present due to being scared of overeating or “losing control”.
- Always planning out your next diet or meal plan.
- Constantly reading or researching ways to train yourself to eat better or less.
If you are exhibiting some of these behaviors, you likely are obsessed with food. It’s nothing to feel guilt or shame about though. In fact, many, many people have these thoughts on the daily. So now that you know what food obsession is, how about we dive deeper into why you are obsessed with food.
Why am I obsessed with food?
Good question! There can be a few reasons you are obsessed with food, but it really comes down to one simple root behavior:Restriction.
That’s right. If you are obsessed with food, it’s likely because you are restricting you eating to some extent. What are some examples of restriction you ask?
- Constantly counting calories to reach a certain daily goal below your maintenance calories (aka to lose weight).
- Cutting out certain foods or food groups in the name of health or weight loss.
- Restricting your eating to certain time frames, such as only eating between 10am-6pm or only not allowing yourself to snack between meals.
- Restricting certain foods or food groups to a specific amount every day. Such as only one dessert daily or 1 oz of cheese daily.
To sum it up, any type of behavior that is stopping you from eating when you are hungry or craving a certain food can be defined as restriction. But, I know what you are thinking. Isn’t restriction a good thing? Well, it depends what you mean by good. Restriction can help you lose weight and eat “healthier”.
But, it also has several ramifications.
These include binge eating, an unhealthy relationship with food, disordered eating, and even eating disorders. It also can greatly affect your mood, your relationships, and simply your enjoyment of life and all it has to offer. And finally, it can lead you to be obsessed with food.
This actually makes perfect sense. When your body senses restriction, it assumes you are out in the wild and are running out of food. And guess what? Your body needs food to survive! And believe me, your body is going to push you to live! Therefore when you are restricting, your body will respond by making you obsessed with food. Because the more obsessed you are with food, the more motivated you will be to go out there and get that food that will help you sustain life!
So, to sum it up, restriction is the likely reason you are obsessed with food, whatever that may look like for you. Now onto the big question, how can you stop being obsessed with food?
How to stop being obsessed with food
Now you know what food obsession is and why you are obsessed with food, but how do we stop being obsessed with food? Well, it’s pretty simple actually. We simply remove the reason why you are obsessed with food. And that reason is restriction.
I know, this sounds easier than it is.
We were born into a society that values restriction. Resisting temptation, which may be in the form of a delicious chocolate cake, is something that we consider a positive trait in a person. By giving into temptation, we are being “bad”. It may make us feel like we are weak or do not have self control.
And whenever we fail at restricting ourselves, we respond by restricting ourselves even more! How many times have you failed at a diet and then started a new diet the day after? It makes perfect sense to us, because restriction seems like the only answer to get where we want to go. When in reality, restriction is actually bringing you further from where you want to go.
If you are sick and tired of yo yo dieting, losing weight and gaining it right back, constantly thinking about food, not enjoying social events, and feeling anxiety around “bad” foods, it is time to stop restricting.
The next step…
So, how do you stop restricting? What is the first step? Well, first off I will say that you don’t have to jump all in at once. Creating a healthy relationship with food takes time and patience. But, I will provide you with a few tips to get started.
- Do a social media cleanse. Unfollow accounts that make you feel bad about your body or lifestyle. Start following accounts that make you feel confident and good in your own skin.
- Try adding one fear food back into your diet every week or month (depending on your comfort level). Allow yourself to enjoy the food fully and eat until you are satisfied. Try not to stress about the calories or “bad” components of the food. Just enjoy it.
- If you are a calorie counter, try going a few days to a week without counting. Try focusing on your internal hunger and fullness cues to determine how much to eat. Focus on how you feel before, after and during your meals.
These tips are a great starting point. Of course, start at your comfort level to begin with. Really focus on how food makes you feel. Focus on what your body is telling you when you eat a certain food, not what your brain is telling you. Try to bring that enjoyment back into eating. Try your best to block out feelings of guilt and fear about eating certain foods.
Focus on eating like how you used to when you were little. You ate when you were hungry, stopped when you were full or ready for something else, and never felt guilt about eating, because why would you? Believe me, this way of eating will change every aspect of your life.
Where can I go for extra guidance for food obsession?
Need some extra guidance on how to achieve food freedom and stop being obsessed with food? Well, luckily for you, there are plenty of resources out there to help you get here. I highly suggest reading Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch (affiliate link). It goes into detail about all of the steps to stop obsessing about food and start listening and trusting your body.
If you need some more guidance, I have an online course for those who struggle with food obsession and binge eating.