How to Stop Obsessing Over Food
How to Stop Obsessing Over Food
Here are 5 steps to teach you how to stop obsessing over food. When you stop obsessing with every bite you eat, you can truly enjoy your food and have a sane, healthy relationship with your body, and your weight.
Food is essential to our ability to be alive, no doubt about that. But for most of you that are reading this, you have plenty of food availability.
With so much availability of easy to consume food, most of us suffer from the problem of trying to eat less when we are surrounded by so much variety.
So, we are surrounded by food choices and much of it is designed to make us overeat and crave more.
This creates a situation where many women are obsessed with food.
- How much?
- How often?
- What to eat?
- Bad food versus good food.
- Eating too much or too little.
- Should I or shouldn’t I?
- Why did I just eat that?
- I feel terrible!
At some point, food quit being fun, enjoyable, and worse it becomes a constant source of pain.
Obsessing about food becomes a problem. Our habits are destroying our health, but we are so addicted to eating. What’s a smart hard-working woman to do?
I teach women to be intentional about food. I teach women to understand why they eat the way they do and how to change that.
What is so interesting is that when women become intentional and pay attention to their thoughts, emotions, and body sensations, they can stop being obsessed with food.
Eventually you can simply eat food you like and eat enough of it at meals you feel good in between.
When you become intentional, even your worst eating habits can become a thing of the past and one you hardly remember.
I wrote a post about compulsive eating last year. I just updated it and if you think you are a compulsive eater, check it out.
Being obsessed with food also means worrying about what you are going to eat on vacation, at a restaurant, or at parties.
Here’s what is on the other side though.
By paying attention and learning to eat when you are hungry and stopping when you are full, you have all the rest of the hours of the day to think about so many other things!
You can think about what really matters to you. You can think about your dreams and your future. You can think about your current life and how you feel about that.
That’s why this work matters. Your weight and size may change. But what really matters is that you are living your own life in the way that matters to you. It’s hard to do that when you are living for food.
So, let’s get living my friends!
Beliefs You Need to Quit Obsessing about Food
You can change
Even after 50 our brains can change. This is so important to know because, I don’t teach women another way of eating so they can remain miserable.
I don’t teach them to have more discipline or willpower. I teach them to use their brains in a new way so that they can naturally eat better.
For so long, you’ve probably felt like nothing is working. Here is the truth about that. What isn’t working anymore is how you coped with life.
There comes a point, when the way that you got through your days is making you feel worse than you could have imagined.
If you’ve been overeating and then depriving to make up for it, you may find that this doesn’t work anymore. Instead of a gain/loss/gain/loss cycle; it becomes steady gain.
This is so frustrating.
This is usually the point where I meet women; that point when nothing seems to work like it used to.
As I said though, you have a brain that is capable of change. It is a myth that we can’t change after a certain age.
Change takes time
I work with women in six-month packages. This is because it takes time to not just change a behavior but because it takes time to go from making a change that you want to having it be your new normal.
Most women underestimate how long it takes to change habits and eating patterns. Diet culture says cut stuff out and lose weight. But learning to think differently takes time.
This is the difference between some initial weight quickly or creating an entirely new relationship with food and your body.
The process goes like this
- Identify what is the real problem and what is the real solution.
- Decide on changes to make.
- Work on the mindset required to make the change.
- Evaluate the plan each week and adjust if needed.
- Explore obstacles that come up.
- Anchor in the successes.
- Practice until it all comes naturally
Believing you will be better than before
The thought of going on a diet is a miserable prospect. We love the idea of losing weight but we hate the idea of what we need to go through to lose it.
My promise to women is that learning to eat in a way that supports your body is liberating and feels good.Sara
Yes, it can feel daunting at the beginning when your food addictions are active. But these can resolve relatively quickly.
If you have been hooked on certain foods, eating at certain times, or eating until you are miserable, then you will feel so much better when all that is fixed.
Freedom from being obsessed with food all the time feels wonderful!
Why it’s Important to Eat Meals
Why meals matter
A study was done to evaluate how people eat now compared to in years past in an attempt to identify why more people are overweight now than before.
What this study found was that people eat pretty much the same amount at meals. We haven’t suddenly begun to eat bigger meals.
Based on my work with real women, I would say that women eat less at meals now than they did in the past.
Some recent studies suggest that people prefer snacks and convenience foods over sitting down for meals.
I can believe it! The women I talk to want to eat quickly and conveniently. This might get you another hour or two of work in but it is NOT good for you.
The problem is that this just doesn’t work for overall health and wellness.
So why are we all heavier?
Here is what has changed though. We eat way more in-between meals and at night. We’ve almost doubled the amount of food we eat because of snacks!
One of the first things I recommend is to stop snacking. You really don’t need it if you eat enough at meals.
This is a huge mindset shift. Most people these days do not sit down to meals anymore. Quick convenience foods are the norm.
In fact, it appears that people prefer snacking throughout the day instead of sitting down to eat a meal.
I am not on the fence about this. I believe, except for certain situations, snacking is a problem for most women.
The problem with snacks is that the often lack nutritional impact. They just aren’t that good for you.
Eating throughout the day keeps your body always trying to process food. It never has a chance to operate as it was designed.
Snacking interferes with your natural hunger cues. If you are always eating, you never have a chance to feel genuine hunger (which is a good thing!) and you will also struggle to know when you have had enough.
Not snacking is one of the best things you can do to manage your weight and improve your health.
Snacking should be the exception, not the rule.
If you find yourself hungry between meals, this is your signal that you can eat more at your meals.
Your meals are your best defense against overeating
In almost every case, my clients need to eat more at their meals. What is usually happening is they are eating a snack or a diet meal and then they get hungry in-between meals.
They can end up snacking and nibbling throughout the day or getting so hungry that they overeat when they get home from work.
By committing to eating a real meal and eating enough to keep you satisfied until it’s time to eat again is the key to everything.
When your brain and body know that you are going to take care of eating, then obsessing about food can be reduced.
How to Break Bad Eating Habits
Most women do not need an entire brand-new diet. Most women just need to address a few habits.
This is so key and so different than the lies we’ve all been sold by the diet industry. My goal in my work is to teach women to eat the food they already like in ways that support their bodies.
Let’s face it. Even if you lose weight on a diet, you have a 95% chance of gaining it back. In fact if you are reading this, my guess is that you are carrying more weight than you would like.
But if you go on a diet that is completely different, eventually you will go back to your usual foods.
Our brains LOVE novelty and diets do provide that. I know you have a belief that there is a special diet, one you haven’t tried before that will work.
It sounds great—but it is just not true.
When and where are your bad habits?
I have every client track all the food they eat. In my experience most women are not eating poorly all day long.
Most have a time of day or certain situations where they have developed an unhealthy eating habit.
Some examples are eating junk in the car, eating in secret, eating large amounts of certain foods until you feel stuffed, or eating mindlessly in the evening.
Tracking all food that you eat, allows you to see your unique pattern. By looking at your overall food intake, you can clearly see where you can take steps to change.
How do you quit snacking at night?
Once you know where your problem habits are you can begin to change them. Eating at night is a common one that can impact weight.
There’s no getting around it; at some point you have to commit to not eating at night. As per the section above, eating a good satisfying dinner is your first step.
It’s important to not be hungry when you are attempting to eliminate an unhealthy habit.
When you aren’t hungry, it is so much easier to say no to snacking!
How to evaluate your week
This part might come as a surprise.
Evaluating your week is not going to be about seeing all the places you messed up. There is NO messing up eating. There is no perfect way to eat.
Each week, you will look over when, how, and what you ate. Look for your wins, where you ate the way you planned.
If you have been snacking at night for years and you go one night without snacking, that is a win.
If you haven’t taken time for lunch in months and you planned and packed a few lunches, that is a win.
Then give yourself all the appreciation you deserve for making these changes. Keep track of them each week.
Trusting the Process
When you stop obsessing about food and begin eating foods you like when you are hungry it is going to feel so weird!
This goes against everything we’ve been told about losing weight.
This process isn’t a diet and it’s not intuitive eating. It is a mindset-changing process that changes how you eat by changing how you think and feel about food.
It is a process
Changing your brain and how you think does not happen overnight. It takes intention and practice.
Rewiring your brain takes time
One of the things I can promise my clients is that they just won’t eliminate the bad habits, they will most likely forget that they even had them.
I love the faces my clients make when I tell them this. They can’t even imagine sitting in front of the TV without their bag of candy or chips. Or leaving the store without their favorite snack to eat in the car.
Yet, within a couple of months, these habits dissolve, almost as if they had never been there.
This is the difference between using willpower and using your mind to change a habit.
Faster isn’t better
The best skill my clients learn is to do what is good for them and their body, even if they lose weight slowly or not at all at first.
Remember, this isn’t just a way to lose weight. Eating to support your body is about nutrition, reducing inflammation, and healing how your hormones react to food.
When you are trying to change only to lose weight, then it is so easy to give up when the scale doesn’t move.
I like to think of this as training for after you have lost your weight.
It can take a few months for your body to heal, for habits to become normal, and to feel better. The skill of eating for your health will be the most important thing you can do.
Productive Thoughts versus Destructive Thoughts
This may be the most important part of this post. You can use your thoughts to help the process, or you can use your thoughts to slow it down or stop it in its tracks.
Productive thoughts are the key to creating the right kinds of feelings to keep you going. Destructive thoughts will pull you off your plan and derail your efforts.
Your thoughts matter
The things you think or say to yourself matters. Most women are very familiar with saying mean things to themselves.
We often think we can motivate ourselves by beating ourselves up about how we eat or what we weigh.
Helpful thoughts versus unhelpful thoughts
Anything mean you say to yourself is unhelpful.
- You’re fat
- You’re a loser
- You can’t do anything right
- This isn’t working
- This will never work
- I’ve messed up
Anything encouraging is helpful.
- You did really great today
- I’m proud of myself
- This is working
- I’m going to take care of myself no matter what
- I’m allowed to eat food I like
- Nothing is off-limits
- I love how good my body feels like this
Are You Ready to Stop Obsessing Over Food?
You may have never even considered that you could stop obsessing about food and just eat foods you like without overeating.
My process works almost like magic. There is immense power in using your thoughts and feelings as part of the process.
I originally wrote about how ineffective willpower is about seven years ago. I knew it didn’t work and over the years, I’ve dedicated myself to figuring out something that does.
This post plus my 10 Powerful Tips post detail how to do this. I know first-hand how much pain being obsessed with weight and food can cause.
But it is 100% achievable!
Keep showing up my friends,
Ready to find out more?
Schedule a free consultation today.
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Hi, I'm Sara Garska and I'm so happy you're here! Big changes can happen with a shift in thinking. Over time, you transform your life into the one you always dreamed of having. As a certified life and weight loss coach, I can help you create a life you love. Click here to schedule a free 50-minute coaching session.