food obsession; ryann nicole
Binge Eating

Why can’t I stop thinking about food?! | 5 Reasons Why

August 23, 2020

Ryann Nicole

Hi, I’m Ryann.

Your Not-So-Average Food Freedom Therapist & Virtual Coach. As a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), Certified Nutritionist with a BA in Psychology, and a MA in Professional Counseling, yes I do a little of the "so how does that make you feel".

But my ultimate goal is to provide you with the resources you need, in an easy-to-understand way, on healing your disordered relationship with food and your body. 

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Binge Eating

Healthy Habits

Body Image

Emotional Eating

Mental Health 

‘Wait, you don't think about food all day long?' I said to my best friend in 10th grade. ‘No? Do you?' She responded. I was in awe. I couldn't imagine a day when I didn't think about food all day. And I couldn't imagine a life where I didn't think about food every moment. If you think about food all day a. you're not alone, and b. it doesn't have to be this way!

Food Obsession Includes (but is not limited to):

  • Constant thoughts surrounding food: what you are going to eat, when you are going to eat, how many calories what you are eating has
  • anxiety around eating certain foods/food groups
  • always thinking about your next meal
  • Preoccupation with what is in your food if you do not prepare it yourself

If you relate to the above, try to avoid judging yourself for it. If you are ready to stop obsessing over food, you must first understand where this obsession is coming from. Let's talk about the FIVE REASONS you might be obsessing over food. Grab your coffee, and let's dive into it! 

01. Obsessing food distracts you from the real problem. 

Why you're doing this:

You use food as a coping mechanism to numb or distract yourself from what is going on in your life. When life gets out of control, it is natural to hyperfocus on things we can control to help cope. In this case, you are hyper-focusing on food to make up for a lack of control in other areas of your life. 

How to Stop:

Therefore, to stop obsessing over food, you must address the real problem. To do this, you must first learn to find comfort in the discomfort. This step allows you to be okay with things out of your control rather than controlling food to make you feel comfortable. 

You are not eating things that are satisfying to you. 

Why you're doing this: 

In your mind, you have created a rule book of things that are “good”/”bad” to eat and how much you are allowed to eat. When you're hungry, there is a need to satisfy yourself. When our hunger need is unmet, our brain cannot let it go. 

Compare it to when you have to go to the bathroom. When you have to go to the toilet badly but cannot go, can you relax and forget that you have to go to the bathroom? I mean, I know I definitely can't! Or let's say you do get to the bathroom, but you stop yourself in the middle of going. Would you be able to continue with your day and finish going later? I wouldn't be able to. It is no different. 

How to stop: 

Breakaway from the good/bad list. Allow yourself to eat what your body is asking for. Allow yourself to eat how much your body is asking for. This is intuitive eating. The more you begin to trust your body and give it what it asks for, the less food obsession you will have. If you are interested in learning about my journey with intuitive eating, click here

Decreased emotional attachment to weight = decreased food obsession.

Why you're doing this: 

You have attached your worth to numbers on a scale, and keeping your worth in check, you feel you must keep those numbers in check. Unfortunately, this attachment causes you to fear any weight changes, ultimately leading to the food obsession you are experiencing. 

How to stop:

To stop, you must separate your worth from your weight. The first step is to learn how to validate yourself internally rather than relying on the scale to make you feel better about yourself. 

Ignoring hunger cues is fuel for obsessive food thoughts.

Why you're doing this: 

There are two significant reasons why we ignore hunger cues. First, we have ignored them for so long that we do not know what hunger cues feel like. Second, you think your hunger cues are wrong. We are wired to focus on food when our bodies get too hungry. It is an innate survival method due to how our ancestors used to need food to survive. 

How to stop:

Therefore, a quick fix to get those obsessive thoughts away is to make sure you listen to your hunger cues and fuel your body when you are hungry. I always like to think about this in terms of a hunger scale. The goal is to stay between a 3 and a 7. Usually, the thoughts automatically come if you drop below a 3 or do not eat to a 7 during mealtime. 


Why you're doing this: 

There are two types of restrictions when it comes to food:

  1. Physical – Food is physically not allowed (i.e., you're not allowed to eat certain foods, not allowed to eat at certain times, not allowed to eat a certain amount)
  2. Psychological – you label food as “bad” or “naughty.” We might let ourselves eat these foods occasionally, but we always feel guilty afterward.

How to stop:

Allow yourself permission to eat without guilt. If there are foods that you have been restricting for a while, this might take some time to do. Start small. Begin facing your food fears. Try ditching the negative labeling of food. Challenge yourself to have one new food you physically restrict and one you psychologically limit each week. It doesn't have to be the whole thing. It could just be one bit! The goal is to let go of both physical and psychological restrictions. Once that happens, the food obsession will naturally drift away. 

To Summarize

If you think about food all day, the problem is not that you think about food all day. The problem is likely something deeper. Get to the root, and the food obsession will work itself out. 

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