A resource to help you
Eight ways to tackle food obsessions
ONE: Take it easy on yourself. Each of us has a unique relationship with food that’s personal and complex. It may take time to fully understand your own relationship with food, and it can be easy to let feelings of guilt, blame or frustration build up when you can’t stop thinking about food
TWO: Ask yourself if you’re feeling deprived, as I discussed in the video. More often than not, food restriction leads to feeling deprived which can then lead to binge eating.
THREE: Drink enough water. Cravings for water can sometimes be confused with cravings for food. Staying hydrated throughout the day might decrease how often you’re thinking about food. Plus, some people may find that drinking water throughout the day suppresses their hunger.
FOUR: Identify your patterns and triggers. Another way to better understand food thoughts is to try and identify things in your life that trigger them when you’re not hungry. These can be:
Seeing other people eat
Talking about food with family or friends
Commercials and adverts for food
FIVE: Consider keeping a journal for a few days and note down any food thought triggers you identify. You can also make notes about the environment around you and how you’re feeling at the time. Using these observations, you’ll begin to notice patterns in the triggers and environmental cues that cause you to think about food. Once you’re aware of these patterns, you may be able to avoid or limit your exposure to those triggers — or you might learn how to distract yourself and navigate through them as they arise. For example, if you’ve noticed that keeping snacks freely available on your desk triggers you to think about food, you can try to put the snacks away in the cupboard or a drawer so you don’t see them as often.
SIX: Learn to let the thoughts pass. Some thoughts about food are only temporary. If you notice these thoughts arise but know that you aren’t really hungry, try distracting your mind with thoughts about other things besides food. Try these distractions:
Take a break from what you’re doing
Stand up and stretch
Meditate for a few minutes, or maybe use your Chillpod
Go for a walk
Drink a glass of water
Read something that interests you
Work on your favourite craft or hobby
Write down how you’re feeling
SEVEN: Consider mindful eating. This is about being aware of the full mind and body experience you have while eating. Being mindful has many benefits for your health, including learning to respond positively to environmental cues that trigger thoughts about food. Mindful eating is about eating slowly, removing all distractions like the TV or your phone, paying attention to the colours, scents, textures and flavours of food, staying aware of your body’s hunger and fullness cues throughout the meal.
EIGHT: Move more. Doing some exercise can influence how your brain responds to food. Two studies found that the brain’s reward centre is stimulated less by high calorie foods following exercise.