Hi ladies! Today I want to talk about how to stop thinking about food all the time. I remember back in my dieting days, I often wondered if I would ever be able to feel normal around food again.
Before I started dieting the only time I thought about food was when I was hungry, or when something sounded good. Pretty normal, right?! The only “issue” (or thing I would now change) with my relationship to food then was that I didn’t know how to listen to how hungry or full I was.
That said, this wasn’t even a huge issue. I would say over the period of about a month, or even a week, my eating choices balanced out even though I wasn’t fully aware of the signals my body was sending me.
For example, I can specifically remember my mom making breakfast burritos one Christmas morning. I ate one burrito and thought to myself “wow that was really good, I think I’ll take another one!” Which was fine, but perhaps not sustainable long term?
Then I discovered dieting. After a trip full of loads of over eating with my dad and boyfriend at the time, I came home with a camera full of photos I found myself truly criticizing for the first time, curious about how to force my body to lose weight.
I stayed home one day and researched everything I could about how to lose weight. I discovered: calorie counting using spreadsheets (apps or iPhones didn’t exist at this time); Post-It notes to use while away from my computer; sharpies to write notes on my hands, and; hours a day in the gym.
Needless to say, all of these things led me to a place where I was focusing on food 95% of the time. After six long years of this intense dieting (plus, binge eating and everything in between) I found myself truly wondering if I would ever be able to feel normal around food again.
I remember wishing I could go back to that place where I could easily ask for a second breakfast burrito. To me, being blissfully unaware and over-eating would have been better than the heavy restrictions I was placing on myself day-to-day. I felt trapped.
Today, I am so beyond thankful that I am at a place where I feel total balance with food. I listen to my body, I am aware of what does and doesn’t make me feel good, and I can very calmly make choices around food that allow me to feel good mentally, physically, and emotionally.
Which is what I’m going to talk about today: How to stop thinking about food all of the time, especially if you are in place where you are restricting like I was.
First, we have to get rid of deprivation. Deprivation creates urgency around food. For example, if I think I can’t have Oreo’s, and my friend comes over with a box of Oreo’s, I am immediately going to assume that I have to rely on willpower to stay away from those Oreo’s (if I’m “being good”).
The sad part about this is that I might not even like Oreo’s. But because I believe I can’t have them, I am immediately more pulled toward them. This creates unnecessary chaos in my mind.
To get rid of this deprivation mindset, we have to give ourselves total permission. Continuing to use the example of Oreo’s, if I have total permission to eat Oreo’s, and my friend brings a box over, I will be able ask myself if I actually want them. No extra chaos. Just calm thinking.
If I do want them, I can take a bite and see if they’re actually something I like. Sometimes, you’ll take a bite of something after you’ve given yourself permission and realize that you don’t even want it. We are so good at building things up in our minds, aren’t we? I know I am!
The next thing I want to talk about is having fun with food and upgrading all of our eating experiences so that our taste buds feel like they’re having a party 80% of the time. Simply being excited about food!
When I think of myself being excited about food, I think of sitting down at the table with a friend, and biting into a cheesy panini we just made together (I’m about to get REAL specific). The panini is full of flavor. I see myself picking it up off my plate, taking a bite, setting it back down, and getting a huge smile on my face as I hold both my hands up in a fist shape as if I’m cheering at the amazingness of how good this food taste.
Now, I am not saying you have to feel this way every time you eat. But, I am saying that you want to have more positive experiences like this so you can start building positive feelings around food. Food is definitely allowed to be pleasurable, it is just not meant to be our only pleasure.
That brings me to my next point which is talking about non-food sources of nourishment. These are things like your relationships, your joy, your spirituality, your career, and your home environment. It is just as important to focus on upgrading all of these things so that you feel more fulfilled in your day-to-day life and are not depending on food for ultimate fulfillment.
Like I said, food is supposed to be pleasurable, it is allowed to be pleasurable, and there is nothing wrong with getting super excited over it. It’s just not meant to be our only pleasure because then it takes up way too much of our brain space and doesn’t allow us to focus on the things in life that matter to us most.
The last point I want to make here is to focus on what works for you. Stop doing things that “work for everyone else,” and commit to finding out what is right for you. This is SO liberating!
Ask yourself what choices you’re making around food and your body just because someone else is doing them. Of those things, which have you learned from other people that feel good for you? Which of these things don’t feel good for you?
Your next step, if you will allow me to give you one, is to start crowding out all of the things that don’t feel good for you, and give yourself permission to focus on what does feel good.
I am giving you permission, right now, to not apologize for the things that are right for you. Own them, and do you!
I hope this post was so helpful, and that today you’ll walk away from reading this with more permission, less restriction, and will feel excited to ENJOY your food! I hope all of these things will result in you being able to think of food less, and enjoy your life MORE.
If you would like even more support, consider going through Finally Free (Finally Free now lives inside of The Growth Vault).