I hear it from clients all the time:
- “I just wish I could stop obsessing over food”
- “I think about food 24/7”
- “I wish I could stop feeling crazy around food”
- “I’m constantly thinking about what my next meal or snack is”
I know how frustrating it is because this was part of my story too. During my “10 year career” in disordered eating, I was absolutely obsessed with food. It got to the point where I only looked forward to hanging out with people if there was going to be food involved (which is the complete opposite to when I was suffering from Anorexia and would skip out on social events, sleepovers and birthday parties due to the fact that food was going to be involved).
I still love the crap out of food, but the difference is that I don’t obsess over it anymore. The reason being is that there’s a stark difference in my behaviour around food and my relationship with it now. In the past, when I was constantly dieting, restricting certain foods and labeling foods as “good” and “bad”, I felt totally crazy and obsessed with food. Now that I eat intuitively and have broken up with eating guidelines other than what my body dictates for me, I finally feel like I have my life back – and boy, does it feel good!
I’m not saying this to brag, but to show you that you can have the relationship you want with food too. But it will take time, patience and mental effort. Hopefully, with the 3 following tips, they will help you to start sculpting a healthier relationship with food and stop feeling crazy around it.
1.Give yourself permission to have specific foods – The reason why we obsess over foods is typically because we’re restricting ourselves from having them. We’ve labeled foods as “good” or “bad” and have forbidden ourselves from having that bad food. Naturally, when we set certain things off limits (like food), it increases our desire for them even more. It puts that food on a pedestal and all of a sudden it holds all of that power of you. But what if we simply gave ourselves permission to eat all of the foods when the urge strikes? When we take the “good” or “bad” label off of foods (even though we all know there are actually foods that are more nutritious than others), we’re able to establish a healthier relationship with food and neutralize that food in our mind so we aren’t obsessing over it.The minute you give yourself permission to eat that food, you might find you can’t stop eating it (which is often the fear for people when they give themselves permission to eat any food they want) but guaranteed, after a few days or even a week of eating that food, you will grow tired of it and won’t care about it as much anymore. Take it from the girl who used to go to bed thinking of the ice-cream that was in her freezer, who can now go weeks without realizing ice-cream is in the freezer. This isn’t because I have a crazy amount of self-control (that doesn’t really exist, by the way). I’ve simply given myself permission to eat foods that I want to eat
2.Remove the word “cheating” from your vocabulary – You can’t “cheat” on your diet if there are no rules to break (that’s your hint to LET GO of the rigid and restrictive rules) and if you’re following rules that you feel the need to cheat on in order to stay sane, they aren’t good rules for you. In my client sessions, I encourage my clients to write down a list of food, nutrition or health rules they’ve adopted over time that are no longer working for them and I encourage you to do the same! You’ll know if these rules aren’t working for you if you find them rigid or restrictive or hard to follow.An example of this rule is “I can’t eat after 8pm”. While there’s truth to the fact that we shouldn’t be eating a huge meal before bed, if you’re hungry after 8pm, your body is trying to tell you something – it needs fuel and it wants you to feed it! Once you become aware of the rigid rules that you’ve been following, you can begin to structure a list of your own new food values and guidelines that won’t give you the urge to “cheat” on them.
3.Celebrate real bodies – There’s no denying that we live in a “thin is best” culture. We’re told by doctors, teachers, family members all throughout our childhood and into adulthood that fat and being bigger is the enemy to achieving health. After reading Linda Bacon’s game-changing book “Health At Every Size”, you’ll know that isn’t so true after all. The best thing you can start doing to repairing your relationship with yourself, your body and food is to embrace the body diversity that surrounds you on a daily basis. Not the stuff you see on TV and in magazines but the real, beautiful, unique bodies of people in your life and network. THAT is real life. When we challenge our body by restricting food to transform to a place outside of its comfort zone, it responds by going into survival mode and upregulating or downregulating specific hormones (like appetite hormones) to ensure your fuel demands continue to be met. That, and because it can’t decipher between a diet or a famine, it will store fat for later use as a safety mechanism.
Feeling crazy around food? First off, you’re not alone. Second, I would love to help. Book your FREE 15 minute discovery call today to learn more about how my offerings can help you overcome your struggles with food.