Can’t Stop Thinking About Food? Here’s Why

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Having your mind fully comprised with thoughts about food can be overwhelmingly stressful and is very different than the mind of a person who is simply passionate about food.

I am passionate about food. I am currently in the process of creating a cookbook, so, quite often, I will find myself dreaming up a new recipe for the “5 Ingredients or Less” or “Date Night” chapters. However, these thoughts about food and new recipes don’t disrupt my daily life or take away from the things that I have to get done within a day.

Years ago, it was very different. As I started my recovery from anorexia nervosa, I thought about food all of the time. Even when I didn’t want to be thinking about food, I still thought about it. I remember sitting in biology class thinking about the pear I had to eat for snack before lunchtime. After school I found it difficult to focus on my homework because I was thinking about the after school snack I was eating or what my mom was making for dinner. Food was always on my mind.

Even in university, food was constantly on my mind. Although I was no longer anorexic, I was very obsessed with my diet and had disordered eating tendencies that still lingered throughout my life. Studying for finals was always a challenge because I thought about food more than the chemistry exam I needed to study for. Even at the mall I would think about food when food wasn’t even around me. I was always thinking about food. Always. It was exhausting and, quite often, left me in tears. I prayed that eventually I would be able to just live and have a mind free of food thoughts. However, I didn’t know if this would ever be able to happen. It felt like a far away dream to me. 

Now, years later, my mind is no longer crowded with food thoughts, but I work with women around the world who have the same problem I did years ago, they cannot stop thinking about food and it scares them. But, thankfully, I am able to tell them something that no one ever told me when I was scared – the thoughts do go away, eventually.

How To Stop Constantly Thinking About Food 

My number one piece of advice to help eliminate constant thoughts about food (or work towards lessening them) is to make sure you are eating enough.

If your mind is starving, it will always be preoccupied with thoughts about food. 

For years after my eating disorder, I thought I had my diet dialled in. I was eating 3 meals and 3 – 4 snacks every single day, but was still thinking and obsessing about food. It wasn’t until I learned to let go, trust my body, and make sure my body was actually truly being fed that I was able to clear my mind of the consistent thoughts about food.

Once your body knows it is fed, and no longer needs to stress about being starved, your obsessive, overwhelming, and consistent thoughts about food will dampen and eventually go away. I can promise you that because I’ve been there, but now I am free.

How To Make Sure Your Body Knows It Is Fed

My best piece of advice for you to help you make sure your body knows that it is fed is to choose nourishment at all times. If you find yourself thinking about having a snack, but decide to wait until your next meal, choose nourishment – have the snack. Begin to let go of judgment towards your body. If you find yourself thinking about food, it is more than likely that your body is asking to be fed – and if you’re recovering from an eating disorder, your body is in desperate need of nourishment, especially at this time.

Choose nourishment. Be kind and gentle to your body. Learn to be non-judgmental towards it, learn to trust it. When you do all of these things, your overwhelming amount of thoughts about food will slowly fade away and, you too, will be free.

If you would like additional support in your journey, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I would love to work one on one with you! You can contact me here.

4 comments on “Can’t Stop Thinking About Food? Here’s Why

  1. Thanks Meg! I have a question, what are your thoughts on stopping when you feel satiated but that amount of food may be a very small amount? Should you stop because your body is telling you it has had enough, or keep going because you want to be sure you are eating enough food? Curious on your opinion with that!

    • There are so many different factors playing into the answer I could give you. My first thought, though, is have you had an ED? Are you recovering from an ED? Or, have you been restricting in the past? If yes, our stomachs do shrink and we often don’t know what “full” is and we need to eat more than we are comfortable with. Eventually, our bodies will adapt and feel satiated with appropriate amounts of food. I hope that helps! 🙂

  2. This is such a refreshing article to read 🙂 It is so simple that I think that many, myself included, over look this aspect of eating. The word “nourishment” has led me to a “lightbulb moment” after reading your thoughts on how to stop thinking of food. This has been encouraging to read. Please know how grateful I am to have read this! Thank you, Meg, for posting this article!

  3. Hi there,
    I have suffered with anorexia for 5 years. I decided to go into recovery after my last relapse! and now i am near my healthy weight (im so scared!) i thought my mind would stop! i really believed that the food thoughts would just go but htey dont! I am eating enough, I am 100% sure (my dietitian told me!) but i still seem to be obsessed! sometimes i just want to eat for no reason! my hunger signals are so messed up sometime im feeling hungry but i dont know if it is just me or if i really am! Its getting me so down and I am just at the point where I dont know what to do!!!!

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