Are you overly obsessed about food? Do you find yourself frustrated at the thought of constantly wanting to eat, looking at the clock for your next meal? You are not alone! Yes, I too struggle with this. I have plenty of good days but the days that I do obsess, boy can it really build up anxiety. This is not a healthy outlook on food.
Before we jump in, first analyze your daily intake. Are you consuming enough energy through food? If not, than the answer can be as simple as increasing your daily caloric intake. This will help put those non-sense craving and food thoughts aside. Now, for those of you who are having a sufficient amount of calories, yet simply just like to eat for pleasure, not necessarily hunger, welcome to my world!
Below are my 4 “stop” signs. All of which are related but I broke these into four categories to make it clearer. These are just a few ways that have helped me become less obsessive about food. Hopefully some can help you too!
STOP CLOCK WATCHING.
You don’t have to obsess about eating on such a structured time schedule. Don’t eat just because “it’s time” to eat. Who says you to eat breakfast at 7 or 8am or lunch at noon? If you are not hungry at that time, eat when you are truly hungry! You’re not going to lose your muscle or damage your metabolism if you don’t eat every 2-3 hrs. My best advice would be to aim for at least 4 meals a day. This will help keep your blood sugar levels stable, avoiding hunger pains and cravings. Eat at time frames that work for you and when you are hungry, even if that means todays eating schedule is different from tomorrow.
STOP COUNTING EVERY CALORIE/MACRONUTRIENT.
There is nothing wrong with taking a mental count or quickly jotting down the amount of calories you consume within a day, to ensure that you are hitting your goals. Doing so is fine but counting each macronutrient (calorie) to the ‘T’ will only make matters worse. If you have been in the calorie counting game long enough, I am sure you can get a pretty good idea of your daily intake without the need of obsessing. Free yourself from being a slave to a calorie counting app. As long as you are within your approximate goal range, you will see results!
You decide it’s time to lose weight, so you cut everything cold turkey! Although, you may see results physically from doing so, mentally this is leaving you deprived. If you are looking to lose weight try a slower approach by setting realistic goals. You don’t have to give up everything forever. Allow yourself occasional “treats” and take it one day at a time. Don’t label your favorite indulgences as “bad” or “cheating”, this may lead to throwing in the towel and giving into more than you want. If you set goals that are attainable over the course of several weeks you will see results. Why hassle with beating yourself up by strict dieting only to find yourself back to square one? If you are looking to lose weight try reducing only 100 calories per day and gradually decrease, if needed. If you jump straight into a 500 calorie deficit, you will only find yourself with hunger pains and more thoughts about food, possibly leading you to an over-indulgence or binge.
Do your best to include a variety of food into your daily regimen. Getting a good balance of protein, complex carbs and healthy fats will help keep you more satisfied. This way you’re not thinking about how hungry you are all the time. There is so much craze about low-carb diets and how well they work. Toss this crazy idea out the window – you need carbs! Yes, it is ok to reduce your carb intake, especially if you are consuming them daily in high amounts. Cutting them out completely is only going to leave you irritable, tired and back to the ugly thoughts of food obsessing. You don’t want to eliminate everything. Keep occasional treats in your regimen but be mindful of how much you are having. The more junk food (simple carbs/ saturated fats/ sugar) you consume, the more it will leave you hungry and wanting more. Do your best at the 80/20 approach (80% nutritious food, 20% treats).
Making a change takes time and effort. These tips may or may not work for you. Ultimately, it is up to you to put in the work and effort of reforming your habits. Food does not control you, you control your own actions. Therefore, you can take control! This does not happen quickly or easily. With time and perseverance, your habits will slowly begin to reform into what you make them. You must trust and believe in yourself!