We all have a voice in our heads that keeps on talking about food. More often than not, it gets our attention for the wrong kinds of foods. Even if we do not give in to these thoughts, we cannot help but constantly be reminded about food. And this does not necessarily have to be a favorite food or something sweet. It could instead be something savory or sour. The critical question we need to ask ourselves is, are these thoughts normal? Dietitians argue they are, but we need to navigate on how to control them.
That said, in this article we will look at some tips on how to not think about food. We know food is necessary for our lives, so our aim is certainly not to ban food consumption. Instead, we would like to look at how anyone can regulate how much they think about food as this greatly influences how much they eat. Let us get started!
How Is Your Relationship With Food?
Before you learn how to not think about food, you need to have an in-depth understanding of your relationship with food. There are those people who eat more and others eat less, while others battle specific eating disorders.
All these different eating habits affect our relationship with food differently. Some will hardly eat anything in a day, while others will have an out-of-control-eating pattern. Such a pattern will always have you thinking about food.
Understanding this will help you learn strategies to stop you from constantly thinking about food. Similarly, you may also determine that you have an eating disorder that makes you avoid food, for example, anorexia nervosa (4).
If you have such a disorder, you tend to eat small quantities of specific kinds of foods (4). If you have such a pattern, your dietitian will not recommend implementing strategies that keep you away from food. Instead, they may advocate for methods to boost your eating behavior.
Talk to your dietitian to help you determine your eating pattern. If they agree, go ahead and start implementing the following strategies on how to stop excessive food thoughts. Make sure to always seek help from a professional if you think you are struggling with an eating disorder.
Easy Tips On How To Not Think About Food
We cannot help but think about food, especially when we are overcome with emotions. You may constantly think about food when stressed, which is harmful because this may lead to emotional eating. It would help if you learned to control these food thoughts because they are the number one sign of food obsession. Here are some simple tips to help you achieve this:
Control Your Thoughts
The first technique on how to train your brain to not think about food is to learn to control your thoughts. Remember that it is pretty easy to give in to food temptations when you do not have control.
To help get this control, start by understanding your food thoughts and behaviors. This will be easy if you have already sat down with your dietitian and determined your relationship with food. Dig deep to understand what triggers these thoughts and eating patterns.
For example, you could discover that your constant thoughts of eating arise from unhealthy and limitless snacking. Similarly, you may determine that the thoughts arise from your stress levels that are piling up (9).
Upon this discovery, you must take action to trim the impact of the causes. Talk to a mental health professional or friend to help reduce your stress levels. If not, you can practice healthy snacking that increases your satiety levels, eventually limiting these food thoughts.
Learn To Listen To Your Body
Your body knows best, but chances are that you rarely listen to it. Typically, our bodies will tell us when we have a persistent craving or nagging food thought. In the same way, our bodies will let us know when they are full or need some energy boost.
The problem is that most people either ignore or do not understand the messages their body sends on hunger and fullness. If you find that you are eating more than usual or having excessive food thoughts, your body may be telling you something is off (6).
In most cases, it could be telling of your rising stress levels, which might explain the emotional eating and increased food thoughts (6). If not, it could indicate that you are depressed, anxious, or have underlying eating conditions such as binge-eating.
Some food thoughts and cravings may also signify changes in your appetite (6). It would help if you talked to your dietitian to understand the sudden appetite changes and food thoughts.
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Keep The Hydration Levels Up
One of the best tips on how to not think about food especially when fasting, is to hydrate. According to Medical News Today, when your stomach senses a fullness sensation, it signals your body to stop eating (2).
The problem is that most people confuse dehydration with hunger. This means that anytime they feel hungry, they rush to the fridge to grab a bite. This could lead to unnecessary and excessive snacking, which you can control by drinking plenty of water.
Regularly drinking water takes up space in your stomach, which gives your body a feeling of fullness (2). With such a feeling, the last thing on your mind will be hunger or any associated food thoughts.
Some people may argue that drinking other beverages like juices, smoothies, or sodas can also help with hydration. It would help if you remembered that they contain more calories and sugar than water, potentially leading to unnecessary weight gain (11).
Remove The Temptation
Of course, you will think about food now and then if it is right in front of you. There is no way you will stop thinking about cookies or soda when they are right in your cabinet or fridge. Medical News Today suggests that you get rid of these temptations if you want to curb these food thoughts and prevent overeating (11).
Most food temptations consist of unhealthy foods. Try replacing such foods with healthy foods. You will find that your temptations and cravings will reduce over time. This is because healthy snacks increase your satiety and keep you full for longer. Some healthy and nutritious snacks that you could add to your diet plan include (1):
- Celery sticks and nut butter
- Hummus and vegetables
- Low-fat cheese
- Greek yogurt with berries
- Air-popped popcorn
- Fruits like bananas and nut butter
Constant thoughts about food may also occur from your eating pattern, especially if it is eating quickly. Forget about choking; eating quickly makes you ignore when your stomach is alerting a feeling of fullness.
You end up eating more because you are somewhat distracted, perhaps by something like your phone or television. Since you hardly listen to your body, you will develop the habit of constantly eating. The more you eat, the more likely you are to keep thinking about food.
To help avoid these thoughts, try taking smaller bites and chewing your food slowly (10). The more time you take chewing your food, the more likely you are to listen to your body. Not only will this behavior help you cut back on calories, but you learn to eat less and only when necessary (10).
Get Professional Help
Sometimes, the best option to help train our minds to think of food less is by getting professional help. It would help if you had a dietitian or a psychologist specializing in eating disorders to teach you how to stop thinking about food now and then.
According to WebMD, such professionals can help you master this concept by changing your food view (5). For example, instead of viewing food as a source of comfort or relief, you now start looking at it as a source of energy and nourishment (5).
You will soon discover that your food thoughts disappear or reduce when you stop looking at food as something to make you feel better. There is no timeline on how fast you can master this concept, even when you are seeking professional services. So, be patient with yourself and learn to control your thinking.
Try some relaxation techniques like meditating whenever you get increased food urges or thoughts. According to WebMD, mindful meditation can help you ease stress, which might trigger the increased food thoughts (7).
You do not have to involve a professional to meditate and stop this negative internal food dialogue. You can always go online and stream a meditation class if you require any guidance. The trick to gaining the most from your meditation is paying attention to the meditation basics.
Some of these basics include choosing a quiet place, eliminating distractions, focusing on your breathing, and observing your thoughts (7). Avoid harshly judging yourself, mainly if you cannot stop thinking about food at the first trial. Keep practicing and remember to ease your focus and focus on your breathing.
Are you always thinking about food? Put an end to this today by sweating it out in the gym or at home. Exercising is one of the best tactics for not thinking about food all the time or when you are on a diet.
The science behind this is that exercising helps your body release hormones known as endorphins (7). These chemicals interact with your body to help keep you calm and relaxed. Similarly, they also help improve your feel-good hormones.
When you are more relaxed and calm, hardly will you think about food. Similarly, when you are kicking butt in a workout, the last thing on your mind will be food. Instead, the vast majority are always thinking about finishing their exercise regime in one piece.
Engage In A Leisure Activity
The other method you can adopt and help train your brain to avoid always thinking about food is engaging in your hobby. Hobbies refer to the activities that we enjoy doing in our free time. They could be swimming, painting, drawing, reading, dancing, and so forth.
We all have different hobbies, so do not feel left out if yours is not listed above. The rationale behind engaging in your hobby is that it helps you take some time off to do something you enjoy. The activity in and of itself gives little to no time to think about constantly eating. Instead, it grabs your full attention, leaving little room for these food urges.
Eat Fiber-Filled Foods
Fiber helps you feel full for longer time periods. In a day, food experts recommend adult females below 50 years and having a 2, 000 calorie diet to consume 25 grams of fiber (12). Adult males in the same age group are advised to increase their daily fiber intake to 38 grams (12).
Unfortunately, most people disregard eating fiber-filled foods. As a result, they end up having more food thoughts because they hardly ever feel full for an extended duration. You might find such individuals eating after every half an hour or so.
Their fiber-less diet is to blame for these increased food thoughts and snacking patterns. To avoid this, all you must do is consume a fiber-filled diet. Some of the best and high-fiber food sources to consider include (12):
- Chickpeas and lentils
- Kidney, white, Pinto, lima, and black beans
- Leafy green vegetables
- Sweet potatoes
- Seeds and nuts
- Oat and oat bran
- Wheat bran flakes
- Whole grains
- Whole fruits, mainly berries and those with peels
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Take A Walk
The other easy technique you can adopt to help you stop constantly thinking about food is to take brisk walks. You do not have to consider your walk a physical activity to help trim all your thoughts.
Instead of this, all you need is to step outside and get that fresh breath of air. Believe it or not, the walk helps draw your attention away from food to something else you spot out. By the time you get back to the house, your belly growls, and food thoughts will have subsided.
The good thing about such walks is that they come with added benefits. Even if you did not start the activity as an exercise program, walking would provide you with the following health benefits (8):
- Improved sleep quality
- Better weight control and management
- Better appetite control
- Improved fitness and performance of daily activities
- Improved endurance
- Reduced risk of health conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease
- Improved confidence and self-esteem
Change Your Environment
Humans are creatures of habit, and sadly many of these habits are not always healthy. Due to having constant food thoughts, you will likely find some individuals always hanging out in a food outlet or a restaurant.
This habit does you more harm than good because it only fuels your food thoughts. You cannot hang around an area with food aroma and expect to hardly think of food. This is unrealistic. For this reason, experts suggest you consider changing your environment, if possible (3).
We understand that you cannot change the location of your offices if they are close to a food outlet. However, you can change your environment if your hang-out area is in a restaurant or food joint. Changing your environment may help shift your focus from food to something else. You find that moving to a location far from food joints reduces your thinking on food.
The Bottom Line
We all think about food now and then, and this is pretty normal. Knowing this, you need to draw the line if you find yourself constantly thinking about food or indulging in overeating. These two habits may signify something deeper such as an eating disorder.
Talk to your healthcare provider and dietitian for more insight on your relationship with food. If need be, they will suggest several strategies on how to not think about food. These include exercising, meditating, eating slowly, eating a high-fiber diet, learning to control your thoughts, hydrating, and taking a walk.
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This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on for decision-making. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- 9 healthful snacks to eat for weight loss (2019, medicalnewstoday.com)
- Can water help you lose weight? (2018, medicalnewstoday.com)
- Compulsive overeating and How to Stop It (2014, webmd.com)
- Eating Disorders (2020, medlineplus.gov)
- How to Have a Healthy Relationship With Food (2019, webmd.com)
- How to Listen to Your Body (2019, webmd.com)
- How to Stop Emotional Eating From Stress (2020, webmd.com)
- Physical activity (2021, medlineplus.gov)
- Positive thinking: Stop negative self-talk to reduce stress (2020, mayoclinic.org)
- Slideshow: 10 Ways to Control Your Eating (2020, webmd.com)
- What are the best ways to stop overeating? (2019, medicalnewstoday.com)
- Why do we need dietary fiber? (2020, medicalnewstoday.com)