blog

THE NOURISHRX

we have you covered at every step of your healing journey.

CATEGORIES

eating disorders

intuitive eating

diet talk

meal planning

movement

parent support

work with us!

tell me more!

I'm Ryann. Founder of NourishRX, mom of three and a certified eating disorders registered dietitian. To us, you're a unique individual with a story that led you to where you are today - not a stereotype or just a name on a chart.

Hello!

take the quiz

Which NourishRX PATH is right
for you?

Three Ways to Feel Less Preoccupied With Food

Intuitive Eating

January 21, 2022

Do you find yourself thinking about food constantly, always ruminating over your meals and snacks? 

Do you have a habit of collecting recipes, reading articles, watching cooking shows, or preparing meals for others that you might not eat yourself? 

Do you catch yourself becoming fixated on what people around you are eating? 

Are these food related thoughts taking up so much energy that you can’t focus on much else?  

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be preoccupied with food.

permission to eat

 

How Does Preoccupation with Food Happen?

Perhaps the biggest cause of food preoccupation is restriction and deprivation which, let’s face it, are at the core of dieting (and very common behaviors with eating disorders). And from an evolutionary perspective, this tendency to become fixated on food during periods of restriction/deprivation makes complete sense! 

This is the brain’s way of telling a starving person that they need to eat and are in need of fuel, ASAP. The more your body believes it does not have adequate access to food, the more signals it sends to your brain to think about food. 

Interestingly, American physiologist Ancel Keys wanted to explore the effects of starvation and re-feeding in order to better understand how to help concentration camp victims after World War II. Keys found that those who had their food intake significantly restricted became obsessed with food, dreaming and talking about it constantly.  They even started reading cookbooks for fun!  These thoughts only subsided when their intake was increased, they regained body fat and became weight restored 1,2.

If you are restricting your intake, it is not uncommon to think about food for a majority of your day.  You may find yourself thinking about your next meal while you’re eating another.  Or maybe you’re scrolling through Pinterest or Instagram on food accounts constantly.

Want to feel less preoccupied with food? The good news is, you can! 

WAYS TO FEEL LESS PREOCCUPIED WITH FOOD:

1.  Honor your hunger: 


This goes without saying, but if you’re hungry, give yourself full permission to eat.  Our bodies are incredibly hardwired to send us hunger signals and to stimulate our appetites when it’s time for our next meal or snack.

Restricting food intake and failing to respond to these signals is not only dishonoring your hunger, but ultimately, setting you up to become preoccupied with food down the road. Nourishing your body consistently and responding to your innate hunger/fullness cues is one of the simplest ways to spend less time thinking about food.

 

feel less preoccupied with food

 

2. Give Yourself Permission to Eat

We're talking ALL food in varying amounts!  Diet culture (unrealistically) encourages us to control what and how much we eat day-to-day.  However, the truth is that our bodies crave different types foods/nutrients based on the day, depending on a number of factors. Think: hormones, physical activity,  periods of growth, mood, emotions, social factors, etc.

 

Also true is the fact that our bodies require different amounts of food day-to-day, depending on these same factors. A lack of appealing food choices creates a sense of deprivation and promotes a “food foraging” experience that never seems to produce satisfying results.

Give yourself the gift of keeping a variety of foods around, from soups to pastas to cookies or fruits and vegetables; you never know what or how much you might feel like eating. Finding satisfaction in your eating is what’s going to prevent you from feeling deprived, and in turn, to think about food less.

 

3.  Experiment with “forbidden foods”


It's no surprise that the foods we restrict or “forbid” the most are also the ones we tend to think about the most.  Part of the purpose behind having unconditional permission to eat is to prevent “getting sick” of a particular food.

 

When we begin to incorporate forbidden foods, we begin to experience habituation, in which “the heightened novelty of eating a particular food wanes.”  Lack of habituation, on the other hand, heightens that desirability for the forbidden foods.

Giving yourself full permission to eat, and challenging yourself to consume some of those foods will only make you more comfortable with/around those foods, and in turn, cause you to think about them less. 

The Bottom Line

The more we allow ourselves to eat, the less we think about food. No matter how disciplined or driven we are as people, we cannot outsmart our bodies when it comes to feeding ourselves adequately and consistently. 

We encourage you to start honoring your hunger, giving yourself full permission to eat, and to challenge yourself with some of those “forbidden foods.” We’re willing to bet you start thinking about food less!

We understand that there is a lot more to it than "just" giving yourself permission to eat.  Many times, these thoughts are wrapped up in preconceived notions around food or previous dieting experiences.  For more support in working through those things, join our NourishRX PATH community, or reach out to one of our dietitians.  We're just one click away.

 

 

References:

  1. http://theconversation.com/why-people-with-eating-disorders-are-often-obsessed-with-food-77509 
  2. http://jn.nutrition.org/content/135/6/1347.full.pdf+html
  3. TRIBOLE, EVELYN, RESCH, ELYSE. INTUITIVE EATING: a Revolutionary Program That Works. ST MARTINS ESSENTIALS, 2020.

share this post:

Reply...

Comments Off on Three Ways to Feel Less Preoccupied With Food

CATEGORIES

eating disorders

intuitive eating

diet talk

meal planning

movement

parent support

work with us!

tell me more!

I'm Ryann. Founder of NourishRX, mom of three and a certified eating disorders registered dietitian. To us, you're a unique individual with a story that led you to where you are today - not a stereotype or just a name on a chart.

Hello!

take the quiz

Which NourishRX PATH is right
for you?

© 2021 NOURISHRX | PRIVACY POLICY | PRACTICE POLICIES