How to stop obsessing over food + get healthy
Are you always worrying about what you're allowed or not allowed to eat?
Do you ask questions like: Does this have too many carbs? Should I eat that fruit? Am I allowed that...? What has fewer calories? Is this good or bad? How many points is in that?
After years of dieting and constantly trying to lose weight, it's common to obsess about food by asking such questions. You have been taught that these questions help you make healthier choices.
But what if, these questions are actually making it harder to lose weight and be healthy!
Ironically, when you obsess about trying to eat healthily, you end up thinking about food all the time.
Obsessing about food does NOT help you weigh less in the long term.
When you go on a diet or start a new meal plan (which is actually just a diet in disguise!), all the forbidden foods you're not 'allowed' to eat will become more tempting.
Creating a list of 'bad' foods like peanut butter, cereal, bread, chocolate, Nutella will only make you binge or emotional eat on them later. In private. Quickly. And with a heavy sense of guilt.
Obsessing about foods also sucks the enjoyment out of food and eating.
Soon you'll start skipping healthy fats, trying to avoid salad dressing and condiments and saying no to social occasions because it feels too hard.
Very quickly, healthy eating becomes unenjoyable and feels like a chore.
While you're willing to be obsessed with food to achieve your weight loss goals, eating bland and boring options and saying no to your friends just to lose weight is unsustainable.
Inevitably, you'll get sick of missing out, tell yourself 'this little bit won't hurt' and then your swing right back to the other extreme. Not caring at all and feeling guilty that you've fallen off the bandwagon. Again.
But it wasn't your fault!
You can only be obsessed with food for so long before your body tries to give you an ultimatum like binge or emotional eating.
So, if you want to be healthy - you need to step away from obsessing about food.
Try these powerful strategies to help you create a healthy, balanced relationship with food when you can be healthy - without obsessing.
1. Focus on adding, not subtracting
Stop focusing on what you CAN'T eat. Don't create a list of 'forbidden' foods as this is only going to want to make you crave them more.
The brain can only focus on one this at a time.
So start thinking about the foods you add into your diet.
This means when you get a restaurant instead of looking through the menu thinking: "Oh, I can't have that, I can't eat burgers, I'm not allowed fries. Argh!"
Start thinking about what you want to add to your diet to be healthier (like fruit, vegetables, seeds, legumes, nuts, quality protein) and find ways to include more of those foods.
So at the cafe, you think more like: "Salad is a great way to get more vegetables, the lentil dahl would be great because it's got lots of fibre, maybe the sandwich on whole grain sourdough will make me feel good".
Naturally, you'll make healthier choices without needing your willpower. You won't feel deprive and you'll stop obsessing about food as much.
There is so much more you can learn to help you stop obsessing about food, reduce food guilt and stop binge eating. But start with these simple strategies.
2. Ask yourself WHY am I eating (instead of what should I be eating).
What if, instead of asking yourself 'what' am I allowed to eat, you started asking yourself these three question's: WHY, HOW and WHERE?
Why am I eating?
- I am hungry
- Am I bored?
- Am I stressed?
- Am I restricting or 'trying to be good'?
- Am I eating this to make someone else happy?
How am I eating?
- Am I eating very quickly, without chewing?
- Am I eating mindlessly?
- Am I afraid someone will come home and see what I'm eating? This used to be me.
- Do I feel guilty?
Where am I eating?
- Am I hiding in the pantry?
- Am I eating in front of the TV
- Eating on the couch?
- Sitting at the table?
- Surrounded by friends?
These questions - and the answers - really do matter! These questions can lead to big shifts in the way you eat food - which will ultimately impact on 'what' you want to eat...
Stop obsessing about what you can eat - and start asking yourself: Why, how and where am I eating?
When I stopped always focusing on 'what' I was eating, and starting asking 'why' - it changed everything for me. Read more here.
Over time, I naturally wanted to healthier foods. 'What' I ate ended up changing over time as I naturally wanted to make a healthier choice. I've written about this before, but stop focusing always on 'what' you eat. Instead, try bringing the pleasure back to food and asking: Why, How and Where am I eating?
I have heaps more strategies I'll love to teach you to help you stop obsessing about food whilst being healthy.
If you're keen to learn more about reducing food guilt and want to stop binge or emotional eating, check out the Keep It Real online program designed to help you heal your relationship with food and end emotional eating.
MORE POSTS YOU MAY ENJOY:
Lie in bed at night feeling guilty for overeating (yet again)? If you can't stop eating, then read this blog post to learn how to break the cycle. These tips are especially useful if you can't stop eating at night.
If you're always striving for more, better or leaner, then you need to read this.
Before I became a dietitian, I tried many detoxes and cleanses so I know how they work! I'm sharing the 8 simple steps to detox or cleanse (just like a celebrity or health blogger).
Coconut oil is very trendy at the moment but is it really that good for you? Find out which oil I use every day and what I really think about coconut oil (and the superfood claims).
Nutrition has become so confusing. I've learned a lot about people and healthy eating by working as a dietitian and nutritionist. Here is a no-BS summary of what I know for sure...
Want to get more followers on Instagram? These 10 strategies will help you gain more Instagram followers in the health and fitness world.
Intense sugar cravings can be really hard to resist. Luckily, you can stop sugar cravings with these 5 strategies. Learn how to beat sweet cravings - without 'quitting' sugar.
Nadia Felsch is one smart and talented lady. This soon-to-be nutritionist and founder of Wholefoods Society shares her favourite foods, self-care habit and tells me how she manages to do it all (and still keep it real simple)!
Hate shopping for a new swimsuit? You're probably doing it wrong. These game-changing 7 tips will make bikini shopping infinitely less stressful.
A few weekends ago, I flew to Australia's produce capital, Tasmania to visit the Huon Salmon Family farm. My aim? To learn exactly how Huon Salmon is always the freshest to market.
Dietitian and Nutritionist Rebecca Gawthorne (aka Nourish Naturally) will inspire you to eat more plants and get active. She shares her favourite snacks, tips and what's in her fridge as I found out how she keeps it real.
The Flexitarian Diet the latest trend in the health world. So, what is the flexitarian diet? Find out the pros and cons of the flexitarian diet to help you decide if it's right for you.
Around 30% of people are avoiding gluten because they think it's better for you. But is a gluten-free diet really healthier for you? Should you cut gluten out of your diet?
Diets suck. These 29 (surprisingly simple) healthy habits don't. Stop struggling to get healthy by depriving yourself. Follow these simple healthy habits instead. Promise - It's way more fun.
Losing the last bit of weight can be so hard. If it feels like your body is fighting against you and you can't lose those last few pounds, make sure you read this.
Since I was diagnosed with clinical anxiety, I've learned a lot about how to manage - and prevent anxiety. Here are the top 10 things I know now about anxiety. If you want to know how to deal with anxiety, this list can help.
Want to know which foods I never eat? As a nutritionist, there are a number of foods I avoid - and you might want to as well! Find out which foods to AVOID.
I used to be a binge eater. Until I stopped dieting. I lost 20kg and reclaimed my health. Here is my story how I lost weight. Plus all my favourite tips to help you on your journey.
Feeling bloated after meal is not fun. Here are some tips to help stop you from overeating when you're dining out.
Constipated? Bloated? These are the best high-fibre foods to add your diet to keep you going regularly.
Face lotions and serums have a role to play, but what you put in your mouth really does show on the outside! Here is my go-to list of the foods to eat for healthy, glowing skin...
We caught up with Miguel Maestre recently at an Australian Mushroom event and got to know about some of his favourite foods, preferences and how he keeps it real.
I often get asked for tips on how to stay healthy when you travel. Travelling used to make me feel stressed about my weight…But when I started to apply these simple strategies, it was easy to stay healthy whilst travelling.
If you're 'trying to be healthy' there is a good chance that you are dieting and secretly sabotaging your health and relationship with food. Find out if you are accidentally dieting - and what to do instead.
Do you think "well - I've ruined it now so I may as well..."? If so, you may be stuck in all-or-nothing thinking. And breaking free from this limiting belief will make all the difference. Here's how...
If you are trying to be healthy, you may be doing these things by mistake, jeopardising your wellbeing. Find out which 6 'healthy' habits aren't actually good for you and how breaking up with these habits can make you healthier - and happier.
Cutting back on alcohol? You may notice one of these amazing 12 benefits when you cut back on the booze. Find out what happens to your body when you drink less alcohol.
Always craving something sweet to eat after your main meals? There is a reason why. Find out the strategy I used to beat my sugar cravings and break the habit for good.
Are you obsessed with what you're allowed to eat? Do you get guilt when you eat too much? Obsessing over food and getting guilty doesn't help you be healthier. Get these two strategies to help you create a healthier relationship with your body.
Do you spend all day eating well but comfort eat when you get home? Do you eat healthily during the week only to overeat on the weekend? Learn how to stop binge and emotional eating with these tips.