Are you obsessing over food?

Was the first thing you woke up thinking about food or your weight?

Did you start worrying over the diet you had promised to start today or on Monday - feeling sad at the thought of having to live off just soups/salads/meat/fats/juices?

Perhaps you woke up and felt miserable - immediately realising that you still have so much weight to lose - that you are still so far away from your goal?

Or maybe you know that you are going to spend the whole day thinking about food/ the food you are not allowed to eat/ your weight.

So many of my clients tell me that they have become obsessed with food. So many of their thoughts are about food and their weight. As you can imagine, this leaves them no mental-space or energy to think about their goals/dreams, to plan, or to enjoy whatever it is that they are doing in that moment. These thoughts about food and weight can become all-consuming.

So why might you be obsessing over food? Well it is actually a very normal reaction for the body/mind to have after a diet or a period of dietary restriction. So if you have been on several diets/trying to lose weight for a while/ have lost a lot of weight in the past - your body and mind are actually doing their jobs. You see the body cannot tell the difference between starvation and a diet, so your brain ends up becoming very focused on food - just to ensure that you can survive and get enough to eat. Then what began as a survival response, eventually just becomes a natural pattern of thinking...so in the end you are obsessing over food, because you have spent the past few years obsessing over food (your brain is a creature of habit and many of the thoughts we have on any one day are the same thoughts we had the day before).

There are studies showing this happening going all the way back to the 1940s - a famous study on healthy men performed by Ancel Keys showed that after months of dieting, these men became completely pre-occupied with food. In this study 36 males were fed a restricted diet (which resulted in their weight dropping by 75%). Whilst all of the males were healthy before the study started, by end of the study the men had become much more irritable (often fighting with each other) and had begun to prioritise food and eating over anything else in their lives (Keys, A. 1950). This is what happens when we let