Why Can't I Stop Thinking About Food?

You are trying to focus on an important work project and yet your mind keeps drifting to thinking about the biscuits and chocolate that you know are in the kitchen ....

You may be sitting and watching TV with your friends or partner, are enjoying relaxing but just can't help wondering if this moment would be better with some snacks, some popcorn perhaps or maybe some sweets...

You have just eaten lunch and yet all you can now think about is what you can eat for your next meal this evening....

Do you ever wonder why you are thinking so much about food and what you can do to free up some mental energy to start thinking about other things instead?

When we start working together, many of my clients tell me that a lot of their time and mental energy is taken up worrying about or thinking about food. One of the most rewarding parts of working with them is then seeing how much more free and better they feel once they are no longer thinking about food all of the time and can then devote that mental energy to other things in their lives.

So you may be wondering, why is it that you spend so much time thinking about food? Here are some reasons why food may be dominating your thoughts:

1. You are on a restrictive diet or are just hungry.

When you are on a very restrictive diet thoughts about food very often take over. There are a few reasons for this. Firstly, you may well be feeling hungry a lot of the time and of course, when we are hungry/food-deprived, our brains want to prioritise ensuring that we get enough food to keep us alive. So if you are really depriving yourself of food and allowing yourself to get very hungry during the day, it is natural (and actually a helpful protective mechanism) for our minds to then focus on or even obsess over food. Secondly, diets typically involve restricting or banning lots of things or food groups. However as humans, we tend to want what we can't have. So the moment you tell yourself that you won't eat any chocolate again - your brain may well then just start to obsess over all of the chocolate you want to eat right now - just "one last time" before you then "never eat chocolate again".

2. You've been counting calories/ tracking your food intake closely.

Some people find it helpful to closely track what they are eating and the calories they are consuming as it helps them to become more aware of their food choices. However this act of closely tracking every morsel of food that passes your lips can also make you become hyper-aware of your food choices. In fact, food is so at the forefront of your mind, that you then end up thinking a lot about or even obsessing over what you can and can't eat. This is something that many clients report to me after a period of tracking calories or their food choices. So whilst food tracking may work for some, for many people it can cause them to think about food a lot more than is helpful for them and their lives.

3. You have lots of strict rules around food.