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Struggling with food obsession?

By Amber Charles, MSPH, RDN

April 12, 2021

If you're a member of our Facebook community or follow us on Instagram, you may have seen the term "food obsession" appearing quite often.

What does it really mean, how does it impact your relationship with food and why would you want to breakup with it?

Picture: Wix/stock image

What does food obsession really mean?

It is a fixation on food that may be mental, such as in response to stress or other emotions, or physical, such as constantly thinking about food when you're hungry.

Food obsession may be influenced by weight loss and body image goals that categorize foods into "good" and "bad".

The danger of grouping foods in this manner is that the more you think about the foods you cannot have, the more you want them - it is the white elephant in the room.

This approach makes you more likely to #bingeeat, overeat, feel out of control around some foods and feel guilty.

Do you struggle with food obsession?

You may struggle with food obsession - whether or not it appears that way.

This struggle may look like:

  • Fearing fruits because they contain sugar

  • Avoiding carbohydrate foods - in particular - to lose weight

  • Aiming for perfection with your nutrition and feeling like a failure when it's imperfect

  • Feeling out of control around some foods and thinking that you lack willpower (not the case)

  • Counting calories and refusing to eat if you've met your daily limit

There may be more unique ways that you struggle, but be reassured that there is nothing wrong with you but simply a lot of diet culture noise that needs to be clarified.

How to breakup with food obsession?

Improving your relationship with, and mindset about, foods isn't linear and it's a journey, not a destination.

Simple things, done consistently are important.

1. Think about what you can add before you take away

This is the unconventional nutrition advice you've likely been needing.

Think about how you can make that snack or meal more balanced, nourishing and filling, without avoiding all of the foods that you enjoy - especially those traditional and #culturalfoods.

2. Give yourself access to all foods

This does not mean that you're going to eat cake or soda all day.

Giving yourself access to these #forbiddenfoods help to retrain your mind around foods, improve your relationship with food and remove that unnecessary ingredient - guilt.

3. Seek personalized nutrition care

Despite the plethora of information available at your fingertips, nutrition is not a cookie-cutter science.

Personalized nutrition care helps you to identify key areas that you need to focus on and provides the support and accountability to guide your journey.

How do you cope with food obsession? Let me know in the comments.

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