Every day at some point I have to consciously think about NOT eating. I don’t believe it is about hunger and cravings or even some unknown underlying emotional issue … but rather about habit and lifestyle. For many decades I have had poor eating habits. How long will it take before eating well becomes second nature and something I don’t have to think about? When will I stop thinking about food?
It seems that my thoughts can be divided into two categories: What/when am I going to eat? And the harder to define thoughts that are something to do with wanting food even when I am not hungry. Just thinking about wanting to eat. Food, food, food… you are always on my mind. (Sung to the tune of Willie Nelson here.)
Part of my problem is also that my new eating plan takes a lot of thought and planning to do it well. I have to plan three meals a day now as well as healthy snacks. And I am cooking more than ever before which, of course, takes thought and time too – time finding recipes, time planning menus, time shopping, time prepping and cooking meals, and more time cleaning up after. So all this means I am thinking about food more… but these are good, healthy, necessary thoughts that lead to good, healthy eating. This kind of thinking and planning is key to diet success for so many of us.
But those other thoughts. Sigh. Usually they start right after lunch, when my mind goes to sweets. I know I am not hungry. I know it is a conditioned response to all the years I ate dessert after lunch. But I have to walk away and tell myself that I am truly not hungry and do not need to put something more in my mouth. Distraction appears to be key here. And brushing my teeth helps a little bit too.
Then the afternoon drags on – the hardest, longest part of the day for me. I don’t work outside the house and I find that being home makes me think about eating. Again, I am not hungry. Bored? Probably. If I keep my hands and mind occupied or stay out of the house, I can go hours without thinking (much) about food. But otherwise, I just find my mind wandering to food. Again, it is not about craving; I don’t want anything in particular. Am I just too focused on food in general right now? Sometimes my thoughts are about how slowly the afternoon is passing while I wait to have my snack. And then again until dinner. Why do I do this?! And how do I make it stop?! (And why is there no good synonym for that 4-letter word that keeps cropping up in this post and my mind!!)
Blogging has helped. As have all my cups of tea. And despite the intruding and annoying thoughts, I am not cheating or overeating. But the sane rational part of me says that this is not good and I need to figure out why I am doing it and how to stop. Because I am in this for the long-haul now and I do not want to spend the rest of my life focused on food!
Am I am alone in this crazy obsession – or do you also think about food way more than you’d like to? And if you have found a way to get your mind out of this gutter, so to speak, please share.