Can’t stop thinking about food? Feel guilty when you eat the ‘wrong’ thing? Food anxiety can take over your thoughts and lead to an unhealthy relationship with food that causes emotional and binge eating.
Stop weighing yourself
Weighing yourself often sabotages your weight loss efforts. When you wake up and find you haven’t lost weight, your motivation will plummet and you’ll be tempted to give up all together. Meaningful results come from consistency over time, and this cannot be measured by a daily or weekly weigh in.
Eat dessert with friends
While it sounds counter-productive, when you’re out for dinner with friends, say yes to dessert. Giving yourself permission to enjoy treats with friends can help you feel less deprived and prevent emotional eating. It’s a far healthier way to enjoy treats than alone, on the couch while watching TV.
Track hunger, not calories
Counting points or meticulously tracking your food sets you up to feel anxious around food. Instead of tracking your calories, keep tabs on other measures like your hunger and how you feel e.g. including bowel movements and energy levels.
When you focus on the foods you’re not allowed to eat, you’ll crave them more and inevitably feel anxious when you eat them. Practice crowding. Focus on all the foods you want to fill up on. Naturally, you’ll ‘crowd’ out the less healthy options and naturally lower your food anxiety.
Lyndi is a dietitian and nutritionist who lost 20kg when she reduced food anxiety and finally stopped weighing herself. Lyndi is the founder of the Keep It Real Program, an online guide to help stop emotional and binge eating. You can find more information on this program here.