How to Stop Thinking About Food

Has food become an obsession with you? Do you find it difficult to stop thinking about food whether you're hungry or not? Learn to regain control of your thought patterns, be able to focus on your task at hand, feel calm and relaxed by practicing the following suggestions. You'll discover that a more peaceful, pleasant life awaits you when food becomes nourishment rather than a crutch.

How to Stop Thinking About Food

1. Block Your Sense of Smell and Taste

Just the smell of food can bring on the urge to eat, whether you're hungry or not. If you know you'll be around food smells, suck on a peppermint breath strip or a menthol cough drop. Either of these will overpower the taste buds and mask other food smells. Even the aroma of pizza can be suppressed with this little trick.

2. Truly Hungry, or Merely Bored?

Boredom often results in food cravings, whether or not you're hungry. Keeping busy between meals is not only productive, but can keep you from snacking. Then, at mealtime, you'll be hungry enough to eat a proper meal. To overcome boredom, find something to do, such as gardening, reading, go for a drive, exercise, or clean out the garage. Engage in useful activities such as volunteer work, visiting a sick neighbor, or writing encouraging notes to someone.

3. Out of Sight, Out of Mind

If you really want to know how to stop thinking about food, here's a thought: If you can't see it, it won't be so tempting. A candy bar in the freezer won't be as easy to snack on as one on the coffee table. Keep healthy foods at eye level in your fridge or pantry. You may not be as tempted to snack on a raw carrot as leftover lemon pie. Keep foods out of sight even in the kitchen and don't stash snacks all over the house.

4. Can You Afford It?

Liken calories to dollars. You only have so many that you can "spend", or consume, in one day to maintain your weight. Do you really want to blow your entire "budget" of calories on one hamburger, fries, and milkshake and not leave anything for breakfast or supper? Your goal should be to choose low-calorie, yet filling foods that are satisfying as well as delicious. But leave leeway for a treat now and then so you don't binge on calorie-laden foods.

5. Plan Ahead

If you haven't eaten a nourishing breakfast, you may be craving a snack in mid-morning. The same goes for lunch. When your blood sugar plummets, you'll want to eat anything that's handy and quick, such as a candy bar or bag of chips. To avoid unhealthy choices, prepare snacks ahead of time. Place mixed nuts and raisins or ready-to-eat raw veggies into small-sized baggies. It's best, however, to eat good, nourishing meals, then nothing between meals.

6. Keep Busy

How to stop thinking about food? Find something to do with your hands, even when relaxing in the evening in front of the TV. When your hands are busy, it's a little harder to snack. Knit, crochet, embroider, do puzzles (jigsaw, crossword, Sudoku, etc.), assemble a model kit, sew, or give your spouse a foot massage. If you crave something in your mouth, chew gum. You can't eat with gum in your mouth.

7. It's Food–Not a Therapist

Don't substitute food for emotional needs. Don't give more power to food than it really has. Food can't take the place of a good relationship, a satisfying job, or a cheerful attitude. When you think you deserve a reward, buy yourself a new book, a shirt you've wanted, a CD, or some new nail polish. Not only are these things calorie-free, they'll last longer than will a brownie or an ice cream cone.

8. Stay Away from the Kitchen

If food is your obsession, stay out of the kitchen until it is time to prepare the next meal. Choose to eat two or three nourishing, satisfying meals each day, then stay away from the kitchen. Some older houses had doors on the kitchen that swung shut, which seems like a good idea. Many modern homes have the kitchen integrated into a family room, making it harder to stay away from the food. It may take time, but you can wean yourself away from unhealthy food obsessions.

Part 2: Other People's Experiences About Controlling Food Obsession

If you're bothered by how to stop thinking about food, you're not alone. Learn what other people have done to deal with the similar question.


"I've had a similar problem. For me, drinking water is helpful. Most people don't drink nearly enough water. Often, thirst can be mistaken for hunger. If I still feel hungry, I'll make a cup of herb tea. If I have to be idle for a while, I find myself craving a snack more then than when I'm occupied. Anxiety often causes me to eat when I shouldn't, also."

"Do something! Go for a walk, read, clean, anything to keep you from thinking about food. It's best to get out of the house and away from the food. Even though I dislike it, I'll get on the treadmill for a while to keep myself out of the fridge."

"Each person is different, of course, but I have discovered that by focusing on improving myself and spending time with people helps me to think of other things rather than food. As a recovering binge-purge subtype anorexic, I now think of the things I've missed because of my eating disorder. Rather than food, I focus on the books I wish to read, places I want to go, learning to play an instrument, and spending time with people."

"I find that planning my meals ahead of time helps to keep me in line. This way, I'm not constantly worrying about how many calories I have left in the day. I can make adjustments as needed, but the planning keeps me from worrying about it."