How can thinking about food affect the amount I eat?

Laura Katleman-Prue
Nutrition & Dietetics
Have you ever noticed that you don't tend to get hungry when you're busy and then, when you start thinking about food, suddenly you want it? There's a fundamental relationship between thinking about food and eating. When you're craving food even when you aren't hungry, it's likely that you're bored, tired, stressed, or trying to avoid something you don't want to do. You're probably looking for a way to distract yourself from the resistance you're feeling and the negative or stressful thoughts that underlie it.

These thoughts create uncomfortable feelings, and rather than ignore them or sit with them until they dissipate, you make a beeline to the refrigerator to change your experience. Yet when something happens that requires your immediate attention, food is the farthest thing from your mind. When the house is on fire, I guarantee that you're not thinking about your stomach. If you're thinking about food when you aren't hungry, try asking yourself, "What experience am I trying to avoid right now?"

The problem with thinking about food is that it leads to eating. Of course, this isn't a problem if you're actually hungry and it's time to eat. But if you're in the habit of thinking about food often, it's likely that you're eating more food, and more pleasure food in particular, than your body needs. Thinking about food can become our mind's default position, coming in whenever we're stressed, excited, overwhelmed, upset, elated, or bored -- any excuse to think about food will do. The key to skinny thinking is becoming more aware of how you think about food and how often you think about it.
Skinny Thinking: Five Revolutionary Steps to Permanently Heal Your Relationship With Food, Weight, and Your Body

More About this Book

Skinny Thinking: Five Revolutionary Steps to Permanently Heal Your Relationship With Food, Weight, and Your Body

READY TO END YOUR FOOD and WEIGHT WORRIES? If so, Skinny Thinking is for you. The only way to create a healthy relationship with food and stop battling with your weight is to change the way you think...

Continue Learning about Diet & Nervous System

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.