You heard it here first: it doesn’t matter if you think about food.
I found that this one key phrase was the most important in my final movement towards complete recovery. It stemmed from a conversation I had with a friend one evening. I was talking to her about food, and said that I thought about it all the time. She told me that it is either food or sex people think about, and then I realised the truth.Thinking about it from a biological point of view, our brains are programmed to survive and propagate. Therefore thoughts about food occasionally are good and natural.
Stuck in the negative self-talk, I chastised myself for my constant food thoughts. And it’s common understanding that the more you try to not think about something the more you think about it, and this became obsession in my disordered world-view. Suddenly I realised I had to let go and accept that I would have these thoughts, and they are perfectly normal to have from time to time. If I accepted I was biologically disposed to think about food, then I would be free from its hold.
And that is what I did.
Every time a thought came into my head about food, instead of beating myself up about it and frantically trying to push it away or distract myself, I let it sit there. I observed it, but crucially didn’t act on it, or beat myself up for it. I thought “Yeah I’m thinking about food, so what.” And then I got on with what I was doing.
It was a relief. Thoughts now pop into my mind and out again, I don’t dwell on them.
Don’t get me wrong, it is hard to change thought habits, but once you accept them and yourself, and realise there is something you can do about it without emotionally berating yourself, then a light appears at the end of the tunnel.