I want to preface this blog by saying that if you feel out of control around food, you are not alone. This is a common feeling that most women struggle with. I mean think about it – food is a companion, there for you in heartbreak, celebrations, and the only constant we really have. Maybe you weren’t allowed your favorite treats or snacks as a child, or maybe now you lean into indulging foods when you’ve had a hard day at work. It makes sense why there are times when we are out of control when certain items are placed in front of us.
If this sounds like your story or where you’re at right now, read more and learn how to break the cycle, for good!
How Do I Know If I’ve Lost Control Around Food?
The first step in regaining control around food is understanding how and when you let food control you.
Do you tend to overeat after a long day? Do you eat emotionally? Do you lose control around specific foods – i.e. Doritos or chocolate cake? When we think that we have had “too much” of a “bad food”, based on diet cultures unrealistic standards, this can be enough to induce guilt (often linked to fear of weight gain). We then revert to restrictive eating, which in turn fuels out of control eating. There are tons of reasons why you may be feeling out of control around food and there’s likely not one single trigger that’s responsible for it. It could be a result of our biology, emotions and environment!
Check in with yourself and ask yourself if any of the below apply to you:
- You find yourself daydreaming or constantly thinking about a specific food
- You mindlessly eat or use distractions as a crutch to eat more
- You feel guilt, stress and overwhelm after eating certain foods
- You have food rules that say you can’t keep certain foods around
- You sometimes feel sick after you’ve eaten too much
How to Gain Back Control Around Food
The cycle can stop! In order to gain self-control around food, we need to foster a sustainable, positive relationship with food. That even includes the food items you’ve told yourself you shouldn’t have! The loss of control you’re experiencing is most likely a direct result of the restrictions, rules, and morality around food that you’ve put into place.
Here are six actionable, expert-backed tips that may help if you’re feeling out of control when it comes to what you eat:
1. Do your best to eat regularly
Skipping meals or restricting food may be one of the reasons you feel out of control around food. Instead of constantly trying to “eat less” or “control yourself” around foods you enjoy, try to eat regularly and not restrict! All foods can fit in a balanced eating pattern and relationship with food!
2. Stop Labeling Food as Good or Bad
Thinking about food as good or bad creates those feelings of, “I should eat this.”, or, “I’m not supposed to eat that.” The root cause of this is assigning morality to food. If we can simply look at food as food, we’re then able to make decisions based on our wants, needs, likes, and dislikes and gain self-control around food.
3. Get in Touch with Your True Needs
If emotional eating is the reason you’re feeling out of control around food, then getting in touch with your true needs over any underlying emotions is key. What do you actually need? Connection? Comfort? A friend? Less stress? What other ways can you handle the situation other than turning to food?
4. Find Out What Else Sounds Enjoyable
We can often turn to food as a source of pleasure and enjoyment – however eating for pleasure is one reason you may feel out of control around food. Finding another activity (anyone else on PotteryTok and want to get into painting pottery?) can shift our body’s response to emotions like boredom or emotional frustration.
5. Build Balanced Meals
Balanced meals (those with a healthy fat, protein, and carbohydrate) allow you to feel satiated, energized and in the long term – satisfied. In order to really gain back self-control around food, be mindful about what you’re including in your meals and snacks. Use this FREE snack guide to get started!
6. Work with a dietitian
It’s important to recognize that with this work, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to healing your relationship with food. With that in mind, it’s important to consult with an expert – whether a licensed therapist or Dietitian (hi!) to determine the real causes for why you’re feeling out of control.
This is your sign to stop trying so hard to “control” food and instead take your time to mend your relationship with food this week and make peace with it. This will allow you to take back your life, emotions and get rid of the stress that food creates!
Ready to feel completely confident and in control of your food choices, all the time? Nourished Nutrition Breakthrough is a personalized high-touch coaching program designed to provide you with the guidance, personalized attention, and support that you need to achieve your health goals – and our next start date is quickly approaching! Learn more here.