Wednesday, January 25, 2012

How I learned to think like a thin person

Comment Munchberry Re: Thinking about food all the time
Since your blog's name is the actual thing we are driving towards - you have far greater insight on such matters. I do wonder how to curb my obsession (I try) and how not to obsess on the curbing (so it won't take over my life - how it might become natural). I wonder if it is possible or if it is just going to be about finding work arounds. Any thoughts?
Yes, you can change how you think about food - curb the obsession and stop thinking about food all the time. I posted Have I learned to think like a thin person? to show how changing my thoughts changed my eating habits, but I didn't answer Munchberry's question (above) on how to curb obsessive food thoughts and how eating can become more natural. Hopefully, this post has addressed that question better.  

I changed my eating habits and obsessive food thoughts with cognitive behaviour therapy. I needed help; there was no way I was going to sort out everything without a professional. In therapy, I learned why I overeat (anxiety) and I was surprised to learn that the source of this anxiety is from decades of dieting, fueled by my own dissatification with my weight and believing others who told me I was fat, either in jest or because I did not fit their ideal standard.

CBT basically stripped away twenty-five years of dieting mentaility and in its place laid down a new psychological platform to develop a healthy relationship with food and eating. To gain this freedom from food, I had to let go of the one thing thing that for so many years gave me a sense of control over eating; dieting.

Looking back, I can see how my thoughts continued to build the dieting anxiety over the years to the point where I could no longer diet. If I could go back in time I would tell myself that:

  • Food is neither good nor bad.
  • No food is off limits, I can eat as much as I want, but I am choosing to eat healthier foods because it will make me feel better and I want to lose weight.
  • I'm not perfect, so I'm not always going to eat perfectly.
  • Feeling guilty for eating "bad" or unhealthy foods (or too much) will only make me want to eat it more.
  • Thin people who can eat whatever they want are not eating the amount of food I want to or all the foods that I want to eat.  
  • Food isn't always going to taste great and that's OK.
  • The more I eat fruit and vegetables, the more I will crave fruit and vegetables.
  • The more I crave fruit and vegetables, the less I will crave unhealthy foods.
  • Don't hold onto an obsessive food thought or craving, distract myself or let it go. There is no need to punish myself for having a craving or eating an unhealthier food choice.
  • It's not a race to get to the goal weight, so it's OK to take my time.
  • Even if I eat well and exercise, sometimes the scale will not reflect the effort.
  • Changing to a healthy mindset takes practice, but I can change how I think.

Am I the only one who eats, craves food and experiences obsessive thoughts because of anxiety from dieting? No, I think it's fairly common. Just think of how crazy dieting makes you think; how paranoid dieting makes you from eating certain foods or eating too much of anything even if it is good for you.  The all or nothing attitude that one must adhere to in order to lose weight.

So what do I want for you to get from this post? I want you to know that if you think about food all the time,  you can change; you can change how you think about food. And when you change how you think about food, you change how you eat.

If you are ready to change how you think of food, consider your own thoughts and what kind of impact it has on your eating; you can consider my list above, some points may speak to you; you can consider reading and using the techniques outlined in Judith Beck's book The Beck Diet Solution; or if you think you need professional help, consider seeking assistance from a cognitive behaviour therapist who specializes in eating issues and eating disorders.

Change starts with knowledge and a thought. You can change how you think. You can learn to think like a thin person.


  1. Thanks for sharing that. I definitely think about food too much! I think I have brought this on with years of yo-yo dieting, in fact. I've read Beck before but didn't do any of the work. Several gals on my "diet" forum really love the book and work hard on the principles. Maybe I need to revisit it.

    1. Thanks Karen. Thinking about food too much may be a result of yo-yo dieting, but you didn't bring it on yourself. For some of us, like you and me (but not all) dieting itself is the trigger.

      I'm hoping that at some point there will be a shift to incorporate healthy thoughts, less restriction, less perfection, less good vs. bad, less moral innuendo into traditional dieting.

      If your diet forum gals are using the BDS, give it a try, you have nothing to lose, except crazy food thoughts!

  2. I have worked through the Beck book twice and still use some of the food rules I created for myself.

    I am currently acting as coach for a friend who is working through it now.

    I think it is very worthwhile... but you cannot just read it, you have to work it.

    1. I agree, just like getting stronger, to reprogram your thoughts, you need to practice!

  3. Awesome post!! You sum up very well what they teach here at Green Mountain!

  4. I really enjoyed this post, so much that I'm linking it up to one of mine. Thanks for providing some clear direction on a very difficult problem.

  5. Thank you for that post and the link.

    I do believe not obsessing over food comes over time AND when you are not tightly restricting food (so that you feel hungry and therefor obsess on eating). Maybe that is part of the difference this time. I do small means too. Bigger at night. Some days I eat more than I want - but this time I can do it without having a freaking meltdown.

    That is how I see you. No meltdowns. You know what you need to do for health and you make decisions accordingly and allow for being human. I know that sounds strange, but consider diets past! Perfection or nothing. Eat right or all wrong. I think what you have hear is a foundation for health and happiness - one you choose every day. How freeing. I love your way.

  6. Wow, I really do like this post! Thanks so much for putting the thought into it and sharing. :)


Thanks for your comments, I love to hear what you have to say. While you are here, why don't you follow my blog too.

Also: I'm starting to get spam, so I've made the decision to moderate comments (unfortunately).