Why am I obsessed with food?

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Food restriction can lead to food obsession

Your body and mind combine a highly complex system that knows what it needs for survival.

You may have noticed that as soon as you start to restrict your food intake you have food thoughts followed an overwhelming food preoccupation that forces you to eat.

Food restriction causes your body and mind to send out powerful messages to eat; this is a normal response to starvation.

What is food obsession?

Food obsession is when food thoughts are taking up a large part of your day and night, you may even dream or daydream about food. Food obsession can mean constantly thinking about what your next meal will be, calculating how many calories you just consumed, or how many calories will be in your next meal, what foods you would love to eat but are depriving yourself of, your next binge, and any other food thought that lingers persistently.

You are not mad!

Intense food preoccupations and foods thoughts can be frightening, many people can’t understand why they experience them and believe there must be something wrong with their mind. 

Food thoughts are known to get in the way of enjoying time with friends and can even interfere with school or work. Many people with bulimia report that they constantly think about their next binge or constantly worry about their food intake. Overtime this can become frustrating and difficult to cope with.

You are not mad, food preoccupation and food obsession may be a result of a poor diet and malnutrition. Research has shown that food obsession can resolve itself when eating normalizes and the body gets balanced again.

Food obsession is a symptom of semi-starvation

Research shows that food obsession is a symptom of semi-starvation and malnutrition. This was well documented in the Ansel Key’s semi-starvation study, 1950. The male participants of the study endured half their normal calorific intake for a period of three months followed by three months of re-feeding. Almost all of the men reported intense food preoccupation and food obsession for this period and even after the three months of food restriction had ended. However after several more months of eating normally the men reported that their food obsession started to disappear.

The Study found:

•    Food was the main topic of conversation with the men each day
•    During the study the main reading material was recipes and food menus
•    The men continually thought about food

•    Many planned out how they would eat their next meal
The men suddenly gained an interest in cooking
•    One man stole food
•    Several men hid food in their rooms
•    Most men reported binge episodes after the three month period had ended.
•    Many reported food preoccupation after the three months had ended

Bulimia and food obsession

When you break the rules of your strict diet plan it normally results in feeling like a failure, this leads to binging before embarking on a new diet plan. Over time this pattern leads to lack of trust with your body and a feeling of having no control over your cravings. This only promotes further obsession, ‘I must stick to my new diet’, ‘I must not binge’, and promotes more rules which build layers of food obsession. Over the years this way of living becomes very difficult to cope with; it also becomes very hard to remember what it was like to live without intense food thoughts and food obsession.

Food obsession and our society

It’s fair for our society to take some blame for a nation of food obsessed people, we are continually bombarded with diet plans, health warnings and expert advice on what to and what not to eat, overtime this can makes people confused and obsessed over what they consume on a daily basis.

There are thousands of conflicting health articles on food and many diet plans trying to sell quick weight loss solutions. However following diet plans for the rest of your life will mean continuing a lifelong food battle with your body and mind.

The information provided in this website is for information purposes only. The information on this website is NOT a substitute for proper diagnosis, treatment or the provision of advice by an appropriate health professional. Please refer to the full disclaimer and copyright. If you do think you might suffer from an eating disorder, it is important that you talk to your General Practitioner, as there are many physical complications that can arise from being at an unhealthily low weight or from losing weight very quickly, or from purging. We advise you to seek professional help with working on an eating disorder.


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