Ways to Take Your Mind Off Food

One thing that I never could quite get off my mind was food. I theorize it started when I was a small child. I just enjoyed eating. I loved desserts the best. We didn’t have dessert very often, but when we di,d I eagerly anticipated the cake or cookies my mom would serve after dinner.

When I was in high school, and I got my driver’s license, I began to think about food a lot. My friends and I would plan what we were going to eat for lunch and pile in someone’s car to run through a fast food drive-thru. After I ate lunch, I’d begin thinking about how I could fit in a fast trip to the convenience store before dinner to pick up a package of cookies and a coke. The same trend continued for me into college.

Once I went from an average sized to wearing a size 28+ clothes, food was the primary focus of my day. I was either eating, preparing or thinking about food all the time. I discovered I loved to cook and did so with abandon. I unfortunately ate with abandon as well.

Food, food, food. Dessert, dessert, dessert. Food, food, food.

When I was in my weight loss year, I still thought about food a lot. I think that’s pretty normal since eating too much food and sitting down all day is what caused me to get to 300 pounds. I did plan my meals pretty careful and monitor my fat/portion intake. One thing I had to do however, even with all the food planning and food preparation was find things to keep my mind occupied when food was ALL I could think of.

I had a particularly difficult time at night. My husband was working two jobs at the time so I was often home alone in the evening. The kids would be in bed and I’d begin thinking about all the desserts I could make like cookies or fudge. I found that I had to learn to keep my mind off of food long enough for the intense cravings to pass – or at least subside.

I discovered that keeping busy helped me. Here’s a picture of me looking at one of our family scrapbooks with the little boys. As you can see from the above pictures, I have more than 12 years of scrapbooks!  Scrapbooking was one thing I found to do when the mind-numbing food monster kept sneaking up on me. I started scrapbooking and haven’t stopped. I’m not a fancy scrapbooker, but just get the basics on the page.

In addition to scrapbooking, I learned to knit. Those activities kept my hands and mind occupied and helped me stay strong. When none of those things worked, I either called a friend or simply went to bed. Over the years the food thoughts have subsided, although with seven kids I still spend a lot of time in the kitchen!

What have you found to keep your mind off food?  Diane

27 thoughts on “Ways to Take Your Mind Off Food

  1. Fran says:

    Making puzzles or needlestitch, anything that keeps the hands busy. Watching tv or reading a book is too big a temptation. These days when I have a day where I want to eat I avoid sitting down in front of the tv or read a book. Instead I keep busy other ways.

  2. Jane says:

    Like the old Willie Nelson song, “You Were Always ON My Mind,”–that’s me and food. I think I have to face the fact that it may always be that way, so I have to figure out other ways of dealing with it. Now that I belong to a gym, going there to exercise is helpful, as are projects, such as on-line scrapbooking. Yesterday was difficult, because I had leftover sweets and snacks from a weekend of kids and grandkids visiting. By noon yesterday, I had put them down the disposal–they were calling my name, and I had to get rid of them. It worked!

  3. Jody - Fit at 52 says:

    Diane, I love seeing pics of your family time!!!

    I do still have food thoughts.. I have learned how to handle them & it is a way that works for me…

    BUT, I also may find other things like this blog stuff or doing other home stuff or just about anything to move away from the kitchen.. 🙂 Honestly, some times I start into this computer work & 2 hours are gone before I know it!

  4. Desert Agave says:

    My biggest distraction from thinking about food is writing, whether it be writing a blog entry, writing in my journal, writing email, writing in my reflection journal, writing essays, or writing poetry. Sometimes I use the writing as a way to explore those food cravings, rather than as a way to distract myself from them. But either way, there is no question that writing is a major tool for me in all this.

  5. Tish says:

    Exercise, meal planning, reading (thank heavens I never developed the habit of eating while I read!! I love to read), and watching favorite movies.

  6. Karen@WaistingTime says:

    Funny you should mention knitting because I have been thinking I should take that up for busy hands during TV watching. I scrapbook too but don’t take nearly enough photos for that to keep me busy. The best thing to take my mind off food right now is to visit blogs or work on my own. And to get out of the house! Which works particularly well for me mid-afternoon, so I now plan my errands for the time of day I most want to avoid snacking:)

  7. JourneyBeyondSurvival says:

    I use both your technique and Miz’s as well. I use several layers of defense, followed up by analyzing what why and where the craving came from. Especially if it’s intense. I also brush my teeth, eat a healthy snack, work on my computer away from the kitchen, fold laundry and watch a show.

  8. Hope says:

    Just plain getting out of the house helps me keep my mind off food. I think about all the pretty clothes I want to buy, and in order to fit into them, I need to keep away from mindless eating. Works for me every time! 🙂

  9. Amy says:

    Love the picture of you with the boys! I used to have really hard time with this – still do sometimes! I retrained myself a few years ago to not eat in the evening after dinner, and this is a big help because that used to be my worst snacking time, when I just could not get my mind off food. Now it’s probably late afternoon when it’s getting around time to make dinner. I try to make sure I have a snack around 3 or 4 so I am not ravenous and I try to keep myself busy with little household chores, practicing piano or working on the computer.

  10. Kara says:

    I use scrapbooking as a tool too. I just started back with that hobby after years of letting it fall to the wayside. But, I’m back in the groove again. I’m not a fancy scrapbooker either…but I do enjoy it and have met some new friends through crop parties. I am working on a weight loss journey scrapbook and it has been really neat to see it come together.

    I also do cross stitch and read. I can use reading as a tool because I never eat while reading…afraid to get the book dirty. And of course, cross stitching definitely keeps my hands busy.

  11. Kate says:

    I’ve found that just leaving the kitchen is my best defense. After a certain time at night, I head upstairs to read or sleep. Since hubby eats an extra meal late (thin as a rail!)staying out of his way at night is a good idea for me. I also try not to watch commercials (so many food ones!) or read through recipes in magazines. Both of those bring on food cravings I never would have had otherwise.

  12. 'Drea says:

    Actually, I find that when I’m away from home, I eat less — whether I’m bicycling or spending two hours rock climbing. So, I guess, when I’m exercising away from home it is helpful…

  13. Pam says:

    The funny thing is with me…the more I cook, the less of it I want to eat. Playing with my son, housecleaning…planning things all keep my mind occupied, although I still dream up recipes. : )

  14. Dr. J says:

    One of the advantages of eating Warrior Style is never dealing with food until the evening. Another is being able to eat whatever in the evening, a time when most people struggle with not eating. I’m not saying it’s for everyone, or even anyone, but it does have some advantages.

  15. Taryl says:

    I knit to not eat as well, on occasion, but my kids love yanking on my yarn and that makes it difficult, so it has been staying on the shelf more recently.

    Reading online is my other big distraction, I don’t snack while I type. But like Mizfit, I generally aspire to squash the feelings rather than ignore them, with varying levels of success 😉

  16. Sagan says:

    I like going for a walk, because it clears my mind and it helps me to figure out if I REALLY want AND need the food. Sometimes it makes me see things in a way that I had been blinded before when the cravings were too intense.

    Writing also helps. I get lost in my writing 🙂

  17. Christine says:

    I love scrapbooking too! (I’d love to see your spreads sometime. I love getting ideas from other peoples’ pages!)

    I also collect autographs. I get them by writing famous people letters to the effect of, “Gee I think you’re cool. Will you send me an autograph?” And they do! It’s a VERY profitable hobby, and the act of researching & writing distracts me from food.

  18. Diane says:

    I found in the past that quilting, embroidery or crocheting were great answers if I felt “snacky”. I never want to work on those things with dirty fingers ! If worst came to worst, a bath was the answer. You really cannot eat while in the tub or shower !

  19. Roxie says:

    Great topic, Diane. I keep a list of things to do in my purse in case I get too obsessed. I am, however, beginning to look things from Miz’ perspective. What is it that I am really feeling and what am I wanting to feel or not feel? I still mostly resort to distraction, but I am learning a bit more about why I obsess in the first place.

    Beautiful picture of you and your kids!

  20. Leah says:

    Read weight loss blogs! 🙂 Or lately, read my response cards from The Beck Diet Solution.

    You have great suggestions and am thinking of starting a new book and every time I want to eat when I know I really don’t need it I’ll sit down and allow myself to read for 15 minutes or so until the feeling passes.

    Thanks for this post today. 🙂

  21. Angela (the diet book junkie) says:

    i’m very forunate, i don’t really crave food except at meal time. but i usually go for walks at night, so that probably helps. i read recently that the key is to have food “out of sight”. literally. so keep your stash in a drawer, out of sight – out of mind. 🙂

  22. Lara (Thinspired) says:

    Similar thoughts to my comment on your other post! I think you’ve written about this before, but sometimes the only thing that works to get my mind off food is to go to bed. Also, sometimes I think I just tend to eat when I’m cold, so a hot shower often does the trick 🙂

  23. Tammy Winters says:

    I think so much about food I look for and write recipes down all the time. If I go down stairs or near the kitchen I am standing with the refrigerator door open or going thru cabinets looking for something to eat. I am crashing and burning here.

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