Jenni Leslie, MS, RD, LD, is a registered dietitian with McDaniel Nutrition Therapy, specializing in disordered eating, gut health, and weight management. 

We all think about food. In fact, did you know we each make more than 200 decisions about food every day? However, if you’re tired of the amount of energy you dedicate to thinking of what, when, or how much to eat or if you spend hours feeling shameful or guilty after eating, the question becomes: When do normal food thoughts become abnormal? Are my food thoughts supportive or sabotaging?

(Photo credit: http://www.locustherapy.com/th…)

During certain times in life, it may be natural for us to think about food more. Examples might include following a new weight loss diet, changing your diet to meet the needs of your marathon plan, or even eating to support your pregnancy. However, a fixation on diet and health (when mixed with other factors like stress, societal pressures, predisposition to eating disorders, or even success that leads you wanting more) can sneakily shift into disordered eating or unhealthy thoughts around food.

Do any of the following describe you are your eating patterns?

·             You have “rules” about what you can and cannot eat

·             You become anxious if you aren’t able to follow these “rules”

·             You find social situations with food distressing

·             You can’t be flexible about your eating

·             You ignore your hunger and/or fullness signals

·             You eat in secret

·             You take a long time to decide what to eat

·             Your mood depends on how “good” or “bad” you ate that day or what the scale says

If food, planning and preparing, body size and shape are taking up the majority of your thoughts, there’s a good chance important areas of your life are suffering. Relationships, productivity, and your social life can be greatly impacted.

Here are 3 things we suggest:

1. Observe your thought patterns and get a real sense of how much you think about food, exercise, and health

2. Ask someone close to you if they feel that you may have a problem or are struggling

3. Sign up with an expert. Jenni Leslie, MS, RD, LD is our dietitian who specializes in disordered eating and will help you re-establish a healthy mindset while taking care of your body.

Jenni Leslie

Jenni Leslie is MNT's expert in nutrition counseling for eating disorders of all sorts; anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder, orthorexia, and others. She is performs our our genetic testing service: Nutrigenomix. In addition to her work at McDaniel Nutrition, she serves on staff at McCallum Place, an eating disorder treatment center based in St. Louis, MO.