Do You Have Food FOMO?
If you started drooling seeing this photo… you are not alone.
I didn’t know that I will be talking about this here as a “real thing”. As I have been feeling so ashamed even thinking about it. Seeing someone eating something delicious or even seeing a photo of good-looking food on Instagram made me think “I need to eat this now!” and if I don’t have it I feel that I’m missing out on something that others are enjoying. I’ve been feeling this all the time no matter whether I am hungry or not. just ate or have my own food that needs eating. Even if the food is out of my comfort zone the only thought that I had in such moments was that I want to enjoy this right now. I even start imagining myself eating the food and trying to remember how it feels in my mouth… For me it wasn’t something that I’m proud of, I was actually ashamed… And no matter how much I try to stop these thoughts they keep on coming.
I didn’t know it was a thing until I decided to write up my symptoms on Google this weekend. Turned out that I’m experiencing something called “food FOMO”. Yep, fear of missing out. You maybe heard about the fear of missing out on events, parties, social gatherings, and social media before, but food? Well, while I am still feeling annoyed and want to stop this, I feel a little bit better knowing that I am not alone in this. A lot of people are actually experiencing the same issue.
If you are a healthy person, chances are you have gone through this at least once in your life. To explain food FOMO better lets say that you went to your friend’s house and she bakes a dozen cookies, or that your friends decided to have pizza at work. Despite the fact that you are not hungry, and have had both cookies and pizza many times in your life, you just can’t help but think that you should try them again. another symptom is that you eat as much as you could for worrying about when you could eat that food again… I know how uncomfortable this can be especially for a healthy person!!
The good news is that this mouth-watering-over-everything issue can be dealt with. Here are some strategies I started following to deal with this uncomfortable situation.
1 || Think Of The Whys
By only realizing the issue you’ve already gone a long way. The next step would be to establish the whys… Ask yourself why do I have this issue? It might be because you are thinking about food all the time making it hard to focus on other areas of your life, you don’t feel satisfied no matter what and how much you eat (you always want more), you are worried about when you’ll have this kind of food again, your health goals and self-view suffer or you think that food will make up for your dissatisfaction with your life. Many reasons can contribute to this feeling and without knowing more about why is your relationship with food is causing you a problem you won’t be able to make changes.
2 || How Your Relationship With Food Got To This Point?
I think for me it is about the fact that I have a lot of food limitations as I love to stay healthy. Since I was a child, I wasn’t allowing myself to eat candies, chips, or chocolate like other kids for the fear of losing my body shape. Also, when it comes to food, I am a creature of habit; I like to eat according to a schedule whether I am hungry or not, or whether this meal is what I crave now or not. For example, I have always believed that I need four meals a day: Breakfast, a healthy snack, lunch, and dessert to stay on top of my fitness goals. So I wake up in the morning thinking that I need to have my breakfast before 12 pm in order to have my lunch at 3, 4, or 5 max. If I craved a mug of Nescafe and a piece of chocolate, or the really good dessert from last night before my breakfast, I can’t skip breakfast even if I am not hungry anymore fearing that I will be ruining the schedule. I also hate it when I visit my friends and they bring out-of-my-plan food… no matter whether I am hungry or not, I can’t say no to some food, or even if I ate a little bit out of the plan I feel so bad and either ruin the whole day or keep blaming myself about this. It might be because you are an emotional eater too. The thing is that there shouldn’t be a fixed plan when it comes to food. Yes you can say to yourself today I want to eat healthy, but leave a space for spontaneity. If you are not hungry in the morning don’t fear skipping your breakfast and replacing it with a snack instead. I know you might say in this case I will be hungry soon so I will have my lunch early so I will need more meals this day. While it is totally fine as long as you are aware of the quantities you are having. But you can actually snack first, then if you got hungry eat your breakfast even if it is late. You can snack twice before lunch too.. There are many options just be open.
3 || Set Your Life Goals
Well, sometimes emptiness and not knowing where we are going with our lives can really make us turn our focus on less important things. There is an Arabic saying for Ibn Alqayyem that says “فهي النفس إن لم تشغلها بالحق شغلتك بالباطل” which translates “Your soul; if you don’t occupy it with that which is righteous, it’ll occupy you with that which is iniquitous.” and don’t get me wrong I am not saying that thinking about food, trying to eat mindfully, and enjoying it is wrong, but it’s not meant to be everything that you think about in life. Setting your career, financial, social, hobby and fitness goals can give meaning to your life shifting your focus to achieving more and improving yourself on many levels. Food is fun, but being too busy with your accomplishments, socializing, and enjoying life that you have little time to think about food is much more fun. Focus on what brings you real joy.
4 || You Might Need To Detox Your Social Media Feed
Turn off the triggers. Try to personalize your social media feeds so you are not met with pictures of hearty takeaways, lavish breakfasts, and indulgent desserts whenever you go for a scroll.
5 || Don’t Under Estimate the Power of Self-Talk
Shift your focus from “look what I can’t have” to “look what I can have”. Enjoy what you’re having right now at this very moment. By thinking of all the possible food that you can eat now you won’t enjoy any as you can’t eat them of course, and you won’t be enjoying what you are eating now.