Some Ozempic users claim that it silences “food noise”. But there are drug-free ways to stop thinking so much about food

The noise of eating or constantly thinking about food is not helpful for anyone’s mental health and well-being.

When we become obsessed with any one line of thought (in this case, food), we can become consumed by it and it is very difficult to think about anything else. This can be very distressing.

Some people taking the diabetes drug Ozempic for weight loss have reported sudden silence of food noise and cravings. But there are other ways to maintain a healthy balance when it comes to our internal food monologue.

A trace of thought

Constantly thinking about food is a common feature of an eating disorder. In fact, one of the main criteria for diagnosing eating disorders is concern about one’s body weight, shape and size. A person can use the control, or lack of control, of food to bring their body into line with how they perceive it should look.

A person with anorexia nervosa severely limits their food intake to the point where their body is starving. As a result of this deprivation, their brain is constantly thinking about food.

People with binge eating disorder and bulimia nervosa are also consumed with thoughts about food, including when they will eat, what they will eat, getting the food, and where they will eat it.

But it’s not just those with eating disorders who may obsess over food. If we are on a diet, undereat, limit our food intake, or overeat, we can become consumed by thoughts about food.

An easy solution?

As a clinical psychologist, I have treated many clients and helped people with eating disorders who can’t stop thinking about food. They have often tried medications and drugs to try and stop brooding over food, usually without success.

Or drugs are prescribed to reduce appetite, in case of binge eating and obesity. These might work and help the person lose large amounts of weight, only to have it all put back on when they stop taking the drug.

Diet drugs should only be used under medical supervision, and some diet pills can affect the heart, breathing, blood pressure, and brain.

Ozempic (and a similar drug Wegovy) uses the drug ingredient semaglutide to induce feelings of satiety or satisfaction. Semaglutide side effects can include nausea, bloating, constipation, and diarrhea.

So, it’s important to work on developing a healthy relationship with food and your body. Often a combination of psychological therapy and seeing an accredited dietitian is required.

Read more: Ozempic helps you lose weight by making you feel full. But some foods can do the same thing without the side effects

Understand what drives it

With clients, I start by working on what drives the food obsession. Is it due to eating too little? Not eating regularly enough? Have strict rules and what you can and can’t eat?

It is important to establish regular and adequate nutrition so that your body and brain are well fueled and you can make sensible decisions about the food you consume.

Our biology ensures that when we are hungry we will think about getting food to survive. It can make us anxious or angry, and it can be difficult to focus or focus on anything but food. So when we eat, our brain stops sending messages to eat and we can focus again.

woman bites bread with topping
Eating well and regularly can help us develop a healthier relationship with food.

The RAVES eating model is used for people with eating disorders to help them be in tune with their bodies, respond to their needs, and establish healthy behaviors. It’s about helping a person understand where their food rules come from, debunking myths about eating and dieting, and challenging unhelpful ways of thinking about food.

Many people with and without eating disorders have dietary rules about what they can and cannot eat, when and how much, and this makes us obsessed with food. Once you allow yourself to eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re full, and eat the foods you enjoy, you free your brain to think about things other than food and eating.

Read more: When I work with people with eating disorders, I see a lot of rules about “good” and “bad” foods, but eating is never that simple

A healthy eating mindset

A person who has a healthy relationship with food listens to the needs of his body. They have no food rules about what they can and cannot eat, and they feel comfortable in their bodies.

They can reject the media and advertising about diet and idealized bodies and are respectful of their bodies. When I work with clients we work on listening to your body, respecting its needs and treating it well. This is called having a positive body image, and it’s an important part of treatment for people with body image and nutrition issues.

Often it is a person’s perception of their body that influences the way they eat. Learning to accept your physical self and treating your body well, with good nutrition, builds a positive body image.

If you are concerned about your relationship with food or your body, we recommend that you consult your GP for a referral to a psychologist or dietitian. The Butterfly Foundation is also a great source of support for eating disorder information.

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