How To Stop Food Noise Naturally

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It was only a few months ago that I first heard the term “food noise”. A neighbor of mine, who was taking Ozempic, described how she’s lost weight so quickly because her “food noise” was gone.

Not to be dramatic, but that (new to me) term described EVERY reason why I’ve struggled with my weight my entire life. It put into words for me how, despite knowing how to lose weight, wanting to lose weight and waking up every morning with the desire to lose weight, that I would give up on my goals by 10am.

The only way to quiet the constant thoughts around food, was to give into it. Once I ate, the nagging food noise would quiet down for a minute (literally). Usually not long. I became conditioned to quiet the voice with food, many times throughout the day.

So, when my neighbor talked about that voice being gone on the weight loss injections, I wanted it! Even being close to my goal weight currently, I feel like it’s a daily struggle to quiet the food noise. I feel like I’m white knuckling my way to stop myself from gaining the weight back, each and every day!

I talked about it a little on this article, Natural appetite suppressants, but since writing that I’ve found a fantastic research article that I believe to be so helpful.

What does Food noise look like?

Constant thoughts about what you’re eating next, what foods you are in the mood for, do you feel guilty about what you just ate etc can all be food noise. Here’s some specific examples from my food noise:

  • I walk into the kitchen, see the toaster, and think to myself, “A piece of toast with some avocado on top sure would hit the spot right now!”
  • Walk by the Built Bar display at the grocery store, and hear myself say, “I know you’ll be home in 10 minutes, but you haven’t eaten for 2 hours so you could probably have a little treat. That way you don’t have to eat RIGHT when you get home!”
  • I finish a task and think, “That’s finished. Let’s get a snack before you move onto another task.”
  • As soon as I’m done with breakfast I say, “Maybe have two more pieces of toast. It will keep you more full till lunch!”
  • We have plans to go out to dinner; I have a dialogue with myself throughout the day, “what should I eat so I can have “enough calories” for dinner?”
  • We are at a family party and on the way there I wonder what food will be there! I wonder if someone will have brought cookies and If I should, “just have one, or try to abstain”.
  • Sometimes the food noise is so distracting that it gets in the way of me being productive throughout the day.

How I quiet the voice of food noise!! (Naturally)

Unfortunately (or fortunately), I’m not a candidate for the semaglutide or GLP-1 medications. I’m close to my goal weight and the food noise isn’t loud enough that I’ve struggled with obesity. So, I have to figure out how to quiet the food noise that does bother me, on my own.

After reading this amazing research paper that identifies and categorizes behaviors, it makes behavior changes seem possible!


Or: Food Trigger – How You react – What’s the result

Our behavior regarding eating can generally fall into this progression. First, there’s the cue. Something tells you to eat! Second is the reactivity, or in other words how you respond to that cue. And third is the outcome, what happens after you respond to the cue.

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Food Trigger

Food cues or triggers can be external; sensorial, environmental or social. You smell some cinnamon rolls and want them. You see a cookie in your Instagram feed and suddenly, you’re in the mood for cookies. Or, you are out to dinner with friends and you eat bread from the bread basket because everyone else is.

These food cues are influenced by your emotions, your sleep, your environment, your food preferences, and even your weight.

The natural starting place would be to avoid the food cues to begin with. If you could stop looking at cookies on Instagram, the reaction and outcome won’t even occur. Some natural ways to quiet the food noise is to eliminate the food cues. You can minimize or eliminate these cues by:

  1. Cleaning up your environment: not buying the graham crackers, if you routinely crave full sleeves of graham crackers.
  2. Strategically planning social situations like eating at restaurants that align with your health goals.
  3. Learn coping skills to manage your emotions. Practice your first reaction to stress to journal, rather than eat.
  4. Practice Conditioning meal timing. Just like Pavlov’s dog, you can have specific eating window’s that become so routine that food doesn’t become a trigger outside of your eating window. (check out why 3 meals a day is so much easier for weight loss)
  5. Get adequate sleep! Many food triggers happen in the middle of the afternoon, when people are looking for a little energy or pick me up! Eating is a natural response by our body to get more energy. But if you are well rested, it minimizes that trigger.
  6. Check the side affects of your meds! Talk to your doctor to see if any of your medications have a side effect of increasing your appetite. I was taking an optional medication when I read some people reported it increased appetite. I feel like that was me! So, I stopped using it, and sure enough, I felt my ravenous appetite subside. Coincidence? Placebo? I don’t know! (FWIW it was a Testerone cream. My testosterone was pretty adequate (low but OK), and I felt fine without it. So, I chose to stop using it.
  7. Avoid visual stimuli– studies have shown, kids who are subject to food advertising, crave more of the food they are being advertised about.
  8. Associations– when you walk into the kitchen do you suddenly need a handful of cereal? When you sit down to watch Netflix, do you feel like eating popcorn? Know and try to break these food associations.

How to react to food noise

Acknowledging your trigger might just be food noise and not true hunger, sometimes it’s enough to just notice it and call it out. I’ve heard myself say to myself, “Hey. This is just food noise. You aren’t hungry. You just ate. Stop thinking about food.” and sometimes it’s enough to stop me from feeding it.

  1. Avoid hyperpalatable foods: The more hyperpalatable the food is, the more rewarding it is. This leads to bringing you right back to the trigger over and over!
  2. Choose protein and veggies. Fiber and protein are more satiating and for me, really does quiet the food noise! The higher my protein is for the day, the quieter the food noise is.
  3. Meal timing can be in both the trigger and the reaction. Create meal times ahead of time. If you have a trigger during the eating window, have that meal!
  4. Limit variety. While I enjoy food variety as much as the next person, It actually leads to MORE eating. People at a buffet that can try a little of everything have been shown to eat more food. Most people who maintain a lean physique have a pretty narrow list of “regular foods”, and often eat the same foods every day. For me, this looks like:
    • Eggs and a fruit or oatmeal for breakfast
    • Green salad with chicken for lunch
    • A protein treat or dessert for snack
    • A protein (like chicken or ground turkey) with a carb (rice or sweet potato) and veggies for dinner
  5. Journal! Instead of reacting to a nagging craving (or food noise) with eating, try journaling instead!
  6. Attempt to pay it no attention. You can divert your attention to something else. Something more enjoyable perhaps, like watching a juicy story on YouTube or reading a magazine or favorite book.

The outcome or results

After the reaction, the results are out of your hands. The natural consequences will follow. These are:

  1. A reinforced behavior that you give in when you have a thought.
  2. The reinforced behavior that you resist when you have a food thought.
  3. Increase in body weight.
  4. Increases in MORE food seeking behavior, even though you just engaged in feeding that voice.

Moving Forward

I truly believe sometimes just understand this behavior is enough to change it! Ask yourself if you are just experiencing food noise and if you can quiet it down without the use of expensive weight loss drugs. If you’re like me, and unable to qualify for such things, let’s do this naturally and set ourselves up for a life time of leanness!

Research Study Source

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