Food Obsession

The One Page Which Tells You Everything You Need To Know About Food Obsession

(Includes Tested, Highly Effective Resources On Ending This Monster)

You don't fight food obsession you outgrow it.

Since you are reading this page, I suppose a number of things are happening in your life right now:

  • Your relationship with food has become a big headache. And it’s impacting not only your weight but also your mental wellbeing right now.
  • You spend too much time thinking about food and your weight too, and you don’t know how to eat like a normal person.
  • You instinctively know that if you don’t get this problem under control right now, bigger consequences are going to happen. This is why you are finding solutions online right now.

Before you read further, let me introduce myself:

I’m Leslie Chen, Founder of Rise Lean and Creator of Lean Instinct Formula™. For 8 years, I’ve helped people move past obsessive thoughts and behaviors towards food and gain unlimited food freedom — while losing weight left and right. And 16 years ago, I myself was in your shoe.

I couldn’t stop thinking about food. I constantly counted calories and planned meals all day. I was on one restrictive diet after another. I woke up to reading my food journal from yesterday every morning. And I was borderline binge eating and found my weight being out of control. There was a lot of guilt and shame to go through everyday, and these emotions became the perfect trigger for one indulgence after another. Had I not recover from the food and weight obsession that year, I wouldn’t have been able to have the life I’m living right now.

So my intention here is to tell you everything I know about this food matter and an authentic method to recover from it which is proven working. I understand nowadays there is too much useless and misleading information online written by all types of writers. And I promise you the information you find on this page gives you the most credible, thorough answer on the food obsession from my best knowledge from 8 years of client success so far.

Leslie Chen Rise Lean Food Obsession Free

What Are Food Obsession Symptoms?

  • You can’t stop thinking about food and calories and can’t concentrate on other tasks.
  • You are afraid of eating.
  • You spend hours and hours reading and researching on food and creating meal plans.
  • You have a list of food that you tell yourself to get away from
  • You have psychological food cravings from time to time, and it’s hard to resist them.
  • It’s difficult to stop eating, and you realize you aren’t sensing satisfaction timely and accurately.
  • You are either too starved or too full.
  • You have an all-or-nothing mentality on food and snacks.
  • You’ve been trying to restrict eating, either by calories or by carbs amount, to lose weight.
  • You learned almost every diet rule, but you are still struggling with your weight. And because of that, you don’t know what to eat anymore.
  • You’ve been avoiding social events because eating with others makes you feel uncomfortable.

If your answer is “yes” to most of the questions here, you are likely struggling with food obsession. 

Can Food Be Addictive?

Is Food Addiction Real? 

According to studies published on National Institute of Health, certain food do have addictive nature, particularly processed foods with added sweeteners and fats.

According to Rutgers University, sugar addiction is very similar to drug addiction by nature.

A Healthline article stated sugar could be as addictive as cocaine as it activates the opiate receptors in the brain. And this alters a person’s brain chemistry and compels him to repeat eating sugar.

Meanwhile, a 2008 Princeton Study found out that sugar triggers more neurons in the brain’s pleasure center than cocaine. And another NIH study in 2019 has confirmed that fat addiction is a diagnosable condition.

There are a lot more studies to list here if we want to. And we have all the evidence pointing out to us that sugar and fat addiction does exist. It could well mean most junk food is addictive to some extent — given the ultra high sugar and fat content they usually have.

So in a word — food addiction is real.

How Is Food Obsession Related To Food Addiction?

It’s important to clarify that food addiction and obsession are different things: 

According to Dr. Alan Greene — a world renowned pediatrician and the author of “Raising Baby Green,” in medicine, the word ‘addiction’ is used in the situation when someone’s brain chemistry is altered to compel him to repeat the substance. It’s a neurological and biochemical condition. Food obsession, on the other hand, is a more ‘occasional’ word mostly used to describe a psychological state.

However,  the two are very closely connected with each other. And you may have one or both. Since our brain, nervous system, emotions, and hormones are all connected, it’s very common for the obsessive thoughts and behaviors towards food to evolve into food addiction as much as the latter enhances former.

And even though this article is written specifically around the obsession aspect, you should know by solving one, you are likely solving both at the same time. Want to read specifically about food addiction?  Read my articles Sugar Addiction Treatment: Stop Sugar From Controlling Your Life and How To Overcome Food Addiction

Food addiction is real

An Obsession With Food Is Called A Food Obsession. But... How Did You Become Obsessed?

There are a number of reasons why this happens to you. Some people gained it in early childhood where they got it from their weight-conscious dieting parents. Others got it through their own journey of dieting. 

  • Childhood Experience 

Say you grew up seeing your parents dieting and you inherited the belief that food is you enemy. You watch your mom counting every calorie and depriving all the ‘risky’ food. The more she struggles with food, the more her health and weight goes out of control, and the more she struggles further with eating. Having that as a part of your life, a subconscious programming that reinforces the obsession patterns got implanted in your head. You also started a wrong belief about food which leads to problematic eating.

It’s early programming which has been enhanced throughout many years. You may intellectually know that food isn’t your enemy now. But it’s still very hard to embrace food freedom and feel positively about food in everyday life. 

This is because you haven’t moved past the emotional pattern that’s coded within your thought pattern around food. So you think this way, but your body and nervous system feel and react the other way.

  • Diet & Food Restriction.

Food restriction creates obsessive thoughts towards food. The connection is far from the scarcity mindset and the cliche that we want what we can’t have. There’s a neurological story there on a deeper level:

Studies have found the reason behind food addiction and obsession is having fewer brain receptors for dopamine. Dopamine is the neurotransmitter responsible for creating the feeling of joy and satisfaction. And here is what it means:

When you deprive yourself and say no to the chocolate, you are further lowering the dopamine level your brain wants to experience. And that, by default, leads to stronger addiction and obsession.

In plain English: when your deprive yourself, you are commanding your brain to reinforce obsessive thoughts and patterns in a powerful, forceful way,

As you know, the brain controls and determines every part of our bodies, behaviors, feelings, decisions, and choices. Hence, pushing the restriction button sends cascading effects on all levels of our experience. There’s just no way you can fix any problems when going against your brain’s basic protocol.

  • False Beliefs About Food.

Regardless of the source of food obsession, fundamentally, it has to do with a core belief about food — that food makes you gain weight and is your enemy, which triggers fears about it. Self-deprivation is the result of that fear. But the more you suppress yourself on food, the more food has become the focus of your life just because of all the energy and time you actually spend on thinking about, justifying, or fearing it. 

That’s how obsession starts. You became your worst rebel, using overeating to make up for self-deprivation, and ending up finding yourself in tons of guilt and disappointment. 

Emotions accumulated and played the key part in extending this obsession. These emotions are your attachment towards food. And this attachment becomes obsession when the emotions are strong and negative.

To finally change your relationship with food and end the obsession, you need to first alter your emotional patterns towards food. That boils down to shifting this core belief you have about it,  that food makes you gain weight and is your enemy. 

And how do you change this belief? 

By shifting how your body experiences food, and seeing in your own eyes that you can enjoy food with unlimited freedom, satisfaction, and joy, while still getting fit. 

You just don’t know how to get that experience yet, and THIS is what I help you accomplish at Rise Lean.

What Are The Consequences of Food Obsession?

Common physical and psychological consequences:

  • Food Addiction — with brain chemistry altered to keep you repeating the substance.
  • Eating disorders such as binge eating disorder, bulimia nervosa, anorexia nervosa, rumination nervosa, etc. 
  • Obesity
  • Other chronic diseases including heart diseases and diabetes
  • Sleep disorders
  • Digestive problems
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Malnutrition
  • Depression
  • Low self-esteem
  • Hiding from social events
  • Sadness and hopelessness
  • Not knowing how to eat and not being able to eat intuitively
  • Constantly trying to meet a calorie deficit (read my post CICO Diet: Why It’s Not Scientific At All to break free from this mindset now).

The list goes on and on. 

If you leave this obsession unchecked, it’ll worsen and possibly become eating disorder such as binge eating or bulimia.

I myself have been there, and I’ll never forget that experience….

With hindsight, I certainly see value in that experience; for instance, it’s the reason why I’ve discovered a winning strategy to regain the elegant, blissful relationship with food which now I get to share with the world. However, I wouldn’t want to go through the pain again, simply because I couldn’t even be myself when I was immersed in the torrent of guilt and self-resentment everyday. 

Looking back at those months after my complete healing, it feels like I was possessed by something that I’ve lost all my power to. I compulsively put food into my mouth despite how strongly it was against my will. I treated myself in the most horrible way by overstuffing my stomach. 

And when feeling the acute stomach pain form binging, I was afraid that one day, I could kill myself by doing it. When you are torn by the vicious cycle every day and can’t feel hope, it’s hell. (You can read  my story about my own healing here.)

That was what my life was like when I let my emotional patterns around food turn into the greater monster. 

As eating disorders bring you tremendous stress and steal your focus away from building your life, you’ll find your health, relationships, finances, and career deteriorate and your life’s passion gone — all because you’ve just lost yourself. 

But it doesn’t end here, because it’ll also impact your children. As a mother myself, I know for sure that you’ll try your best to protect your children against this excruciating pattern you are going through. But they can still get the insecurity and addiction because they are not only the beholder of your life, but also a part of it. 

My best advice for you: end food obsession as soon as possible, with expert help

End food obsession ASAP with professional help

What's Retaining The Obsession In You?

  • Belief & Emotions

The belief “I can’t eat what I want” spontaneously creates cravings. Once you make the effort to suppress cravings by disciplines, they actually become greater and consume more energy.

The chronic cravings, suppression, and the events of cheating on the rules — when mixed with a series of complex, negative emotions including guilt, fear, disappointment, anxiety, frustration, self-resentment — trigger neurological responses which generates the obsession and cement it in your psyche. 

  • Physiological Patterns

Problematic eating pattern contribute to a lot of stress which, as studies have found out, amplifies obsessive thoughts and behaviors around food. For instance, episodes of overindulgence of processed unhealthy food and sugar creates chronic inflammation and impairs the body’s hormonal balances, causing it to produce hormones and neurotransmitters that cause greater food cravings and obsession. 

I talk about how our body is chemically and hormonally retaining this toxic relationship with food in my articles Sugar Addiction Treatment: Stopping Sugar from Controlling Your Life, and Addicted To Soda.

  • Your Relationship With Your Own Thoughts

Also, from time to time, it may be hard for you to differentiate if you are addicted to food or addicted to the thoughts of food. This is because for a long time, almost every thought on food would bring you a series of thoughts that eventually bring about the cravings. Depending on where you are, you may crave bread as soon as you think about it; It’s very easy for that to happen because of the long-time deprivation mindset which always amplifies cravings. 

And here, what makes it so easy to happen is the lack of boundary and total independence from the thoughts that occur to you. A big missing piece is your relationship with your own thoughts. 

The above are a few essential aspects that are holding you back — your belief about food, your thought patterns about food, your relationship with your thoughts, and your body’s patterns that retain obsession.

What do you believe about food that's setting you up for a toxic relationship with it

Why Is It So Hard To Overcome Food Obsession?

It’s because you think you have to overcome it. The word ‘overcome’  carries too much resistance in its energy. It creates an extra layer of psychological barrier, making the addiction harder to get rid of.

The word ‘overcome’  also implies that you have to fight the obsession by over-controlling. The fact is: most people are taught to overcome obsession by avoiding triggers, resisting triggers, and disciplining themselves through various measures.


  • Identify the food triggers (for example, chocolate), and make sure you don’t see them at home.
  • Or setting some food rules for yourself regarding when to eat what — so that you aren’t crossing the boundaries.

No matter how hard you regulate yourself and follow these practices, you can’t stop food obsession without the following:

  • Getting your brain and neurobiology on board. Remember we discussed earlier restrictions only commands your brain towards forming stronger addiction?
  • Gaining independence from your thoughts. This is the ability to ensure you aren’t falling for every obsessive thought about food.
  • Breaking the negative beliefs about food at the root of your psychology. It’s these beliefs that are fueling the fixation and anchoring a negative, exhausting relationship with food.
  • Learning how to eat intuitively and experiencing food freedom and weight freedom at the same time. By ‘weight freedom,’ I mean achieving spontaneous weight loss if you are overweight, and effortless maintenance without being fixated on diets. It’s how normal people live. 

None of these factors can be missing if you want gain food freedom. They are deeply intertwined, too; for instance: 

Without changing your belief that food is your enemy and its variation, you won’t remove your self-deprivation tendency, which triggers restriction and turns your brain from working against you as explained above.

And if you don’t learn and actually experience weight freedom and food freedom at the same time, you’ll never be able to have positive beliefs in food. This prevents you from gaining a healthy relationship with food.

The conventional way of following rules gives you none of these core abilities that food freedom requires. That’s why you may have followed these practices for a long time without gaining any success.

You can have food freedom and weight freedom. End food obsession.

How To Stop Food Obsession

Here’s my winning approach: 

  • Step 1. Reconnect to your instinctive, core senses regarding eating.

I’m referring to your basic sense of satisfaction, hunger, tastes, etc.

For instance, if your tastebuds are used to the flavor of ultra sweet foods, normal sweet will not feel sweet to it. In my article on stopping sugar addiction, I shared an example that many Asian find it hard to tolerate the ultra sweet American desserts to the level that it causes physical discomfort. This National Institute of Health study explains it.

The key is: tastebuds can be retrained. If you’ve been eating unhealthy for a long time, your senses towards flavors can be easily distorted and resetting them is the key to eliminate excessive cravings. In that situation, retraining it back is necessary.

Similarly, if your sense of hunger and satisfaction have been distorted, you won’t be able to ditch calorie counting or create confidence in eating. And if you always suspect yourself to be overeating, you’ll always feel guilty and insecure about eating. Insecurity is another fuel for obsession, because it keeps you questioning yourself and thinking about food.

  • Step 2. Learn to eat intuitively with a good mix of clean, healthy, and pleasure foods.

This eliminates restrictive thinking and elevates your overall satisfaction, so that you are no longer fixated on limits and scarcity. In my coaching experience, it’s very obvious satisfaction is also the key to reducing excessive food cravings. When my clients can satisfy themselves, they naturally have much less psychological cravings.

  • Step 3. Start a balanced, pleasurable food routine which also enables healthy, organic weight maintenance.

And if you are overweight and need to lose weight, spontaneous weight loss.

This requires you to know where the perfect balance sweet spot is for you between satisfaction, practicality, and fitness.

Being able to achieve weight freedom and food freedom at the same time is critical to change the belief that food is your enemy and different versions of it.  As mentioned above, this alters your natural inclination of wanting to deprive yourself. And as we discussed earlier, when you stop depriving yourself with a comfortable, trusting mindset, you stop your brain from forming addiction further.

All of the above are key steps that help you experience food differently — from how your body processes and sense food to how your weight responds to it. To change your dominant feelings and emotions towards food, you have to change your experience in food. And when your brain and body experience food differently, you OUTGROW and FORGET the food obsession vs fighting it.

And THAT gives you the final answer:

The best way to stop this obsession, instead of overcoming it, is outgrowing and forgetting it.

Obsession is a stage. Moving past it is just like toddlers outgrowing their finger sucking obsession. When your instinct, routine, and core senses are normal and functional, it’s a natural, spontaneous process requiring very little interference.


3 steps to stop food obsession

So…What’s Food Freedom Really Like?

I’d like to quote what I’ve previously written in Psychology of Weight Loss Motivation:

“Freedom is not counting calories, portion control, watching the clock to see when you can eat next, or feeling like you’re failing when you eat something you didn’t intend to eat. It’s getting back in control without following a bunch of rules.

Freedom is having less food preoccupation, reduced stress, lower rates of disordered and emotional eating, a better body image, and higher self-esteem and contentment. “

You’ll find out it’s not even about mindful eating. Instead, it’s rather mindless eating because intuitive, balanced eating is less of an acquired skill but more of an instinct. 

Think about it: you don’t count the seconds of each breath to make sure you aren’t overly inhaling oxygen. Why do you need to count the calories of every meal to make sure you aren’t overeating? To learn how to restore that instinct, I’ve given very in-depth information on my Lean Instinct Formula™ page.

Reflect On This:

If you don’t count the seconds of each breath to make sure you aren’t overly inhaling oxygen.... And if you don't count the inches between your feet to make sure you aren't stepping on yourself when you walk....

What on earth makes you think you need to count the calories of every meal to make sure you aren’t overeating?
— Leslie Chen

Real Life Success Stories

That’s a lot of information so far. But what if you are still struggling with believing that you have this ability of moving past food obsession?

What if you still can’t see the possibility of gaining food freedom and weight freedom at the same time just because you’ve never experienced it in your life?

Meet Janina.

She was exactly where you are right now. Couldn’t stop thinking about food. Couldn’t stop thinking about her weight. Spent all her life dieting only to find herself stuck in a toxic relationship with food.

After learning how to reactivate her instinct for gaining food freedom and weight freedom at the same time, she muted her intense food cravings in just a few weeks. She was able to eat freely while still losing 20 pounds….in 4 months.


Also meet Kyra.

The same problem. The same struggles. The same history of spending a decade trying to figure this out through conventional methods of avoiding triggers but to no avail. Her result? Lost at least 10 pounds within 4-5 weeks AFTER embracing food freedom and still counting.

There are more examples there. And if you really want to learn the anatomy of why you can totally satisfy yourself while getting fit organically, read my post The Easiest Diet To Follow and An Unexpected Talk On The Secret Of Weight Loss. I show you in these articles that food per se isn’t even the culprit of the weight problem to most people. 

Stop It Now...Before It Storms Your Life

I can give you as much information as you need on resolving this issue. If this page isn’t enough, I’ve even got a webinar for you named The 5 Best Kept Secrets To Enjoy UNLIMITED Food Freedom While Gaining A Head-Turning Body, which gives you the next-level strategy that’ll help you create a blissful relationship with food while achieving your weight goal. You can sign up for the webinar and get a 24-hour pass to watch it for free.

However, reading and researching can only get you this far. If you are ready to take the real actions to permanently rewrite our psychological, emotional, and physical patterns around food, and you are ready to learn from an expert, book a 1:1 Clarity Call with me. We’ll assess your situation and unique challenges over the phone and formulate an effective, personalized plan to help you reset your relationship and experience with food while losing weight reliably. 

Leslie Chen — Founder of Rise Lean and Creator of Lean Instinct Formula™.

For 8 years, Leslie has been helping high-achieving professionals who struggle with problematic eating and weight patterns create a blissful relationship with food while losing weight left and right. 

Her proprietary system Lean Instinct Formula™ leverages powerful wisdom from Asia which helps people achieve food freedom and weight freedom in weeks by reactivating their dormant instincts. Her FREE masterclass can be found here.

Leslie Rise Lean - The ultimate freedom approach