Back to Blog

How to Shift Your Language Around Food To Help You Overcome Bingeing

Jan 25, 2021
speech bubbles

The language you use around food out loud and in your mind is powerful! I’m going to show you how to be mindful of it and learn to use it to your advantage instead of disadvantage. 


“I didn’t exercise today so I can’t have any cake at this party”


“I feel a bit fat today so I’m going to skip lunch”


“I ate really bad yesterday - what is wrong with me, why can’t I stick to this diet??”


Do these kinds of thoughts sound familiar to you?


If you’ve been stuck in dieting and bingeing for years, or even months, there is no doubt that the language you use in your mind has evolved. It is not the same as when you were carefree around food, or when you were a child. Can you imagine your child self saying any of those phrases above!

This change of self-talk creeps in gradually so it’s hard to even notice! It becomes the new norm. But it’s dangerous because the language you use with yourself - the rules, expectations and thoughts - they shape your emotions and your actions. They also continue to reaffirm beliefs. And beliefs are the center of EVERYTHING we do!

Most of the time these thoughts cause feelings of shame, guilt and low self-esteem. That often leads to restriction. We feel we’ve done something wrong, eaten too much, or aren’t deserving of food. And we all know by now that restriction = bingeing.

When you really zero in on all of these thoughts, what lies underneath is a lack of self-love. It sounds corny but that’s so often what it comes down to with our food and body relationships. Let’s break down each of the example thoughts from above. How are they demonstrating a lack of self-love and how could they we worded better:

 “I didn’t exercise today so I can’t have any cake at this party”

Just because you didn’t work out doesn’t mean you need to restrict yourself. You don’t need to deny yourself a bit of joy while celebrating at a party. Cake doesn’t need to be earned through exercise. Linking words like ‘can’ and ‘can’t’ to different foods or food groups is harmful too. You can eat whatever you want!

“I feel a bit fat today so I’m going to skip lunch”

When we say we feel fat, often times we really mean we’re not feeling at our best or we’re having a bad body image moment. Unfortunately, we’ve associated feeling fat with unwanted feelings due to negative stigma around the word fat. So just because you’re feeling down in some way, doesn’t mean you need to restrict yourself of nourishment. True self-love would look differently, wouldn’t it? Would you tell a child or friend, “You seem fat today so you should skip lunch”. Hell no!!!


“I ate really bad yesterday - what is wrong with me, why can’t I stick to this diet??”

What about your food choices yesterday were ‘bad’? Using language like that is always going to be followed with emotions of shame and guilt. Especially when you top it off with ‘what’s wrong with me’. Nothing is wrong with you! (Hint: You’ve just been sucked into dieting mindset like millions of us do!). If what you mean by eating ‘bad’ is food that doesn’t make you feel your best or isn’t nourishing, then say that instead. There’s nothing wrong with choosing the less ‘healthy’ options for a day - we’re all human! Instead of berating yourself, think about how you can now serve yourself to fill your body with the nutrition you feel like you need.


Actually stopping and breaking down each thought can be eye-opening, right? Sometimes we forget that the voice inside our head doesn’t control the show completely - it can be questioned and convinced otherwise. Filling your mind with more compassionate and non-judgemental thinking can transform your emotions and actions. It can make you feel so much more relaxed and at peace around food and your body.




Spend the next day noticing your food thoughts. Do this in a genuinely curious and kind way. You may surprise yourself when looking out for what self-talk goes on because it’s been so ingrained for so long. When a thought comes along, step back and notice it. “How interesting!”, you might think. Ensure you remain non-judgemental and loving. There’s no point in putting yourself down at this point. Then note it down - whether that’s on your phone or on paper. Gather a list throughout the day. You can even take some time to think about other thoughts you may have had in the past, i.e. they don’t have to only be ones from that day.



This might sound silly, but I find it helpful to detach myself from that voice in my head. That voice doesn’t have to be you. That voice isn’t the pure truth, it’s just one perspective. So give it a name, an alter-ego - kind of like the devil on your shoulder! This can help you step back and notice the thoughts with kindness. And to realise that they’re not you and they can be changed for the better.



By the end of the day, you’ll have a list of thoughts related to food. They might be insults, do’s and don’ts, what’s forbidden, how many calories are in something, self-talk around your current mental or physical state because of the way you eat. Anything!


Now, I want you to spend some time going through each thought. Break it down like we did above. Why does the thought not demonstrate self-love? How does the specific language make you feel and act? Do you think any of it contributes to your desire to binge in some way?


Then, importantly, I want you to rewrite that thought. Go through each one and write a more compassionate, loving, useful response. A response that won’t drag you down further into bingeing and dieting. But one that will lift you up and make you feel relaxed. One that makes you feel like you’re talking to your best friend.




“I didn’t exercise today so I can’t have any cake at this party”

could look like….

“I didn’t do much movement today. That’s ok - sometimes you need to rest! I know that food and exercise aren’t an exchange system. Can’t wait to enjoy some cake tonight at the party!”


“I feel a bit fat today so I’m going to skip lunch”

could look like….

“Having a bit of a low body image day today. I’m only human, we all have them! Let me look after myself by having a nourishing lunch”


“I ate really bad yesterday - what is wrong with me, why can’t I stick to this diet??”

could look like….

“I allowed myself to indulge yesterday (it was yum!). Today, I’m going to hop back into my routine of gentle exercise and nourishing foods while still having the stuff I bloody love too!”



It’s super helpful to apply this on-the-go in your daily life. Try to be aware as thoughts are coming in. Apply your new transformed thoughts instead. “Hmmm, I noticed I’m still using the word “bad” to describe brownies. That doesn’t really serve me, so I’m going to go with this instead: __________”.


Are you ready to completely change the words you use around food? It would be awesome to see your transformed thoughts! Share them with me on Insta!

Start your food and body healing journey with the FREE masterclass

"Why You're Still Binge-Eating & How To Stop"