Fixating on food and weight was my go-to coping mechanism for a few decades. It has the magical ability to consume your every waking thought. So, if life is stressful and your thoughts are scary or uncomfortable, what better way to shut them down? You fully focus on something else, like a complex food plan or a time-consuming workout schedule, then everything that was bothering you gets pushed into the background temporarily. When you're off in your head tallying calories or points, obsessing about what/when you'll eat next, you don't fully experience the stress or the joy of anything. You're there but you're not there. Emotions are blunted. Just what we want! So, it serves an important purpose.
The key for me to stop doing that was first of all to realize what I was doing and why, but then to question my stressful thoughts. It's funny how "Is that true?" can really knock the wind out of them. Taking the thoughts apart weakens the emotion behind them. It all becomes more manageable, so the need to escape is reduced. You can stay present, think it, feel it, and nothing bad happens. Staying present is another key. Are you here right now, fully experiencing whatever you're doing? Or are you rehashing past experiences? Or telling yourself scary stories about the future? The past/future stuff isn't happening right now. It isn't real. So, you don't need to worry about that. In the moment, everything is ok. Things like petting a dog, stepping outside to look at the sky, taking some deep breaths, or using your senses can bring you back to the present moment. What do you see? Hear? Taste? Smell? Feel? If you can focus on your senses while doing something mundane like washing dishes, it keeps you from getting swept up in the past/future craziness, or the diet math.
I had to shift my thinking just a little bit from wanting to look a certain way or be a certain size, to what I expected to gain from those. I had elaborate stories about what it would mean. I'd be confident, I'd have fun, I'd feel amazing, I'd love my life. The trick is to realize you can have those now. They aren't tied to numbers or sizes. I really love to feel good, have energy, be strong, be playful, be rested, and enjoy my food. When you pursue those FIRST, the body tends to reflect it over time. If you pursue a quick change in size and weight first, all those deeper priorities are sacrificed. You eat food you hate. You lose sleep to get up early and workout. Your performance suffers because you aren't eating enough. It ends up being a miserable unsustainable pursuit. So, think about the food and fitness options that will be fun and make you feel great. You can't go wrong with that.