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Facing Your Food Fears

If you are lucky enough to not have a single fear or anxiety surrounding food then I am seriously jealous and need to know how you do it.


If you have or do fear weight gain, loss of control around food, overeating, bloating, processed foods, or certain ingredients then I am right there with you! You are far from alone in your distress.


Thinking back to my childhood and early teenage years, I envy myself. I never looked at nutrition labels, ate the junkiest foods, consumed very few vegetables, and simply did not care what my diet looked like. However, as people around me starting to talk about diets, and weight more and more, the more I started to be aware of it for myself as well.


At some point, sugary foods, processed snacks, sodas, carbs and snacking whenever I wanted, became increasingly "off-limits"(this was another lead-up to my eating disorder). I labeled them as fear foods - I needed to stay away if I wanted to lose weight, look good, and be healthy.


Women especially, want to be thin and "socially accepted" so desperately. We are willing to go to extremes to reach our goals. For me, that meant almost starving myself, consuming the bare minimum each day. For others, it means different strict diets, maybe the keto diet, cutting certain food groups. Some purge after every meal, some partake in excessive exercise. Others dish over hundreds of dollars for programs that promise to shrink their waistline. The list goes on.


So, you "get skinny". Then what? Do you trudge onwards with your miserable diet? Do you go back to your old habits and gain the weight back? Are you finally happy now that you've reached your goal weight? Or are you sick of missing out on some of life's moments due to your restrictive diet? At this point, your fear foods are controlling your life.


Oftentimes we get so caught up in this obsession of losing weight and removing our "fear foods" and getting "skinny" over the fear of losing control of our bodies. We forget to stop, breathe, and assess our lives in the process.


The worst part about fear foods is that they become so out-of-bounds that you cannot trust yourself around them anymore. You get to the point where you don't even want to have a bite of the donut because you know if you do, you'll eat the whole dozen. When you teach yourself to avoid your fears, the amygdala (the brain's headquarters for fear) believes that you can't handle them. At this point you have to slowly re-introduce that fear, to allow the brain to reset its reaction towards it. Once you do this, the amygdala understands that this food is no longer a threat. It's not easy! I know! It is quite literally re-training your brain, but it is doable.


I've been there, and I will admit, there are foods to this day that I have a bit of fear about. It's an ongoing battle, but the more foods I remove from this "fear" category, the freer I feel.


Ask yourself: how is this fear serving me? How is it bettering my lifestyle or my well-being?


I challenge each of you to pick out a "fear food", something you wouldn't typically let yourself have, or that you avoid at restaurants/grocery shopping. Re-introduce yourself to that food. Just take a bite or two and then put it aside. Or eat the whole thing if you wish! My point is: that food isn't something you need to fear. Eating an oreo cake, Cheetos, or whatever that food is on your list, isn't going to hurt you. It doesn't need to be a part of your everyday diet but it doesn't need to be on the blacklist either.


Your food blacklist is creating unnecessary and additional fear and anxiety in your life. This is a great opportunity to help yourself out, release tension, and clear out that list!




xxoo

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