If you’ve ever had an issue with disordered eating, perhaps you might find help from some ways to stop fearing food that I’ve learned over the years. Many people don’t understand why some of us tend to suffer from dealing with food issues, but for those of us that have, we all know it isn’t about fearing food itself. It's more of a control mechanism we have that we use food as the tool for. Fearing food is actually a fear of losing control over other issues in your life, or it can simply be fearing calories from certain foods, and what those extra calories might mean. For me, I had certain foods I feared for years, and when I overcame those fears, I realized that it was actually much easier than I thought to overcome them. If you’re struggling with these same issues, trust me, you can overcome them with the following ways to stop fearing food.
1. Be Honest
The first piece of advice I have for learning ways to stop fearing food is to be honest with yourself about if you’re intolerant to a food, or if you’re just scared to eat it. I used food allergies as an excuse for years as the reason I wouldn’t eat certain foods. Be honest with yourself. If you don’t really know if you’re allergic, stop using that as an excuse.
2. Be Rational
I’m not saying because you avoid fast food or junk food that you should eat them, because honestly, those foods aren’t that healthy for you anyway, so be rational. In learning ways to stop fearing food, also realize that no one is asking you to go to extremes. Many people even fear healthy foods like inorganic vegetables or fruit, carbs from grains and potatoes, or fats from healthy foods like nuts, seeds, coconut, etc. It’s when you truly fear eating a food you know has healthy benefits that the problem exists. Be rational in your attempts to overcome food fears and start with the small stuff, not the stuff no one of should be eating anyway.
3. Write It out
On a piece of paper that no one has to see but you, write out just exactly what it is you fear about eating certain foods and what might happen if you eat them. Are you afraid of feeling full? Gaining weight? Having digestive issues? Or do you just fear eating in general? Learning exactly why you fear those foods can help put some perspective onto why you can’t seem to overcome those fears, and help you deal with them.
4. Fix Your Fear Food
Now comes the hard part. Actually go to the store, buy a food you might fear eating (unless you truly have an intolerance or medical allergen to it), come home, and fix that food into a meal or snack. Just taking this one step is one of the biggest pieces of progress you can make towards overcoming this fear of food you have. Also, if you can’t truly fix it yourself, see if someone like your friend or mom will.
5. Take One Bite
It all starts with the first bite, and from my experience, that’s usually the hardest but best part. You’ll realize just how much you missed the food, and that it wasn’t anything to be scared of. You’ll also feel like you’ve truly accomplished something and finally be able to heal from your fear of food.
6. Note the Changes
Now that you’ve tried a food you fear, note the changes. Do you feel sick? Do you feel good? Usually, a food you fear is actually very soothing, healing and helpful for you if it’s a healthy food as I mentioned above. I don’t believe any of us should be eating fake foods or fast food of any kind, but real, whole food is nothing to fear. If you tolerate it well, then keep eating it.
7. Deal with the Anxiety
More than likely, right after you eat your fear food, no matter how good it is, you might have some anxiety. Deal with it the best you can. For me, it was simply waiting it out. I realized that the food didn’t kill me and that my real issues were still things that needed to be dealt with, like control and lack of control. I used controlling what I ate to deal with others issues in my life. Finally dealing with the anxiety I felt after eating those foods led me to realize that other issues at hand still needed to be addressed.
Fearing food is usually never about food. Instead, it’s just using food as a tool to be in control. If you have food issues, or issues fearing food, what do you find hardest about overcoming them?