4 Simple Tips To Face Fear Foods
WHAT IS A FEAR FOOD?
A ‘fear food’ is food once indulged in (either a type or amount of) on the regular, and then claimed it was no longer liked during an eating disorder, because of the fear of gaining weight. This includes those with high fat content, meats and ‘unhealthy’ labelled food such as ice cream, pizza, cake and chips. Fear foods and practices can also be as small as eating an entire banana instead of half, or adding a dip on the side for your vegetables. These foods placed in front of an individual should create strong anxiety.
HOW TO BEGIN FACING FEAR FOODS
In order to overcome your fear foods try out these simple tips that I found helped me:
- Establish which foods are least feared vs. most feared. Slowly progress towards eating your most feared over time.
- Pair a fear food with a ‘safe’ food when first introducing fear food back into your diet.
- Find support and someone to reach out too along the way – speak with someone you feel comfortable with about how you feel when you eat this way (nutritionist, family member, friend, therapist) and with whom you can express your feelings fully to.
- Ask close family and friends to eat these meals with you. You may feel overwhelmed by a lot of emotions during this time, but the one you share it with will encourage you to keep going.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
Fear foods should be tackled almost instantly during recovery – not when we feel ready too. It is important to understand that you create, once again, what normal eating should be like and also to make eating enjoyable once again. Likely, the sooner you start to introduce these foods back into your diet, a quicker and smoother process of recovery will occur. In all aspects of life, we know that if we want to overcome a fear we must face it – that still applies to eating disorder recovery. You need to challenge yourself to your food fears and practices, otherwise you cannot fully recover from restricted eating.
We have to get used to eating these foods because what if we become placed in scenarios where there is no other food options for us, for a lengthy period of time? We also need to be able to accept the little times where we can say yes to ordering a pizza when hanging out with friends, or going for a date at an ice cream shop.
A fear of foods will only create a negative impact on your life. Your only going to miss out on so many experiences because you avoided joining friends for a night out or ruin your time spent at family events… and personally I REGRET every time I said no in the past to going out.
Now I am so happy and relieved that I am able to say yes to ordering a pizza, to never saying no to cake at celebrations, and to be able to go to someone’s house for dinner (or out to dinner) and not be scared of the food I will be eating.