If you want to crush your food fear and stop restricting delicious foods, then it’s so important to face those fears head-on. That way you can heal your relationship with food and finally find Food Freedom! Here’s how to do it.
WHAT IS FOOD FEAR?
Food fear is the stress, anxiety, and guilt you feel when you’re indulging in the foods you normally keep “off limits” for yourself. The food fear feeling is most common when you’ve been following a restrictive diet and are faced with foods that don’t align with your diet’s rules or your nutritional beliefs. It’s the little voice that goes, “are you sure you should eat that?”
It could be the fear that eating these foods will cause you to overindulge, cause you to fall into a destructive food binge, or make you feel like eating it will make you unhealthy. For example, I know going low carb caused a ton of food fear around eating high carb foods. I felt guilty anytime I wanted to eat grains, fruit, potatoes, or beans. It gave me some serious anxiety around eating, which contributed to my struggle with orthorexia.
Some more examples are:
- Eating dessert at a party when you’ve been on a low sugar diet.
- Having cheese when you’ve been strictly vegan.
- Ordering sushi made with rice on a grain-free diet.
- Baking banana bread on a low carb diet.
- Having leftover lasagna in the house when you’re eating “clean”.
Food fear can happen to anyone, no matter what diet or food struggles you’re dealing with.
WHY FOOD FEAR LEADS TO SELF SABOTAGE
Food fear is super common when you’re passionate about health and nutrition, but it’s definitely NOT something you want to feel. It leads to self-sabotaging eating habits, especially if you have a habit of being super restrictive and then going on a food binge afterward (I call this the binge eating cycle, which I used to be totally guilty of following). Most simply, food fear makes you super unhappy and makes it nearly impossible to enjoy delicious foods without feeling guilty.
THE #1 MISTAKE IN BATTLING FOOD FEAR
We get food fear because we want to be healthy and reach our goals. We’re worried that, one way or another, breaking restriction will send us into a spiraling path downhill where we lose control of our health. So, to prevent that from happening, we avoid the foods we don’t want to risk “messing us up”. Like not eating that piece of banana bread because it has too many carbs in it.
But there’s a HUGE mistake in avoiding the foods that give us “food fear”. If you keep avoiding the foods that give you anxiety or stress you out – they’re only going to get scarier and more stressful and it’ll end up being even harder to prove it to yourself that you are allowed to eat them and still be healthy. We have to crush our food fear so that we can finally indulge in the delicious food we want to eat.
HOW TO CRUSH FOOD FEAR + STOP RESTRICTING DELICIOUS FOODS
Here are 3 crucial steps you need to take to remove the guilt and anxiety about indulging in your favorite foods.
1. GET CLEAR ON WHAT’S CAUSING FOOD FEAR
It’s going to have a lot to do with the foods you don’t allow yourself to have.
Make a list of which foods are causing your food fear and ask yourself…
- Am I following a restrictive diet?
- What strict food rules do I have?
- Which foods, if any, are off limits for me?
- What foods do I tend to overeat or overindulge in?
2. EAT MORE DELICIOUS FOODS
Because when you don’t have yummy, delicious, fun foods in the house – you wind up endlessly searching for something to eat because you’re never truly SATISFIED with your food. It’s not a good thing for your relationship with food if you’re constantly unsatisfied with what you’re eating in order to just be “healthy”. You have to keep a balance of being healthy AND being happy with what you eat.
If you’re not satisfied with your food, it can lead to binge eating and other self-sabotaging eating habits. BUT if you learn how to enjoy the foods you typically keep “off limits” instead of feeling food fear around them, then you actually HEAL your relationship with food.
Give it some serious thought and ask yourself…
- Am I eating foods I enjoy on a regular basis?
- Would I consider my every-day meals delicious?
- What can I add to my meals that would make eating healthy more delicious?
3. PRACTICE AND PRACTICE AND PRACTICE
Trust me, I didn’t get over my food fear in one shot. There were plenty of times that I tried to crush my food fear, but ended up overindulging and falling into a binge. AND THAT’S OKAY. Healing your relationship with food isn’t perfect. But the more you do it, the easier it gets.
Possible solutions include:
- Eating an extra serving of fruit with your breakfast.
- Adding a serving of whole grains to lunch if you normally eat grain-free.
- Making some freezer-friendly waffles and toasting those up for a sweet breakfast instead of a savory one.
- Indulging in something sweet for dessert every night – even if it’s just dark chocolate or fruit.
- Packing delicious energy bars (I’m a sucker for LaraBars) as a snack instead of a bag of nuts.
- Dressing your salad in a delicious dressing (it can still be homemade) for added flavor.
- Adding more sauces to your meals to spice up boring servings of protein and vegetables.
- Meal prep foods that you know you want to eat during the week (sweet potatoes, cookies, meatballs, etc.)
- Turn your healthy meals into tacos or pizzas with some tortillas.
- Experiment in the kitchen with new recipes, spices, herbs, sauces, and cooking methods.
TAKEAWAY: CRUSH YOUR FOOD FEAR BY EATING FOODS YOU LOVE
I promise, healing your relationship gets easier as you practice – but you have to start right NOW.
- Get clear on what’s causing your food fear.
- Eat more of the delicious foods you love.
- Practice and practice and practice!