Since getting back on track, I have had to conquer many fear foods.
For someone in recovery from an eating disorder, this can be terrifying. Hence the name: fear food.
Fear foods are specific foods that induce a debilitating, high and intense anxiety in a sufferer. These foods are foods that they would NEVER eat because of some reason unique to them. The term fear food was coined by those suffering from anorexia. A more common term for those suffering from bulimia or binge-eating disorder is trigger food. This is a food that also gives a sufferer high anxiety and would also cause them to su an intense urge to binge or binge and purge.
Fear foods or Trigger Foods can be difficult to face or even think about facing so that is why I decided to compile some helpful tips that I use into this post.
For those suffering from bulimia or binge-eating disorder these tips will focus on dealing with fear foods since I am diagnosed with anorexia. These tips may be helpful for you in facing your trigger foods but I encourage you to seek other resources for facing them. I encourage you to visit my Recovery Resources page to find help for you. However, if you also have what you would consider fear foods then this post will definitely help.
1. Make a list of your fear foods and rank them from least anxiety provoking to most anxiety provoking.
This will allow you to have a physical list of the foods that scare you the most. Ranking them is helpful because I recommend that you start by reintroducing the least anxiety provoking foods first and work your way down the list.
2. Underneath each food write [if you can] why this food produces so much anxiety then write something positive to combat your fear.
Let’s say you don’t like X food because it is high-calorie. In order to combat this, you can write all of the health benefits of that food: It has a lot of nutrients. It will allow you to do the activities you love. You will feel reenergized after eating it. etc. I then encourage you to write the positive reason or reasons on a notecard or small piece of paper to have with you when you face this food.
3. When eating a fear food, pair it with a safe food.
A safe food is a food that produces either low or no anxiety for a sufferer. If you have a huge fear of chips and also hamburgers, instead of eating them together, try to pair each with something safer. If a turkey sandwich is safe for you, eat the chips with a turkey sandwich.
Disclaimer: These are just examples and have nothing to do with the nutritional content of the food. All foods are good for you, remember. It’s all about balance.
4. Make a list of positive affirmations on a notecard or small piece of paper.
Choose positive affirmations that you believe will help YOU the most when facing a fear food. You can also use colorful markers to make it more cheerful and positive when you look at it. Along with your combative phrase have this with you as well.
5. Eat your fear food with someone supportive.
Having someone their who can help you through the fear and anxiety is comforting whether it is a parent, friend, significant other, mentor, therapist or nutritionist.
6. After facing your fear food, engage in some self-care activities or do something fun.
I know the last thing you want to do after eating a fear food is reward yourself, but YOU DESERVE IT. You were brave today so do something nice for yourself. It will also be a distraction for wanting to act on other urges such as purging or exercising. Some ideas can include: going to see a movie, hanging out with a friend, taking a bubble bath, meditating, or playing with your pet. Choose something that will specifically help you.
I know facing a fear food can be hard, but you are strong and powerful! YOU CAN DO IT!
I hope these tips will help you and encourage you to think about facing a fear food soon.
Also, in February Jessica Raymond of Recovery Warriors uploaded a podcast challenging listeners to face their fear foods. Here is the link to the podcast. Listing to it really helped me and I believe it will help you too!
Remember: YOU ARE CAPABLE OF MORE THAN YOU KNOW!