5 Thoughts to Save You When Eating a Fear Food
During recovery, there are moments when you’re challenged to eat the foods that freak you out the most. You’ll see that bagel, or slice of pizza, or whatever it may be and you will have the intention to eat it. But, as someone going through recovery, your relationship with food is most likely rocky- to say the least, so it won’t be as easy to “just eat” the food in front of you.
In this moment, you may get anxious. You may worry about calories, carbs, sugar, or gaining weight. You may start planning all the ways you could burn the calories at the gym. You may think of how to escape the situation (maybe you could spill water on the food or fake an allergy?). As you grab your fork, you imagine the numbers on the scale climbing, and your recovering body changing uncontrollably. The overwhelming thoughts and fears pile up and you’re starting to think you’re not strong enough, and maybe you weren’t ready for this like you and your therapist thought.
When you’re debating to give up, this is the moment where your thoughts are the most powerful. In this moment, it is time to let your healthy self (the part of you that choose recovery in the first place) to step forward. Hand that part of yourself an imaginary microphone, and ask for it to help you out with some pro-recovery thoughts or few handy affirmations.
Pro-recovery thoughts and affirmations can challenge your fears, provide immediate relief and help you muster the strength you need to push through moments of temporary fear. All you need is one recovery thought to transform the outcome of the present moment. Here are a few thoughts that you can adopt, during your most challenging food moments.
1) “I choose to fully participate in the human experience.”
Part of living a full life is allowing yourself to eat the delicious foods you enjoy. As someone who has chosen recovery, you have chosen to reconnect with this part of being a human. Food not only nourishes your body, but it has the ability to nourish your soul.
2) “My body will burn this energy first.”
Your body is built to use food as fuel to survive. Sugar, which fear foods usually have, is the first to be burned off. Your body can and will, process this food, and you will be ok.
3) “Food is neutral- there are no bad foods.”
This affirmation reminds us that the donut that’s currently on our plate will not make us fat. Even though we’re taught to think food makes us instantly fat, that’s not really how it works. In reality, It’s the behavior associated with that food, that might change your body’s weight. So, eating one donut will not change the shape and size of your body, it’s eating several donuts, several times a day (every day), that could potentially do that.
4) “I am aware that my anxiety is lying to me.”
Anxiety likes to play tricks on us. When we’re in fight or flight mode, it’s easy to believe the worst is going to happen. The truth is, nothing terrible is going to happen when you eat that fear food- it’s not toxic, so it’s not going to kill you.
5) “Fake it till you make it!”
That’s right, now could be a really good time to fake it till you make it. Encouraging yourself like a cheerleader (Thoughts like, I’m going to CRUSH this/ It’s game time, motherf*ckers!) may feel a little over the top, but it’s a great way to hype yourself up, and get in the best frame of mind for success. You may not be fully recovered yet, but you can act like it when you need to! With this attitude, you will inevitably keep proving to yourself and others that you’re ready to recover.
Meg McCabe is a Life Coach and Eating Disorder Recovery Coach located in Boston, MA. She's fully recovered from anorexia and bulimia and works to help people heal their relationship with food and their body. Meg utilizes her platform to interview recovered survivors about their recovery journeys and raise awareness by having vulnerability and honest conversations about eating disorders. When Meg is not coaching, she's the Communities of HEALing Lead for the Boston Chapter of Project Heal, and a health educator at Boston Children's Hospital. In her free time Meg loves to dance, take care of her plants, and listen to podcasts. Visit her Website.