Overcome your fear of food and overeating might be as easy as talking to somebody without them laughing
There is a fear in us all, and our own fear of food seem more dangerous, frightening, and insurmountable than the fears of others. Yet embarrassment of our fear of food often leads to silence, and silence leads to being locked into a fear for years, if not a lifetime.
Only yesterday I watched a friend’s hysterical reaction to a small spider, she was terrified. This friend has never been bitten by a spider or suffered in any way, but after being teased about spiders all her life she now feels there is no way back, no way to ever overcome her fear of spiders. I asked her why she was afraid of arachnids and she said it was so long ago that she questioned the fear she’d forgotten why they frighten her.
At times it’s easy to confuse a fear with a habit or defense mechanism. You are overweight, but you call yourself fat (motivational!) and because of this you don’t like to eat too much in front of people, you may even fall into the ‘secret eater’ category…So you are invited to a party with a buffet and you don’t want to appear a pig so you eat a sandwich before you go to the party, fill up on some carbs then pick at the protein. People may even comment that you don’t eat very much…At least not in front of people.
Perhaps your fear is feeling fat but you translate any excuse to not to go to a party or event because you have to squeeze into your clothes, you feel fat and you don’t want people to perceive you as fat, so you ‘create’ a fear of…This may sound harsh that you are creating fears but the same stories are repeated with people we work with. I would of gone to the party if…
Ask yourself why you fear buffets at parties?
I asked my friend if she if wanted to talk about her fear, not her fear of spiders, but fear itself.
I asked her these questions about fear (not about spiders!)
- Why do we place value on fear and allow it control our movement, decisions and thoughts?
- Why do the fears of others come across as amusing yet ours so terrifying?
- Why can we not distance ourselves from our fear?
[bctt tweet=”Fear is perception and if we can shift our perception we can overcome our fears.”]
A high number of people we speak with have a fear of food, clothes and buffets. We have to gently coax out their fears, normally this is because they feel silly and embarrassed.
There is a time and place for talking with a professional stranger and with family. Too many years of being teased by friends and family over fears different to theirs leads to closing down, to being locked inside the fear.
How can you overcome something if it is always greeted as insignificant or easily surmountable? Why should fears be compared and graded? My friend’s fear of small spiders is as real as a parents fear for the safety of their child, or someone else’s fear of food.
Why do so many people have a fear of food and the lifestyle they desire?
“I’m afraid if I don’t finish all the food on my plate I might be hungry later.” – Anonymous.
Terry McCarty, 29, who is originally from Hawthorne, Nevada, suffered third-degree burns, lost part of his fingers and thumbs, and required 58 operations after his entire body was engulfed in flames at the age of 6 as the result of a childhood accident. He was bullied as a child and called “Freddy Krueger,” but their was something in Terry McCarty that made him push on and confront his fear.
McCarty applied to become a firefighter in Washington State. In order to achieve his goal, he had to confront fire for the first time since the incident as part of his training. He says that, at first, he was unable to move and felt the way he had when he was six.
Are McCarty’s actions in overcoming his fear any more courageous than leaving food on your plate when you feel full?
Without detracting from the efforts of a courageous young man, if you align these fears and make yours seem silly in comparison you will be stuck in a cycle of inaction and forever popping that last mouthful of food that makes you feel bloated.
When you kick diets to the curb and embrace a lifestyle you can eliminate your food fears through admittance and action.
Telling somebody to put less food on his or her plate is easy and patronizing. Educating people on portion sizes, food preparation, shopping, and delicious alternatives takes effort and willingness by the client to embrace the change.
McCarty would of known when training that his fire retardant suit would protect him from the flames, but that does not mean he simply jumped into the fire without a care. Instructing someone to create a healthy meal, to embrace slow eating and taste their food does not remove the fear of food; it offers a platform for recovery.
Fear is not going away by itself, but confidence erodes fears, the more you do something the more you respect what you are doing. McCarty ‘overcame’ or ‘embraced’ his fear by cultivating a healthy respectful fear of fire.
Each time you stop eating when you are full you chip away at the power you have given fear.
Your body is the consequence of the extra mouthful, the first and last drink of alcohol you have at the party, the fast food on the way home. MacCarty’s body is the consequence of horrific accident and he learnt that he would be afraid his entire life if he did not take charge of his fear. You will be overweight your entire life if you do not embrace and welcome your eating fears.
Attempt this short exercise.
- Take a pen and write down on paper some things that you fear.
- Cross off all the fears not related to food.
- Ask yourself how you would feel sharing this food fear with a relative or friend?
- Make a connection between your fear of food and your other fears, don’t grade or compare them, see how they fit together.
“I am afraid to show my body by the pool on vacation.” – Anonymous.
The fears you have when you are overweight such as showing your body in public are a side-effect of your fear of food. You are trapped in a cycle of fearing to show off your body because of overeating. If you addressed the food issue your body issue would soon evaporate as you stop believing the lies of your mind.
For each person who overcomes a fear like McCarty’s there are thousands if not millions of people trapped inside fear that keeps them locked in patterns. These patterns will never be broken because the fear is double; there is the fear itself and the fear of talking about the fear!
Overcoming a fear is not easy, and we do not claim that each individual with a fear of food can just ‘snap out of it’, what we claim is that a high percentage of people we speak with are trapped in fear because of the way their fear has been managed by themselves and others.
Some people suffer terribly with food and their plight is not to be made light of whether it is overeating or under eating.
[bctt tweet=”A large portion of people can breakthrough their fears simply by admitting them and taking action.”]
The free one-hour breakthrough call we offer has helped many people that have not continued to work with us. People we speak with have different fears and are at different stages of their life, some close to achieving their goals some seemingly lost unable to even remember what their goal is. Speaking with a professional stranger about our fears can be enough for some people, just letting it go and not being laughed at. Others seek more information and take courses and benefit from the guidance we offer. The breakthrough phone call might be the best freebie you ever had!