How To Overcome Your Fear of Food and Overeating

Let go of fear of food

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.

 

Fear of food spiders web 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?

 

 

Fear is perception and if we can shift our perception we can overcome our fears. Click To Tweet

 

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.

 

fear of food face

 

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.

 

fear of food skull and boozeYour 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.

 

  1. Take a pen and write down on paper some things that you fear.
  2. Cross off all the fears not related to food.
  3. Ask yourself how you would feel sharing this food fear with a relative or friend?
  4. 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.

 

A large portion of people can breakthrough their fears simply by admitting them and taking action. Click To Tweet

 

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!

Resources:

Stop to Start

 Do you want to start eating healthy?

Do you want to become more active?

Do you want to start or finish that project that’s been on your list for years?

 

All you have to do to take action, to move forward, to either start anything new or finish what you started comes down to this…Stop thinking! Yes, that’s it. Job done. You’re probably saying to yourself, “How could that possibly do anything.” The problem is you don’t realize how much thinking gets in the way.

Stop to start? Are are you crazy?

It sounds so crazy, I know. Yet, it works. I discovered I’ve been using this “Stop to Start” technique for years. For me, it started out as a coping mechanism, somewhat of survival technique I created as a child to deal with some of life’s unpleasant challenges. I simply, just shut off my brain and move on. Looking back I realized, there were other examples.  I used it to start exercising. My sister had shared her idea of doing sit ups in bed as soon as she woke up to get her in the habit of doing it. I tried it, it worked. Why, because I wasn’t thinking. I just did it. My brain wasn’t even awake enough for me to shut it off. I use a similar technique to handle migraines and hiccups.  Yes, believe it or not, I just forget I have hiccups and they go away.

I’ve shared this approach with family and friends who all think it’s a bunch of mumbo jumbo. I don’t blame them. I couldn’t explain HOW I do it myself, other than, I simply stop thinking. It’s been so helpful for me. I wanted to find a way to share this with all of you in a way it might make sense. So, I decided to take a more scientific approach. Now, I’m not a behaviorist, Psychiatrist, scientist or physician. I do have an undergraduate degree in Psychology so I do remember how the brain works, at a high level anyway.

Here we go. The decision making process in your brain functions on a basic risk vs reward system. Example: You want to eat a healthy meal but all these questions start popping up (Do I have all the ingredients, do I want salmon or chicken, is the spinach still good, will I need to go to the store, I said I would stop eating late, I think I still have ice cream left ). All of these are distractions. The more questions you start to ask the more overwhelmed your brain becomes.  Cognitive control is supposed to keep you in check when making a decision. However, as we all know, not everyone is the same and not everyone’s brain can cope in the same manner.

Our ability to make value-based decisions based on our internal risk vs reward system may get out sync. Now, there are number of scientific reasons this may happen and I won’t go into them here. As I said, I’m not a scientist and I have no medical or advance psychoanalyst training. I do know, being in a state of “overwhelm” is basically “stress” and stress does inhibit our ability to make decisions. Emotions rise and those emotions simply get in the way of rational thought. There will be nothing rational about those chocolate chips. You will just want them!

Which brings me back to my technique. Stop thinking! Turn the brain off and your cognitive center may gain back control. So how do I do it?  I had to actual stop and think ( oh no) to figure it out. Take a deep breath in through your nose, hold for a couple of second. As your blow the breath out through your mouth start moving towards the direction of the action you want to take.  Take the breath again until you’ve started the activity or when you start to lose direction.

This will take practice. I’ve been doing it nearly my whole life and I still get stuck. The chocolate chip comment IS my own personal experience.  You can even print out the picture as a reminder. Please try it and let me know how it goes. As I’ve stated in a previous post, time will move on regardless of whether you choose to try this today. It may just be the one thing you needed. I know it sounds really crazy but sometimes crazy works.  At the end of the day it is All Just Choice, but sometimes we all need a little help.

 

READY

SET

(BLANK that’s us not thinking)

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Tic-Toc

Tic Toc Goes Life’s clock…Change is Only Scary When You Think About it…It’s Time for Action

Change is a scary concept to most. The first step is always the hardest, yet we know from experience…walking, riding a bike, etc, by the time you’ve taken the fifth or sixth step, you forget how hard it was to start. Still, we hesitate, as if the past experiences never quite made it into our psyche. Perhaps we need a different mindset.

How many times have you looked back and thought, “if I had started that “fill in the blank”, I would have been done by now.

Consider this….time doesn’t stand still. Yes, we all know that. How many times have you looked back and thought, “if I had started that “fill in the blank”, I would have been done by now. So, a day, a week, a month, a year will still come. Regardless of whether you choose to make the change, time will change. You can either change with it, or not. It’s all just choice….tic-toc.

Consider what changes you want to make today and let us help you action them