Don’t let fear strike when it comes to what you eat! Honor the health of both your body and mind, and enjoy your life with the foods you love.
Do you fear doughnuts, hot dogs, fried chicken, french fries, bread, cake, pie, ice cream, and [insert any ‘fear food’ here]?
I’ll share a little secret. It’s perfectly okay to eat all foods.
(Gasp!) Why? Because all foods are made of different nutrient profiles to nurture, satisfy, or enjoy. And nutrients are not what eating is all about.
It’s also about the perfect balance between health and enjoyment.
Yes, foods are all different and have different qualities, but it is all about how, when, and why you eat those foods.
So what is a ‘fear food’?
A fear food is any food that causes anxiety around eating, any food you feel out of control with, or any food that causes shame or guilt after consumption. It is unrealistic to abstain from these fear foods. We will eventually eat food on our ‘bad’ list which causes shame and guilt, so then we try to avoid those foods, and before you know it you have entered the vicious cycle of binging and restricting.
How do you get over this?
1. Enjoy it.
You learn to enjoy these fear foods. Scary right? Slowly, but surely it is important to teach yourself that these foods are not forbidden.
2. Stop moralizing food.
Eating these foods does not make you a failure. This is not a moral dilemma or a reflection on you as a person.
3. Appreciate how it nourishes you.
These foods are simply a combination of carbohydrates, dietary fats, and protein, plus essential vitamins and minerals that help fuel your body.
4. Honor your hunger and fullness cues.
If pizza was what causes weight gain we would ban pizza and call it a day. It is more about the how, when, and why you are eating ANY food. Are you eating pizza until the point of discomfort, or are you honoring your fullness and stopping when you are satisfied? This makes a big difference.
Through the process of eliminating fear foods and making all foods legal, you can begin to examine the underlying emotions and influencers on these food choices. This is when balance and moderation can start to take place.
Ah, breathe a sigh of relief. There is room for these foods in your life!
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Marissa Campanella, RDN, LDN is a private practice Registered Dietitian based in Scranton, PA helping people find the balance between healthy and happy. As a ‘food peace promoter’, Marissa specializes in helping those with food struggles and disordered eating in learning how to enjoy food while leaving guilt and self criticisms behind. Connect with Marissa at Thrive Nutrition.