So many clients tell me they’re scared of reintroducing fear foods back into their diets. They’re afraid to eat chocolate or bread because if they allow those foods again, they’ll never stop eating them; and if they never stop eating them, they’ll gain more and more weight, forever.
This is a super normal fear to have. Of course, when something is forbidden or a special occasion, we want it even more. I haven’t traveled in three years because of pregnancy and then the pandemic, so suffice to say, I am CRAVING a vacation. Any vacation.
My favorite place in the world is Disney World. I’m able to go once every couple of years, and when I’m not there, I’m fantasizing about being there or reminiscing about times I was there; because it’s not an everyday, or even every year, event.
When I was in my eating disorder, I used to binge a lot when I went out to dinner with my family or friends. There would be food there that I wouldn’t normally keep in the house. I would order something I’d normally never make for myself. And I would binge on it because I knew this was the only time I’d allow myself to have it, so I would have to eat the entire thing, despite whether I was already full. I would eat past the point of fullness because of my scarcity mindset. This food and this opportunity would be gone so I had to get my fill now.
Habituation is when we expose ourselves to something so much that it becomes routine and not special.
A new job
A new video game
A new love interest
Saying, “I love you.”
These are all things that lose their magic (admit it!) when we’ve done them a million times.
So here’s the big question:
Why do you think your fear foods are any different?
I eat chocolate every, single day. I eat ice cream several times a week. I have wine every week. I have carbs with most meals. These things don’t have the power over me that they once did, because I know I can have them whenever I want. Sure, they’re still delicious but I don’t have this overwhelming, anxiety-inducing pull to binge on them all day, every day.
A lot of this process is trust. You have to trust that you will get to the point of habituation. And it DOES take time! At first, as I did, it’s likely you will eat more of those foods than you feel comfortable with. Yes, you might gain weight. But the LONG-TERM healing, to be able to have the power that food has, all food seems to have, over you go away? That’s worth some temporary discomfort and learning to once again live with that food.
You’ll actually be able to enjoy it!
So, trust the process. Your fear foods WILL become boring to you.