First and foremost, let me tell you that your blog has given me faith that I can look at food in a healthy and happy way in the future. Thank you for that! Your thoughts and view of all the yummies in life have me inspired. Now to introduce myself! I’m 20 years old and a recovering anorexic who previously LOVED food (and still do, but need to overcome that dang fear!). I would love a response on how you managed to regain your comfort and diminish that fear of food (that I’m still struggling with). Although my situation is different than yours, I feel like I can relate so much to your experience. Any advice or words from you would be endlessly appreciated!
Thanks so much,
Thanks so much for your email! You are very, very kind.
I overcame my intense fear of regaining the 135lbs I lost in 2006 by focusing on these 3 things:
1. Taking risks.
Go against that nervous voice in your head a few times a week (don’t count, don’t measure, don’t even consider the nutritional value in the treat you want). You will see that the world does not end, you do not gain pounds immediately upon eating, and you will honestly feel stronger after having wandered out of your comfort zone. You will never learn that you can eat the foods you love in moderation and not gain weight if you don’t experiment. Trust me here: you are the most worthwhile experiment.
2. Stay present.
Take each day as it comes and live in each moment. Assess what you’re craving in a given dining circumstance and don’t let your mind wander to what you’ve already eaten, how you’ll eat later, what you should eat. Just stay focused on the now. You will feel a world less overwhelmed and you’ll notice that your choices become easier, clearer even. I find that being mindful makes for a more in tune connection between mind and body. Yes, cake tastes like heaven all the time, but ask yourself- is cake what I’m wanting in this very moment? Yes, it’s been ages since I’ve had oreos (not even close to true), and goodness they’re nostalgic, but are oreos what I’m jonesing for right now?
You’ll see how your preferences change with the breeze. You’ll learn trust in your cravings.
3. Living a fuller, happier life requires you to be fuller, happier.
If you want to live a life that includes sweets and random slices of pizza and cake, you have to eat them occasionally and sit with the fear, the feelings. If you want to be freer from food obsession, you have to be a little looser, perhaps less calculated and planned. If you want to be the type of person who goes to a party and doesn’t fret about what will be served, you have to go to parties and learn to nibble, learn to socialize rather than isolate.
You have to make these wants a reality by acting in the ways you aim to be, little by little, every single day. It’s not easy; it’s hard. It will take time. It’s a journey. To be the kind of person you want to be and to have the peace of mind that you crave, you have to make those your primary focuses day in and day out. You have to wake up and recommit to taking risks and challenging that negative voice in your head. Take risks. Leap.