In this blog post we will cover what fear foods are, the signs to look out for, and how to overcome food fears in eating disorder recovery.
What are fear foods in eating disorders?
Fear foods are foods that make you feel anxious, guilty, or worried to eat. It’s common in eating disorders, especially in anorexia nervosa.
What causes foods to become fear foods?
During an eating disorder, you may think of food as “bad.
This could be because you’re worried the food will cause weight gain.
Or because eating these foods will cause feelings of guilt or shame.
What are common fear foods?
The most common fear foods include those high in carbohydrates, fats, or “refined ingredients”.
Common fear foods include:
- Cakes, cookies, sweets, or baked goods
- Foods with longer ingredient lists like pizza and sandwiches
- Foods that are high in fat like avocado, burgers, or fried food
- High-carbohydrate foods, including pasta, bread, rice, and potatoes
- Foods from restaurants or takeaways
- Foods higher in salt or sugar
Fear foods tend to be those that others might describe as unhealthy.
How to know if you have fear of foods
Having a fear of food is not “normal”, but it is common.
There are a few signs to look out for if you are wondering if you have fear foods.
Signs you have fear of foods
If you don’t know if you have fear foods, there are signs.
Signs that you have fear foods include:
- Obsessing over certain foods
- Having anxiety when thinking of certain foods
- Inability to participate in social activities involving food
- Feeling like there’s just no way you could happily eat those foods
- Isolating yourself from others, especially when food is around
- Binge eating fear foods or worried if you ate them you would be out of control
- Becoming annoyed when people talk about your fear foods
How to overcome fear foods
When it comes to challenging your fear foods you need to make it clear which foods you are struggling to eat.
Here are five tips to overcome your fear foods:
1. Identify: Write down a list of all your fear foods, this could be cake, sweets, fried food, foods high in carbohydrates etc put them in order of the scariest foods first.
2. Introduce: Start introducing your fear foods slowly, this could be once a week, then start increasing this to twice, three times a week.
3. Combine: Use safe foods to help you eat your fear foods. These could be foods you are struggling with the most and combine it with a safe food.
4. Calm: Make sure your environment makes you feel calm and safe when you are eating your fear foods.
5. Support: If you’re really struggling to overcome your fear foods, we recommend 1-1 support.
At Ease Nutrition Therapy, we offer 1-1 support to heal your relationship with food.