(Trigger Warning: ED discussion)
Fear foods are foods that may make us feel afraid, anxious, or uncomfortable eating; possibly stemming from thoughts on how it impacts our body or weight, or from negative past memories associated with the food.
These are disordered eating thoughts that are all too normalized in diet culture. Years ago, during my time with orthorexia (obsession with healthy eating), mac and cheese was a fear food of mine (if you’re a nutrition patient of mine, you probably know this story). I would crave it constantly, but terrified to eat it at the same time. I made this narrative in my head, with the “help” of constant societal and media misinformation, that something horrible would happen if I ate it…that I would be less than.
When I had a craving, I would go around my house and eat almost everything else that I considered to be healthier to try to rid this craving. I would only end up overly full and completely dissatisfied, and would often end up having the mac and cheese after all. It would make me feel horrible.
Fast forward past years of breaking down these thoughts and slowly working on being compassionate toward my body and eating intuitively. I now have a healthy relationship with this fear food. It is something in my pantry that I go to when I want it and will add a few nutrient dense ingredients to make sure it keeps me feeling physically satisfied and balanced. But sometimes I just have it on its own because that’s all I want, and that’s ok too!
Getting to this point is not easy, but it is so entirely worth it. We deserve to eat the things we enjoy, and feel good doing so.
If you have had or are currently experiencing something similar, please reach out for support.