Finding Food Freedom

Food Freedom

For the longest time, I restricted the foods I love. In today’s post, I’m sharing how I found food freedom by overcoming fear foods and eating those foods at scary times.

Raise your hand if you didn’t allow yourself to eat things because you were afraid you’d ‘still be hungry’ after...i know I did! 🙋‍♀️ For the longest time, cereal was one of those foods. In fact, I would avoid any food that wasn’t a ‘volume’ food., or ‘save’ said food for the nighttime. The result? Constant thoughts about all the foods I didn’t allow myself, but actually really wanted. This all, simply because I was afraid of still being hungry after.

And when the night did come and I was now ‘finally’ allowed to eat the food I had been dreaming about all day, I still wouldn’t let myself eat it. I would dream about it for days, weeks, sometimes months on end…until one night, when I finally did allow myself that one mere 1/2 cup of cornflakes, I’d end up flabbergasted, contemplating how I ‘lost control’ as I stared at an empty box...

Throughout my recovery, I’ve learned that this is NOT losing control. When your body craves a certain food and does not receive it, your body believes there is a scarcity of that food. More on this in my post about Mental Hunger. As long as you restrict this food, you are simply reaffirming the notion that food is scarce, or unavailable.

And looking back through history, what did people do when they came out of a period of food scarcity, and there was suddenly an abundance of food? They would FEAST! They would eat as much food as they possibly could, celebrating the fact that this food was now readily available. Because what if that scarcity period would come back? Then they would need to eat as much as they possibly could while the food was there, god forbid they were to enter a period of famine again.

This is the same reason I found myself ‘overeating’ the foods I restricted. My body had experienced a famine of these foods for so long, it needed to feast on them. What if the famine returned tomorrow? It’s almost like a bear that eats his body weight in food before hibernation. Not that we’re going to hibernate, but sleep is the ‘hibernation’ in this metaphor. When I would' ‘overeat’ my fear foods, it mostly happened at night. My body was preparing me for a period that I wasn’t going to eat (because I was going to be sleeping), so it wanted to make sure I was all stocked up!

You’re probably wondering, how do I overcome this vicious cycle of fear-restriction-bingeing? The answer is simple. Eat the foods you crave when you crave them. I’m not saying this is easy, trust me! I was in the vicious cycle myself for so long. But out of personal experience, I KNOW the only way to break the cycle is by challenging yourself and eventually overcoming the fear foods, or more specific, eating the fear foods at ‘fear times’.

This meant eating cereal first thing in the morning. Eating ice cream, cake, and cookies during the day, every day. Not just on weekends. Eating pizza for lunch on a Monday, not saving it for dinner on Friday. And if I was still hungry after eating these foods, I would eat more.

The only way to show yourself there’s nothing to be afraid of, is to DO. It’s going to be uncomfortable and it’s going to be scary, but it will get easier. I promise. I can now eat cereal for breakfast and enjoy every bite, and even go for a second bowl if I want! That’s food freedom. And it feels oh so good.

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