Battling The Fear Foods: Fuel For Freedom

Battling The Fear Foods

Normally, I’d be rejoicing that it’s Friday. But, during the summer, weekends just aren’t as loveable as week days.

Before you throw the rotten vegetables, hear me out. During the week: there’s less people at my house, I can workout in the mornings and work in the evenings (which is the best schedule for my personal preferences), and I get to move at my own pace. During the weekends: only one word can describe my house… chaos. Between my brother’s soccer games, my sister’s musical stuff, dealing with the creature that is my other sister, not being able to exercise as much because the gym opens later and I work in the mornings, yadayada.

Weekends just aren’t the same. Anyone else feel the same way? Probably not, but you never know.

On to some Friday favorites!

Five Good Eats:

1. Gelato.

Oh, gelato… How I miss you. American ice cream is just not the same once you taste the creamy, flavor-bomb that is Italian gelato. Not to mention that you can get flavors you would never dream of. I’ve got to say, jasmine gelato is like a gift from the gods.

Italian Gelato

2. Pizza.

When recovering from an eating disorder, pizza is a common “fear” food. It’s essentially a ton of white floury carbs, slathered in sauce and grease. There’s little protein, and tons of calories. That’s why I made it my mission to not eat just one, but TWO giant pizzas in one week. (Gasp!)

Pizza Napoletana
Pizza Napoletana with anchovy, eaten in its entirety. Who could say no to pizza in Rome?

Guess what? Every bite was delicious. Not just because it was pizza which in-and-of-itself is yummy, but because I enjoyed it while with friends. Most importantly, I allowed myself to enjoy it.

Food shouldn’t be a source of guilt, but we often let it by labeling things as good or bad. When conquering any “fear” food, try to eat it with family or friends. Talking with them helps put your mind at ease. Food is not just fuel. It is soulful. Eating a special meal with special people, regardless of whether you’re physically hungry or not, helps nourish the soul.

3. Coconut Cashew Quest Bars.

coconut cashew quest bar

(not my picture)

I get the Quest Bar craze. They aren’t too bad as a snack, but I’m just not into the texture. They taste kind of gummy to me. The banana bread was okay, same with the cashew coconut. I want to like them more than I do… I don’t know. I’m not giving up on them quite yet though. Any flavor recommendations?

4. Homemade caprese sandwich.

No picture… but another old “fear” food I had no problem dealing with. Although I did burn the top of the bread a little bit.

5. Gum.

Okay, not a food but a staple. It helps me focus while writing. And driving. And cooking. I might be a gum addict. I’ll admit it. So much so that my roommate put it into the birthday gift she sent me.

While in an eating disorder, though, gum is a common tactic used to suppress appetite hunger. Little calories, yet feels like your eating something. A dieter’s dream, right? However, gum should not be used in place of food. Gum is fine in moderation, but believe me that it gives you… digestive issues. You’re basically chomping on air, and that air has to come out somewhere.

extra dessert delights
Yummy, but could never replace an actual orange creme bar.

Listen to your body. Sometimes, I just really want a piece of gum to refresh my breath or ease my anxiety. But I’m getting better at listening to my stomach. Before you pop another bubble, think about why you’re doing it. Are you actually hungry? Never think that something like gum can replace a snack or a meal. If you’re hungry, grab some food!

Five Happenings:

1. NEDA walk at Hartford Acres.

NEDA logo

So sad I can’t make it to the one NEDA walk close to my house because of work, but I encourage anyone in the area to attend. Not from PA? Find a walk in your area here.

2. Visiting Washington, D.C.

washington dc

Headed to D.C. for a few days to celebrate a family member’s accomplishment!

An extended trip like this (i.e. one where I don’t know what I’ll be eating, where I won’t work out for four days, etc) used to drive me crazy. All the uncertainty, all the panic.

I could hear my mind now: “What about routine? What about diet? What about exercise?”

However, travel can heal eating disorder thoughts. It’s a chance to relax and to test yourself at the same time. Try to enjoy a treat you wouldn’t normally have. Panicked about not exercising? Focus on something else. Maybe go for a walk in the morning or swim in the lake. It might not be what you’re used to doing, but learn to appreciate how your body moves in every way, not exactly what kind or type of exercise you’re doing.

Exercise is intitiutive. Listen to what your body wants to do. You can always hit those weights next week. Why not try something new? Even a short walk is a way to honor your body.

3. Reading about “Bigorexia.”

Eating disorders don’t have to be just anorexia or bulimia. There are countless Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorders (OSFED, or formerly EDNOS: Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified) that take on a combination of disordered traits and damage physical and mental health. Orthorexia is an expecitally overlooked disorder as it starts out with honest intentions, and can continue under the guise of “healthy” or “pure” eating.


Here’s a new one to me though: Bigorexia. It’s a type of muscle dysmorphia. We place so much emphasis on being fit that it can become all-consuming. According to the McCallum Place Eating Disorder Centers website, Bigorexia includes:

  • a belief that your body can never be muscular enough
  • intense high-protein, low-fat diet
  • missing social events and other obligations to workout
  • working out while sick or injured

This is another reason why “strong” shouldn’t be the new “skinny.” It’s just trading one physcial ideal for another.

4. I doubt anyone really, truly believes those “before” and “after” pictures on infomercials, but they can be tempting. Buy this product, follow this meal plan, and you could look like them. And don’t they seem so happy in their new bodies? All it takes is one little call, and three easy payments of 29.99…

This YouTube video though proves what we all know to be true: that before and after pictures are a lie. He’s funny as he transforms his body in a mere five hours, with the help of Chef Boyardee and chocolate milk, but it reveals the hard truth.

5. 8 Signs You’re an Undereater.

A great article I can’t get out of my head. One of the hard things about eating disorder recovery can be eating enough food. Our world tells us to restrict. Try that new diet. Avoid bread. Only eat every 4 hours.

Inadequate calories can lead to serious health problems, and not just for those in ED recovery.

I'm sorry for what I said when I was hungry.
Hangry is no laughing matter.

Five Podcasts to Heal the Mind and Body:

I’ve been getting into podcasts lately. They’re like meditation to me. I can listen to what these people have to say, think about it, implement their tips into my own life. Wow, have they helped me heal some disordered thoughts.

1. Addicted to the Perfect Body Maddy Moon on Health Geeks Radio

Maddy Moon is a great resource for body positivity. She used to do fitness competitions, until she realized how addicting and harming such competitions can be. This podcast talks about how she stopped basing her self-worth on her body, and how to handle exercise/food addiction. She writes a blog and posts her own podcasts as well.

2. Top 6 Reasons for Disordered Eating Maddy Moon

Speaking of Maddy Moon, this podcast talks about why people have problems with food in the first place. Surprise: It’s not just about the food. The one about the lack of control especially resonates with me.

weight and scales

3. UNless (Jen Sinkler) Finding Our Hunger

On this Finding Our Hunger episode, Jen Sinkler talks with Kaila Prins about how to find your intuition regarding eating and exercise, and why you should do one less rep at the gym. So refreshing to hear someone tell you to “do less” instead of “do more.”

4. All About Amenorreha Paleo Women Podcast

Amenorreha is a very real and very common effect of EDs, over-exercise, and/or dietary intakes. Sorry, guys. This one’s just for the ladies.

Battling The Fear Foods: Fuel For Freedom
Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could get rid of our diet mentality, and eat how we used to as a kid, and actually enjoy it?

5. Damage Control, Body Image, and Your Questions Answered Nia Shanks

The Lift Like a Girl podcast is a wealth of resources. She talks openly about over-restriction and binging, advocating for finding food freedom instead.

You “over-indulged” at a grad party? You don’t need to do any damage control. Food is food.

A chocolate chip cookie and sweet potato are the same.

Five Pins from Pinterest:

conquer your fear foods

Love this strategy, and something I could use myself.

give yourself permission

Only Puppies Should Fear Pounds

Never seen that one before!

Give it to God and go to sleep

Feel the fear and do it anyway

–> What are some of your “fear” foods? What do you do to deal?

Bread (especially white) is a big one for me, but I think a recent trip to Italy helped cure some of that! Next up: doughnuts.

–> Visiting anywhere this summer?

–> Recommendations for podcasts?

My sister makes fun of me for listening to podcasts, but they sooo help me. Any one else who listens to podcasts, any recommendations for new listenings?


2 thoughts on “Battling The Fear Foods

  1. Thanks so much for sharing my interviews and posts! I am delighted to read that they have been helpful for you.

    In regards to Quest Bars- I totally feel you! Personally I like the cookies and cream the best when they are BROILED! Ohhh so gooey and melty. But there’s so much fiber so I can’t have them all the time 🙂

    Way to go on all of your amazing ED wins lately- so proud of you!

    • Thank you for all the real world advice you offer.
      I’ll definitely have to try broiled quest bars when I’m not just scarfing them down on-the-go. Definitely sounds like a good idea!

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