Safe foods are the foods you will allow yourself to eat with out any guilt or repercussions. For me, prior to recovery, these foods were: vegetables, BBQ sauce, frozen fruit, marinara sauce, cereal, almond milk, and canned soups.
Fear foods are the foods you will avoid eating at all costs. These are the foods that you're SURE if you take just one bite of, your scale will read at least 5 lbs heavier in the morning. For me, prior to recovery, these foods were everything except for the foods listed above. Obviously I was the picture of health.
I've come really far in my recovery, but I've hit a plateau. I realized this last week at my appointment with my dietician Brooke. I told her I still had some pretty bad anxiety eating out at places that I wasn't used to eating out at, or places that were out of my comfort zone. (like places that are not Natural Cafe or Whole Foods to be honest). So she handed me a menu from a Chinese restaurant and asked me to pick something I'd order off of it. She tried talking to me while I was reading the menu and I couldn't focus at all. Which is when she pointed out that I couldn't hold a conversation with her at because I was having an internal conversation with my eating disorder.
So we did an exercise where I had to choose what I would eat if I was still in the worst phases of my eating disorder (Chinese chicken salad with no chicken, no almonds, no rice straws, dressing on the side). Then I had to choose what I would eat if I was fully recovered or when I was 10 years old, before I had any disordered thoughts (orange chicken). Then I had to choose what I would realistically order if I was at this restaurant right now (chicken lettuce cups).
Brooke: "Why not the orange chicken?"
Me: "Because it's fried"
Brooke: "So that's scary for you?"
Me: "Does a bear shit in the woods?"
Brooke: "Can you give me a straight answer?"
Me: "Yes Brooke it's scary for me"
So obviously I still have some major fear foods. Basically anything fried or anything with the word 'crispy' or 'crunchy' in the description is out of the question for me at this point. Also, red meat, and fast food. More specifically, fast food that I can't special order. So Brooke gave me a challenge, and knowing that I can't turn down a challenge, I obviously responded with--
Seemed simple enough. But you know me. I'm dramatic. And naturally, I had a mild anxiety attack as soon as I parked my car. Walked in the restaurant--nope, can't do it. Casually stood in line pretending to debate the menu for a solid 10 minutes. (There's 4 things on the menu...they probably thought I was illiterate). Anyways I did it. I ordered a cheeseburger animal style. No lettuce for bun, no 'light sauce', nothing special ordered. This is literally the first time in 4 years I have ordered ANYTHING without a special request. I'm a waiter's nightmare.
And so it began--
After the first bite, clearly thrilled--
Boom son, dominated--
& here is me after--
Now, I'm not allowed to weight myself, but I'm preeeeeeetty sure I weigh the same. So how do you get over your fear foods?
YOU EAT THEM.
That's it. It's as simple and as complicated as that. Is it easy? Nope. Is it worth it? Absolutely. Nothing worth doing comes easily. But we give food WAAAAAAY too much power, myself included. Going back to previous posts, I know I've said this a million times but I need to repeat it to myself as well, IT'S JUST FOOD. Is eating In n Out everyday a great idea? Absolutely not. Is eating In n Out a lovely thing to treat yourself to whenever you damn well feel like it? Absolutely. Just like the previous post about drinking, most of us don't eat fast food every day, and I am not condoning that. But free yourself. If you're afraid of eating Oreos because of the preservatives or because they have sugar in them or because they're "bad for you", challenge yourself! Pull out 3 of them and put them away. ENJOY THEM. And know that you don't have to eat them every day, but facing your fears frees you. Trust me.
If you told me 2 years ago that I would go to In n Out and eat a cheeseburger and not freak out, I'd call you a dirty dirty liar. But I did it. I loved it. And I'd do it again. Free yourself. x