MINDSET: When Food Is Fear | Great Health Guide
MINDSET: When Food Is Fear

MINDSET: When Food Is Fear

‘When Food Is Fear’ by Anne-Sophie Reinhardt published in Great Health Guide (Nov 2015). Do you suffer from anxiety with eating certain foods? Do you find it hard to associate positively with food? Anne-Sophie has some great advice on how to learn to have positive associations with food. Read more below.
Read other Mindset articles on Great Health Guide, a hub of expert-inspired resources empowering busy women to embody health beyond image … purpose beyond measure.

MINDSET: When Food Is Fear

written by Anne-Sophie Reinhardt

For most of my life, food caused all kinds of anxiety for me.  Every situation that revolved around eating, meant so much more than just food: it meant gaining weight, not giving in to temptation, missing out, being an outsider, watching others enjoy themselves while I was sitting there and looking at the pasta internally screaming for just one bite, one spoonful of nutrition that would lead to freedom. 

And yet, I never gave in. I didn’t gain weight. Friendships dissolved, burdens got heavier, my family grew more desperate and I was numb. I was yearning for food to just be food not a measurement of success or failure. All I wanted was to eat, be done with it and move on with my life.  I wanted it and yet, I couldn’t get it. I believed I’d always live that way, feel that way, behave that way. 

I’d always be the girl who had to control food to look slightly OK. I’d always be the girl who said ‘no’ to every piece of cake, every bite of chocolate. I’d always be the girl who’d just be watching on the sidelines while others were living their lives. I thought I could only be happy if I found a way to keep my skinny weight. I thought I could only be happy if I found the magic pill enabling me to eat what I wanted and still be thin. 

Unsurprisingly, this day never came. Food remained a fear factor and my body was to blame for everything that was wrong in my life.  Unsurprisingly, the years went by and all I’d ever lost was time, happiness and joy. The skinnier I was, the unhappier I felt. Paradoxically, all I wanted was to be skinny and lean. 

Once I broke out of that way of thinking, my happiness increased. Suddenly, I had the energy to go out with friends. Suddenly, I found joy in flowers and blue skies. Suddenly, food wasn’t fear anymore but pleasure and joy. Yes, my body didn’t look super skinny and my arms weren’t lean. But I was happy. 

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How did I get to that place? How did I make such a huge mental shift? Here are a few tips: 

1. Surrender

Surrender to this part of your life, to your fears, to your worries and remember that all of life is a learning experience. You can’t change where you’re at. Accept it and embrace it instead of wishing it away. The moment that you truly own your reality, you’ll be able to see it in a different light and begin to heal what isn’t working. 

2. Search for a team

Build yourself a beautiful soul tribe of people who’ll help you along the way. Search for a therapist, a coach, a women’s help group, a body positivity community, a spiritual circle and whatever else you need. Having a heart-centered team around you will make all the difference on the days when your fear is keeping you stuck and scared. 

3. Don’t wait to be saved

For a very, very long time I thought that a knight in shining armor would come around to save my broken heart and tell me that my body didn’t matter as much as my soul. Over the years, there were many knights, but nobody saved me, until I became committed to saving myself. You are responsible for changing your life and for making the decisions that will keep you alive and thriving. Stop holding onto the belief that an outside source knows what’s best for you.

Instead, dig deep to find your very own strength and sacred presence and you’ll be able to build on that for the rest of your life.  

4. Keep going 

There were many days when I wanted to give up, stay in bed all day long and go back to my old self. It all felt so overwhelming and scary and I just couldn’t see a way out of my current hell. 

What kept me going was the commitment to take tiny turtle steps towards my goal of freedom. The smaller the steps were, the more doable they seemed and so I just kept moving forward. 

5. Nourish yourself with more than just food

When I was trapped in my eating disorder, all I thought about was food, my body and exercise. I knew I needed a big intervention in order to break free from my anxiety around food and so I began to nourish myself with more than food. I began to create beauty everywhere around me. 

I danced, I did Yoga, I meditated, I found new friends and let go of those friendships that didn’t serve my highest good. I had better conversations, read better books, gave myself more time for everything and I made self-care a huge priority. The more nourished I felt in my everyday life, the less importance I placed on food and my body. 

Try to think of a list of things that nourish your soul instead of just your tongue. If you can’t think of anything, begin to experiment and have some fun creating your self-care/self-nourishment list. 

6. Change your story

If you continue to want to be a victim of your situation, of your eating disorder, of your dieting mindset, you will be. If you keep writing the ‘poor me’ story, you’ll forever stay stuck. Sit down and re-write your story (yes, literally) from being the victim of your circumstances to being the driving force behind your decisions. I promise, it’ll change your life. 

Through my writing, I understood that my past had made me strong and the person that I am today. Through my writing, I felt on a core level that I did my very best to make it through every single day and that the methods I chose were the ones I needed at that time. Through my writing, I learned that I was much more than I gave myself credit for.

7. Write love notes to yourself

At the beginning of my healing journey, I wrote myself daily love letters and notes. Sometimes, these were short reminders like ‘smile’ or ‘you’re worth it’ and sometimes, I filled many pages with my words to myself. 

I believe that the way you begin your day determines whether it’ll be a successful ‘healing day’ or whether it’ll be one of those days where you slide back. Don’t take any chances and instead commit to writing a few words to yourself telling yourself why you’re lovely, why you’re worth the fight and why you still want to have a life of liberty from your obsession with food. 

Obviously, implementing these steps is just the beginning of a long journey. Over time, you’ll find your own tools, your own healing systems and you’ll learn your own ways of detaching from the fear mentality that keeps you stuck in your dieting world.  When food is fear, life is horrendous, but when you learn to see that within food there can be love, you will finally begin being truly whole. 

Author of this article:
Anne-Sophie Reinhardt is the founder of an award-winning blog. She is an Eating Psychology Coach in training, Martha Beck Life Coach, speaker and workshop leader. After a 14-year long battle with food and her body, Anne-Sophie gently healed her relationship with herself and now spends her days speaking to ambitious women who are ready to embrace their body in its most beautiful form. Anne-Sophie’s coaching approach is about breaking free, finding compassion and self-love and taking your power back one small step at a time. 

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