Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Fear of Food

I'm scared of food.

Oh, I don't mean that I'm terrified that I'm going to get cornered in a dark alley and accosted by a pack of wild bagels. I don't wake up 
in a cold sweat worried that there's a German chocolate cake beneath my bed waiting for an opportune time to pounce.

I'm just afraid of the power food has on me. Even the idea of food messes with my mind at times.

In the past, there've been many reasons for my overeating, and very few of them had anything to do with hunger or the need to fuel my body.

I ate because I was stressed.

Because I was bored.

Because it had become a habit, just something that was a part of who I was.

Because it made me happy... or at least that's what I told myself. When I look at photographs of me at my worst, I question the idea that
a true transfer of happiness was ever part of the equation.

Something inside me told me it would make feel better even though every rational part of me knew it would only make me feel worse.

I don't trip up daily like I once did, but I still stumble enough to give me pause, still fear dark clouds even though I keep a mostly 
sunny outlook on this journey.

But I like to think that it's turned into a kind of healthy fear, like being afraid to gun it through an intersection in front of
 a speeding train or touching an electric wire to see if the juice is turned on.

I'm scared of food, and I’m afraid I'll always be afraid.

However, I can live with being afraid easier than I can live being the way I was.


  1. Jack Mon -
    Don't Worry, Eat Happy!
    Food is our friend!
    From fiend to friend.

  2. Thanks for the comment yesterday!

    Food terrifies me.

    I'll get so sick of calorie counting that I'll swear it's time to start losing weight by simply listening to my body but I obviously don't trust that b*tch! =P

    I recently made some "no more calorie counting!" grand announcement but have been second guessing myself and sneaking onto Sparkpeople.

    It's pathetic but it's the inescapable fear (and lack of trust) that makes me go running back to keep myself "in check".

  3. I don't think you fear food, I think you fear the voices in your head and their judgements (or lack there of) when it comes to making wise decisions. I fear my own head too!

  4. You know, I was going to say something like you shouldn't have to be afraid of food. Then I gave some thought to how I feel about food, and I realized it terrifies me too, a little. I'm particularly scared of eating processed foods and foods with lots of preservatives, because once those hit my system, I want to eat everything.

  5. Could relate to the entire post. Great to know I am in such good company.

  6. I totally get you!! Since I have started this job over five years ago I have put on 60 pounds! And I already thought I was overweight then! At 54, it just doesn't come off like it used to either! I'll be back to visit you again. I love the blog!

  7. I also can relate.
    100% with every single word.
    It is so hard to overcome an overeater's 'addiction' because we need food to live, so we can't go 'cold turkey' and just stop eating....
    It seems you have found a balance with how well you are doing in your journey!
    Awesome job!

  8. Right on Jack! I don't fear food anymore...I used to use it like a drug, but not anymore.

    The last time I was in a Barnes and Noble cafe, I purposely stared into the display case and said (maybe out loud?) "HAH! You can't get me now!"

    A little nuts, but hey, it works.

  9. Great post! I can totally relate. Even when I'm having a great day and eating well, I have this fear in the back of my head that it won't last... I'll go back to my old ways.

    But you're right--definitely better than the way it was :)

  10. I don't fear food. Yet. But I'm only 15 or so lbs down the path. Maybe fear comes later?

    What I fear: dissociating when I eat. When that happens--when I don't slow down and focus--I can almost finish a meal without even being aware. Some call that mindless eating. Whatever. Takes a lot of practice to enjoy every bite. Which is good, though, because I don't fear something so pleasureable...

    SH*T! Maybe food IS SATAN!

  11. I think so many feel like this! Jack, I hope you get to the point that you don't fear it & it does not control you. Your last statement it good though.. you being healthy is more important. It took me years but I no longer fear the food!

  12. Amen. I just had a conversation last night on this subject. I'm afraid of being around food. I'm afraid of going on our vacation next week and not being able to control myself. Sigh....

  13. I can soooo relate. Thanks for putting this into words for me... in your usual style.

  14. Very interesting that you and Prior Fat Girl have a similar post... did you consult?

  15. I don't fear healthy food, but I do fear the fatty, sugary, processed stuff and how if I have some, I want more. It's like a poison and should be feared.

  16. Ooo serious posts from both of us lately! I think to some extent we will always still be scared of food. It might be a good thing, a little healthy fear. Something to remind us of where we came from.

  17. OMG this post just read my mind. Food is's even scarier when you think about all the food you want to eat and know that you shouldn't eat. I'm currently reading Mindless Eating by Brian Wansink. It's actually a good read.

    We have to remember we hold the power!!! (Starwar's music plays softly in the background)...WE CHOSE who will or food! Great post! We've all had these feelings and thoughts! Keep up the great work!

  18. Can I just say "Amen" to this? Because even though I'm not religious, that's the only response I can think of.

  19. Food: Can't live with it, can't live without it.

  20. Sounds like me you were reading my mind.

  21. This post came at JUST the right time for me. It's nice to know that someone who has lost as much weight as you, can still have food issues. It makes me feel better that I don't have this food addiction licked after 3.5 weeks (where I am now.) I just posted a story about my slip up right before I read this. Your blog helps me realize I'm not the only one with food issues. Plus you're a funny dude! Thanks

  22. Actually I have been attacked by a vicious pack of bagels in a dark alley. Now I just avoid dark alleys. :)

    I think we all struggle with the power food has on us...and as the quote goes, we have seen the enemy...and it is US! (or something like that)...but the point is, we can control that fear that food holds over us, and we can triumph and over come it...and sooner or later, the fear is less tangible.
    Great post Jack!

  23. You are not alone in your fear Jack! Take it from a former binge eater. Those dark moments can be lurking around any corner, and cabinet, any fridge door, or any drive through window. How we deal with those food fears is what makes us stronger and also allows us to make healthier choices. :) I think its part of the journey- maybe we should get badges or something? Like scarlet letters! LOL :)

  24. How do you get rid of fear? Or maybe I should say how do I get rid of fear? Well, if it's something like this, I don't completely.

    But dealing with the fear is simple (not easy). Knowing that I can handle whatever I'm afraid of dishes out helps.

    Can you handle what food does to you?

  25. I feel like I am going to fear food when it comes to maintenance. I do fear the power it has had over me though. Power that has put me in this journey.

  26. Yup. Totally fear the power food has over me. No fun. But beating it each and every (well, most or some) day is really a lot of fun!

  27. Agreed. Food has been a very powerful drug in my life in the past. But to me, even the successes can be scary. I got some bad news Monday. Bad. And it was a running day. I actually chose to skip the emotional binge and do the run. I HAVE NEVER DONE THAT BEFORE IN MY LIFE. Ever.
    Set a scary precedent, it did. Because I have now proved myself capable.
    Anyhow, another winner with this post, Jack.

  28. Do you actually fear food?

    Or do you fear your body? Seriously. Think about it.

    You either have conscious control over your body's regulatory systems (such as hunger or thirst), or you don't. If you don't, then maybe your inability to control your body is making you feel afraid. What if, when the (brain)chemical high from dieting wears off, you would have to find a way to live with real hunger, day in and day out? What would you do?

    I guess you would eventually find out.

  29. Yes, exactly. Well said. I hope to someday have a healthier attitude towards it, but right now, it's a daily struggle. Thanks for this post.

  30. Oh YES! That god awful fear. How something can have SO MUCH POWER over our thoughts and feelings is often too overwhelming! Nicely put!

  31. It's an insidious one too. Really creeps up on you.

  32. Don't be scaaaaarrrrred.

    Be aware, but not fearful.

  33. Wow! you hit the nail on the head. I 100% relate to it all. Food and I need to forge a new relationship.

  34. I like your positive perspective on this fear of food situation. Good stuff!

  35. yeah, I know what you mean... it's like how I feel about cigarettes.. I mean, there's no way I'll ever become a 'smoker' again, it’s one of the most deplorable habits going!

    BUT, in moments of weakness (i.e. inebriation) I do have the occasional cig and after a 3 day music festival last year I almost had to wean myself back off them despite giving up almost 10 years ago!

    It never leaves you, you've just got to learn how to manage it and not beat yourself up too much if you're ever weak as you know you're not going to go back to eating the way you did before, you've come to far for that.

    Stay strong

    Tara x

  36. Awesome! Where do you come up with this sh*t? Oh, where your mind must go...

  37. when i can afford to buy the food i really love i eat less of it. when i'm broke (99% of the time) and am buying crap i "disassociate" (as someone else said) and just graze, never satisfied, and the weight comes on.

    so i guess i'm afraid of being poor and eating crap.

  38. Love this post Jack.
    I too fear food because it has such a power over us, every day there are choices to be made, the one thing that helps is that good choices out way the bad ones these days.

    Thank you!

  39. Totally relate to this for sure! I've come to realize though that it's really a fear of my feelings more than the food. Maybe at some point we will conquer the fear.

  40. I'm scared to death of going out to eat with my friends and family. It's not so bad if I know where we are going before hand, but if it's spur of the moment it is so nerve wracking.

  41. There is so much that I'm scared of, and at the root of it all for me is the fear of myself. I fear failure - that I won't make the choices necessary to succeed. I fear success - what will I do, how will I feel, who will I be if I succeed? I fear food, too. But I think maybe sometimes fear is a healthy thing.

  42. I'm scared because eating is just the end result. I find myself eating when I stop mid-sentence from yelling at my son.

    Because I realize that I'm MAD at the pharmacy and the insurance and I should have taken it out on them. But I can't take it out on them because we all have pre-existing conditions. We'd like to stay covered thank you very much.

    Because the premiums are already so high and the deductibles too, the money has to come from somewhere. So, I guess it's gonna come from the food budget. Which sucks cuz I hate Cheez Whiz and I think I have orthorexia.

    Anyway, that makes me stressed. And when I'm between therapy appointments, stress makes me eat. When I'm eating, I get...


  43. very wise, very true....and if a little bit of healthy fear tempers what you know could be a feeding frenzy then go with it!
    LOL @ pack of wild bagels! :-D

  44. I know my wife gets uncomfortable when we go somewhere of her choosing and I am paralyzed looking at the menu...she'll say 'why don't you just order..' and I respond...'don't worry about me, just get what you'd like'. I know that I can become a bit dramatic about the food choices when I'm sure I'd survive even a slight stray from the plan. Oh me, love my psychosis.

  45. I'm fearful that once I lose this weight I won't know what to do with myself. Will I get bored once I hit my goal and have those "now what" feelings?

    I'm seriously thinking about having an ultimate goal of doing a triathlon before 45 so that way I can spend a year losing weight, a year learning how to run a marathon properly, a year to learn to ride a bike long distance and then a year to work on swimming endurance...I'll take the final year putting them all together and ka-blam 5 years of healthy living attained! I'll be pretty well versed in the "what now" department and head off into the horizon of triathlons in other countries.

    Dammit, where is my Wonder Woman cape?

  46. It definitely sucks. Don't think I'll ever be able to truly conquer the way it can possess me sometimes.

  47. I will always count calories.
    When i reach goal weight..sure there are somethings that I will know the count of...
    but not everything and that is okay.
    Food is not the enemy.
    It is a tool to fuel our bodies and sometimes to enjoy.
    Don't fear it, conquer it.
    good advice, physician heal thyself ey.

  48. My relationship with food is better. I am no longer afraid of it after seeing the good it does for my body.

  49. I can totally relate. food became my nurturing and comfort as a child in a non-loving home, which led to my compulsive eating for the past 30+ years. through OA i have come to realize i'm powerless over it. it's huge just to say that and to embrace it. now i'm moving forward, a little over two years now binge-free. i'm still afraid of the food, but i'm trying to have more control over it than it does over me.

  50. That's too bad. Food's a great thing. But it's better to have a healthy fear than to have it ruining your life.



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