Food fear

Food has been a significant part of my life, for most of my life. I became a food addict when I was a young teenage girl and held onto this addiction for dear life until only somewhat recently.

I most certainly didn’t have a food fear. Food was my friend. I was never afraid of it. But yet, there was an undercurrent of said food fear running quietly in the background. Not necessarily from me but from others.

There has been many moments in time where, we as humans, have gotten it very, very wrong when it comes to food.

A constant battle is at play to either demonise certain foods or for other foods to be sent straight to heaven for their heavenly components. This has been going on for quite some time.

Over the years information has been released as the latest exciting news in food, only to then be dismissed by another piece of information that is its polar opposite. It is highly confusing for those trying to keep up.

In the 1970’s there was quite the quiet battle between a biochemist and a physiologist about whether fat was more detrimental to health than sugar, and the other way around. This argument resulted in fat being ruled by the American government as a major health concern introducing a gazillion low fat items to the supermarket shelves. Sugar was now a prominent player in these products to ensure flavour was still present.

Fast forward thirty-plus years and sugar is now on the hit-list.

In the last fifty years there have been other battles raging on in the media with story after story reporting old/new information confirming and denying that this food is good for you or that this food is bad for you. It’s a mind fuck listening to it all.

There has been butter vs margarine. Healthy fats vs saturated fats. Calories in/calories out. Eggs. To eat or not to eat? That is the question! Too much sugar. Too much fat. Too many calories. Does it have a bazillion grams of protein because protein is the golden child and cannot do any wrong. Even the food pyramids have been a little topsy turvy with grains shown as the best to be consumed on higher levels, with fruit and veg being less. Food pyramids have been changed numerous times but only recently has fruit and veg got to the bottom spot where it is encouraged to be consumed more than the other food groups.

When did we begin to rely on others to tell us what to eat instead of knowing for ourselves?

Did it begin when manufacturing was introduced as a way to get more food out to more people? When the idea to put everything in a can was conceived?

Did it begin when convenience foods started popping up in areas close to homes and schools?

Did it begin when those terrible mothers went out to work and didn’t have time at the end of the day to cook for their children so it was microwave dinners and fast food?

Did it begin when microwaves were invented so convenience food became even more convenient?

Did it begin when advertisers advertised their foods for sale in a way that had us believing they were “good” for us? Or just quick and easy? Or made our lives so much better? Or cheap?

We could blame it on a multitude of things. We could demonise it all because, as humans, that’s what we like to do. We like to blame.

Maybe we have been manipulated into accepting the opinion of others as if that is the final say in the matter.

Our society is full of history that has changed us as a whole. The pandemic in recent years saw the rise of food being delivered from any restaurant, any fast food joint or any supermarket at all times of the day and night.

Food is everywhere.

Which begs the question…is all of this information really causing us to fear food or are other factors at play?

As I was growing out of my teenage years and into early adulthood, I saw food as only being able to do two things. Help you to lose weight or make you fat. That was basically all food was back in the 90’s. It wasn’t healthy as such. Maybe as a spin to get you to buy it because it will ultimately help you to lose that unwanted and stubborn fat!

This message is still being repeated today. In so many different ways.

With all of the social media platforms and internet pages dedicated to losing weight, the message of fear about food reaches a wider audience. When I scroll through my news feed or get sucked into watching too many funny animal videos, there is always one or two videos that sneak in on how best to lose weight, how best to eat, how best to exercise.

Don’t eat this. Don’t eat that. Only eat this. Only eat that. This will make you fat. This will make you skinny. This will cause disease. This will get you healthy. Don’t run. Run. Don’t do cardio. Do weights.

Contradicting. Manipulative. Opinionated. Money making.

Bad. Good. Bad. Good. Bad. Good.

How will we ever know what to eat? How will we ever know what to do with our bodies? How will we ever know what is best for us if someone else doesn’t tell us? How can we even trust any of the information out there?

I am guilty of this. I put so much trust in the opinionated facts of others that I lost sight of what I needed. What was best for me.

We are all so ridiculously different. How does this “one thing” work for everyone?

It doesn’t.

I may not have had a food fear but my connection to food has taught me so much in the past couple of years. My addiction is now behind me and I can honestly say that food is no longer my fucked up friend. We have reconciled. I have apologised to food because I blamed the food for my addiction. I wasn’t addicted to food because the food was addictive. I was addicted because I hated myself. I wanted to punish my disgusting body. I wanted to rid myself of every part of who I was and who I desperately wanted to be so I stuffed myself stupid with food to shove it all down into the depths of my being so I didn’t have to deal with it.

If my food addiction has taught me nothing else, it is this. Food is not the enemy. Food can actually be a great friend. It is there to nourish us when we are hungry. It is there to be enjoyed as it nourishes our body. That’s it. Why make it anything else?

Every week there is another story about food that makes it out to be bad. And, all of that information has not deterred many human beings to stop eating said food. Thousands of products laden with fat, sugar, salt, additives and all the other “crap” in processed foods are thrown into shopping trolleys every single day around the world. People still eat “that stuff”. Why? Because people will always do whatever the fuck they want.

So we should.

Inside the mind of every single one of the eight billion people on this planet there lies a very distinct and personalised world. Made up of feelings and thoughts, experiences and circumstances, pain and trauma, love and hate, ideas and desires, wants and needs, and so much more. All of that contributes to how they eat and why. My why is different to your why. My life so far is nothing at all like your life so far. So, how can we all be expected to eat exactly the same? Exercise the same. Live the same. It feels like there is this desperate need for it to be all uniform. But, we know that we don’t want that, that’s why most of us rebel is one way or another.

This idea of what works for me will absolutely work for all you too, is ridiculous. Maybe all of it will, maybe some of it will, maybe none of it will. Its ok to try though. If it feels right for you. And, that is the most important part in all of it. What FEELS right for you. Not just because someone said so.

Years ago I used to have a very controlling nature, where what I believed was what we all must believe. Its one of those not-so-charming human traits. We all do it to one degree or another. Even with the best of intentions.

I don’t want this column to be misconstrued. I am not having a go at anyone (ok. Maybe just a smidge) but everyone is entitled to be who they are, whatever that may be. We are all here for different reasons. Just because someone shared something it doesn’t automatically make them right. That goes for me, too.

There really is too much fear around food. I genuinely don’t think any of it is helping with the bigger picture. There are too many variables that create the conclusion. Who’s conclusion is it, though?

Writing about all of this feels huge because, once again, there are too many variables. So many different reasons as to why people eat or don’t eat. My life was meant to go the way it did in regards to my food addiction. There is a strong sense of it intending to happen. Designed just for me to get to where I am now. Sharing what I have learned with you all. It doesn’t mean you’ll agree with the words I write or the words I speak. I am like everyone else these days. I have something to share.

Each day that passes I get stronger and stronger, and I move further and further away from my food addiction. Why? Its not only because I don’t want that for myself anymore, it’s mostly because I am so determined to get to know myself better. I have hidden her away for too long.

As I call to mind this one part of myself that has always been there, I can see why all of this stuff fascinates me. I have constantly looked at human behaviour and wondered why people do what they do. If I could get into the minds of everyone to figure this out then I would enthusiastically jump right in.

Food and human behaviour are even more fascinating to me now that I am unravelling myself from my food addiction in favour of understanding myself and why I had it in the first place. Once I started removing the layers, it opened up not only who I am underneath, but it opened up a wider and clearer perspective on the world around us.

Food fear does not have to be a thing. It can become not a thing when you listen to your own loving voice as they guide you to what is best for you and your body.

There are too many factors that come into play when choosing what to eat. Personal history, family traditions, upbringing, society, body type, genetics, desires, traumas and pain, convenience, fear, love, hate. The list goes on. So, how can it be said that there is a one size fits all approach to food? Only you can know what is best for you. Only you can know what you need and want.

With my food addiction gone I can hear my loving voice as I stand at the fridge or pantry with a hungry belly wondering what to eat. Old thoughts may pop in but I have the ability to know that they are from the food addiction me rather than the connected and reasserted me who knows I don’t have to give in to that voice in my head when they tell me to just eat the chocolate or to just eat that food I don’t actually want.

I get to decide. No body else.

No longer do I demonise any foods. They are all on the same level. If I choose to eat something I do it with love. If I choose to eat something I do it with joy. I get to ENJOY food. I get to be friends with the food I eat. I listen to my body and what it needs. This morning before I began to write this I had two breakfasts. I was genuinely hungry. I went for a run this morning (which I thoroughly enjoyed) and ate a little while after. I was happy with my choice. It was delicious. It filled me up nicely at the time. An hour later I was hungry again. I didn’t overeat. I looked at my options and felt my way to my choice.

This is what we are missing with our food choices. OUR choice. Feel your way into your own choice in what you want to eat. Does it feel good? Does it feel right? If not, then why? Work out why with yourself. Go deep within to figure it out. Feel the fear of the answer and find out anyway.

And, when you do make a choice of what to eat, as you take each bite, feel love for yourself. As best you can. Why hate yourself? You don’t deserve that. Ignore all those shitty thoughts inside your head as they do their best to convince you of things that aren’t true.

Let go of whatever food fear you may have and replace it with joy. Love. Something nice.

That good feeling just may change how your body receives the food.

We are learning so much about the energy of us and the energy of everything else in this universe. Surely, holding onto a good feeling when you eat inserts that good feeling into the food as it enters your body?

Dr Masaru Emoto experimented with water many years ago. The results are fascinating. When observed with Magnetic Resonance Analysis technology and high-speed photographs, he noticed the water spoken to with gratitude held a much more beautiful shape than that of the water spoken to with evil ( you can check out some of the photos here). I have also seen photos of different types of tears that are not all alike when they are captured during varying circumstances. Happy, sad etc. (Have a look at them here).

One more experiment I want to share with you is one done on rice. Three different jars of the same rice are either spoken to with gratitude (thank you), hate (I hate you) or completely ignored. Guess which one thrived and which ones decayed? (Check out the many experimentation videos here )

I mention the experiments to you because if the results are anything to go by, the food we put into our bodies can be affected by our thoughts and feelings also. Our thoughts have the power to cause many a disease and illness and pain. They affect us when they are mean and horrible and they affect us when they are loving and kind. Are the components of the food more important than the thoughts about the food? What if loving and enjoying every single mouthful that you choose to eat ends up having a more powerful effect than the components themselves?

We used to say grace before a meal. Yes, it was thanking God but the gratitude is still the same whoever you may send your thanks to.

Mind over matter. Love wins over all. Positive energy inspires more positive energy.

I can say from experience that when I eat food with joy and love, it feels so much better. No doubt. No shame. No guilt. No fear. Let all of that shit go.

And, of course, when those shitty thoughts begin to crow loudly in my head as I am doing my best to make an inspired and loving choice of what to eat I simply yell back “SHUT THE FUCK UP!”

Your exercise for this week is to have an intuitive think about your relationship with food? Do you have a food fear? What foods are you “afraid” to eat because you believe they may harm you in some way? Are there foods you are eating that you know aren’t what you genuinely want to but you continue to eat them anyway? Why? Talk to yourself. Ask yourself questions about the foods you are eating.

Take a big piece of paper and make two columns. In the first column write at the top “foods I’m afraid to eat”. In the second column write “foods I like to eat”.

In the first column list all the foods you are afraid to eat. Beside each food write the reason why. Where did the “fear” come from.

In the next column list all the foods you eat now that you enjoy and foods that you would like to eat without the fear. Do these feel right for you? Is it possible to include them in your daily diet?

Have fun with it. And, be honest with yourself and the reasons why. Open yourself up to inspection and listen to your own loving voice.

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