If you’re struggling with HA, then you most likely have a fear of food. And you probably have a list of “safe” foods that you eat pretty much every day. You probably also have a list of foods that are on the “no-no” list and if consumed will require a large amount of guilt and many hours at the gym.
But as you embark on your HA recovery journey, you’re being told to eat many of those things on the “no-no” list which can send your mind into a state of fear. Fear of what these foods will do to your health, your weight and your control. You’ve read all of the articles about no gluten, no dairy, no processed anything etc…So what are you to do?
First let me start by saying that although I recommend eating a fairly “clean” diet whether you’re in recovery or not, I don’t think that means you should completely restrict any one area of food unless you are legitimately allergic to it. The goal during recovery when it comes to what you eat, is learning how to get over your fear of food.
First, you need to start by allowing yourself to eat the foods that you restricted in the past.
Taking these foods off the “no-no” list will give you the permission to eat these foods without guilt. If you need to, you can even create a new list and call it your “HA Recovery Foods”. Doing this will feel official and motivate you to stay on track.
Second, you need to reevaluate all the things you’ve read in the past about different types of foods.
Really think about why certain foods ended up on the “no-no” list in the first place. Was it something that is a legitimate health concern (allergy), or was it placed there more out of fear of gaining weight? If it’s the latter, maybe it’s time to rethink your list. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with wanting to included gluten free, non-gmo etc…foods into your diet, but having a strict rule around ONLY eating those foods is where my concern lies.
Be honest with yourself and ask yourself the hard questions that you want to deny. Recognizing why you put restrictions on certain types of foods is key to overcoming the barrier that could be keeping you from fully recovering.
Third, you need to look at the big picture.
Take a look at what you’re eating over the course of a week. If you eating a diet consisting of 80% relatively “clean” foods (and by clean I mean mostly unprocessed or minimally processed foods) and 20% not-so-good-for-you-but-super-tasty foods, then I’d say you’re doing a great job of keeping your body AND your mind healthy!
Always, always, always look at the big picture. Hyper-focusing one meal leads to anxiety, stress & guilt. All things we DON’T want.
Lastly, remembering that you are worth breaking through the hold that HA has over you.
Conquering your fear of food is just one area, but it’s a big one! When you’re finally able to eat freely, with enjoyment AND give into your cravings, you no longer have to think about what you’re eating next or feel guilt for eating the “wrong” thing. Doing this will allow you to free up that space in your life to enjoy what’s really important.
This process isn’t easy, but it’s worth it! Give yourself time, grace & love. Remind yourself of how far you’ve come and know that each step you take (big or small) all adds up to the life you were meant to live…
P.S. If you’re still feeling a little stressed about your nutrition during recovery, make sure to get your copy of The 28 Day Meal Plan to help you through!