Fear & Food: The Cohabitation that Morphs from Well-Meaning to Destructive

Food is fuel.
You are what you eat.
An apple a day keeps the doctor away.

There are a number of sayings centered around food and although they are often created with the intention of motivating someone to live their best life, they can make people obsess about food in a destructive way.

Many people grow up with an understanding that the food consumed is directly related to the quality of life maintained. School preaches the importance of fruits, vegetables, and protein on their lunch menu. Grandma foreshadows the consequences of pre-dinner treats. Mom throws herself between her children and late-night caffeinated beverage choices like a bomb squad leader protecting her team from a potential roadside IED.

Growing up with an understanding of what foods and habits lead to a healthy lifestyle gives youth a tremendous advantage as they enter adulthood, a time that’s filled with an enormous amount of daily food choices and temptations and no one insisting the healthiest choice be made. Having a foundation of wellness, regardless of how minimal, encourages the scaffolding of a healthy life to stand.

What isn’t discussed often enough is the need for balance. Without an understanding of balance, it becomes easier to fear food. This is not healthy. If healthy choices rule the majority of your life, indulging in an occasional luxurious goodie isn’t going to ruin your waistline. Food is a scrapbook. The scents. The textures. The tastes. The visuals. Food is life, figuratively and literally. Food recalls memories faster than Albus Dumbledore’s Pensieve, so it makes sense that people’s lives center around food. We celebrate with food. We show affection with food. We entertain with food. We apologize with food. We attempt to heal emotional pain with food. We cannot walk away from food like someone can walk away from alcohol, drugs, and bad habits. Food must be consumed to live. There is no way around this relationship, so we need to make it one that accents our lives.

New Years Eve is right around the corner. It marks not only the end of the year but also, the end of the decade and the birth of a new one. It’s the perfect time to add one more food-centered saying to our world: Food is not to be feared; it’s to be respected and enjoyed.

Remind yourself that food and fear aren’t meant to cohabitate. Commit to investing in a healthy life because you fire on all cylinders and feel most alive when nutrients and vitamins coarse through your system. That’s a positive motivation. That’s a healthy mindset. That’s an approach that will allow the occasional indulgence to be fuel for a new memory, not guilt.

Author: Evelyn Lindell
Certified Health & Wellness Coach