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How To Overcome Eating Anxiety

Hope For Stress Eating

How to Stop Stress Eating and Why You Do It

I pray that youve found this concept enlightening. I used the Crushing Anxiety List for many months until the way of thinking because natural for me.

Now, if I go through a challenging season and sense stress effecting my eating and sleep, Ill pull out this incredible too again.

Well never live in a stress-free world but we can learn how to live in Gods peace in ALL circumstances.

Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

Philippians 4:11-13

Brandice Lardneris a Certified Personal Trainer, Nutrition Coach, Author, Amazon #1 Best Selling Author, and Jesus Girl whose mission in life is to help women ditch the diet mentality and find peace with food and their bodies so that they are better equipped to do the great things God has called them to do.

Understanding The Connection Between Anxiety And Eating Disorders

In many cases, anxiety can be a contributing factor to the development of an eating disorder. For example, a woman who may be suffering from an anxiety disorder, such as social anxiety, may use the manipulation or control of food as a coping mechanism. This can look like restricting overall intake, over-exercising, or binging and purging. In other cases, an eating disorder and its associated behaviors can contribute to anxiety, such as a person who is fearful of eating certain foods or gaining weight.

Ultimately, it is important to recognize how anxiety and eating disorders often go hand-in-hand. One study found that 94% of individuals who were hospitalized for an eating disorder also met the criteria for a co-occurring mood disorder, including anxiety disorders . Anxiety disorders are among the most common and pervasive mental disorders in the United States, affecting over 40 million adults across the country . Some of the anxiety disorders that may present alongside eating disorders can include:

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder
  • Social Anxiety Disorder

Because eating disorders are complex psychiatric illnesses influenced by a multitude of factors, it is important to be assessed for other mental health conditions that may be present, including anxiety disorders. Identifying a co-occurring mental health issue, like an anxiety disorder, is necessary for comprehensive treatment.

Anxiety can be a contributing factor to the development of an eating disorder.

What Can I Eat Instead Of Anxiety

13 Ways to Prevent Stress Eating When Youre Stuck at Home Check in with yourself. One of the most helpful ways to prevent overeating is to understand why its happening in the first place. Remove temptation. Maintain a healthy meal schedule. Dont restrict. Bring out your inner chef. Prevent boredom.

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How Exposure Response Prevention Can Help Overcome Anxiety In Eating Disorder Recovery

For the many individuals who suffer from an eating disorder, including anorexia, bulimia, or binge eating disorder, anxiety is often an underlying issue. Anxiety, in its many different forms, can co-occur with eating disorder behaviors, often exacerbating the problematic symptoms that result from these mental illnesses. Because anxiety and eating disorders are so closely intertwined, treatment must address the anxiety component for optimal healing and long-term recovery.

Breathe When You Feel Anxious

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When you sit down to eat and start to feel anxious, take a second to breathe. In and out. Breathe in for 3 seconds, hold for 3 seconds, and release. This is an effective way to calm down your nervous system.

It may feel like your world is ending. You feel like you are losing control. There may be nothing that fits your eating disorders rules of what you have to eat. You may be feeling pure anxiety.

But its crucial that you take a second to just breathe.Remember that this is one meal, one moment, one step towards a future where food can be food again.

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How Does The Fear Cause Problems

The fear of eating in public can cause many problems in a persons life. These problems can include the following:

  • Stress and anxiety about eating in public
  • Embarrassment and shame about eating habits
  • Inability to enjoy social gatherings or eat out with friends and family
  • Preoccupation with food and weight control
  • Missed opportunities because you are too afraid to eat in public
  • Isolation from others because you are too embarrassed to eat around them
  • Health problems due to restrictive eating habits

When Should I Seek Professional Help From A Feeding Therapist

If food refusal continues despite your at-home efforts, the assistance of a multidisciplinary feeding team may also be needed to help. Research shows that children with severe feeding disturbances benefit most from intensive multidisciplinary treatment and the most effective method of treatment has been to provide cognitive-behavioral therapy while simultaneously addressing contributing factors such as behavioral inflexibility, gastrointestinal problems and sensory processing impairments.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy includes approaches such as repeated exposure which is a method of treatment that involves teaching the child or teen how to think through their emotions then learn to overcome them. Essentially, they are learning to be confident and brave just like a superhero!

Severe food selectivity is often a very daunting issue for many families because eating is ingrained into all aspects of each of our lives. In addition, it can affect many areas of a childs life. Be encouraged to know that there are local supports, such as feeding programs, available to help identify specific problems and offer real-life solutions.

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Eat At Regular Intervals

The longer you go without eating, the more likely you are to eat too much, whether you’re anxious or not.

“You’ve had a long, stressful day, you’re hungry, you’re to overeat,” Dena Cabrera, PsyD, executive clinical director of the Rosewood Centers for Eating Disorders, told Health. “It’s a perfect storm.”

Instead of stuffing yourself in one sitting, eat balanced meals and snacks every three to four hours. Eating regularly like this will help you control your portion sizes and limit the urge to eat out of stress. “The goal is to feel satisfied and not turn to food,” said Cabrera.

Discover If You Have An Eating Disorder

How to stop feeling anxious when eating

It is important to know the warning signs of an eating disorder before discovering whether you have one. Some signs may indicate that an eating disorder is emerging or is currently being experienced. There are behavioral, physical and psychological signs which frequently supplement any eating disorder. If a person experiences numerous of the following symptoms, they should seek help immediately.

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Top 3 Ways To Reduce Food Anxiety

When it comes to food, youre paralysed by the fear that youre making the wrong choice. So you dont make any choice. You keep doing what youve been doing for ages and you dont really see a way out. Even the thought of changing your eating patterns makes you feel anxious and tense.

Many people feel this way about food and at all different ends of the weight spectrum. Whether they are trying to lose weight and theyre confused about where to begin, or whether they want to gain weight but feel stuck in a restrictive pattern.

So, if food anxiety is a hurdle to building a positive relationship with your body, here are some strategies I have found to reduce the stress and make peace with food.

How To Know If You Need Help Overcoming Fear And Anxiety

Sometimes, its not possible to manage your anxiety problems by yourself and thats okay. If youve tried the above steps with no luck , reach out to a coach or counselor.

As mentioned earlier, learning how to manage fear and anxiety is a natural part of life. The fear response was evolved to help us. But it becomes maladaptive when it interferes with your ability to function.

Your anxiety symptoms may be more than you can manage alone if:

  • You often feel overwhelmed

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Fear Of Certain Foods

Some people have a fear of certain types of foods and this can trigger phagophobia. For example, some people have a persistent fear of eating contaminated food. This may lead to phagophobia.

Many times, Phagophobia is triggered by a negative or traumatic experience while drinking or eating. As an example, one of my friends had a previous experience with choking that led to his phagophobia. Being hit in the throat may also lead to future phagophobia.

Fear Of Allergic Reactions

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Individuals with food allergies need to be extra careful about what they eat. They may develop anxiety related to their fear of having an allergic reactionâespecially if they have recently experienced a severe reaction.

Others may have anxiety if they suspect they have a food allergy or experience oral allergy syndrome but do not have an official diagnosis. Certain situations, such as eating in restaurants and in other people’s homes may trigger this anxiety due to not knowing what ingredients are in the food. This can lead to impairments in participating in social events that often involve food.

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Pause When Cravings Hit And Check In With Yourself

Most emotional eaters feel powerless over their food cravings. When the urge to eat hits, its all you can think about. You feel an almost unbearable tension that demands to be fed, right now! Because youve tried to resist in the past and failed, you believe that your willpower just isnt up to snuff. But the truth is that you have more power over your cravings than you think.

What Situations Trigger The Fear Of Eating In Public

For people who have deipnophobia, almost any situation can trigger fear. You may be afraid to eat in restaurants, at social gatherings, or even in your own home if someone else is present.

You may feel self-conscious and embarrassed about your eating habits, and worry that others will judge you or think you are strange. Its not just that youre worried about what other people think. Its that you think there is something wrong with you and its only a matter of time before other people notice.

Below is a list of specific situations that may trigger the fear of eating in public:

  • Eating in front of others at a restaurant
  • Eating in front of others at a social gathering
  • Eating in front of others in your own home
  • Eating when someone else is watching you
  • Eating on camera
  • Eating in public places in general

As you can see, the fear of eating in public can be triggered by a variety of situations. If you have dentophobia, its important to be aware of what situations make you anxious so that you can be prepared for them.

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Try This To Stop Stress Eating

  • and print out 5 copies.
  • Choose a time each day to write your Crushing Anxiety List. Set an alarm on your phone or place an appointment on your calendar. You dont need long, just 5 minutes will do.
  • At your scheduled time, jot down any stressors you have experienced throughout the day .
  • After each of your anxieties listed, note a solution or certainty. Remember even Ill think about it in the morning is acceptable.
  • As these anxieties pop up in your day, assure yourself youve already chosen a solution and theres no further need to think about it. You may want to review your list.
  • If a new anxiety pops up, pull out your list, and draft a new solution. You can be proactive with this. Do not let worries steal your joy!
  • Continue this practice for at least 30 days and then reevaluate. I no longer use this tool at a set time. Ive trained my brain to look for solutions on the fly. Booyah! But, I do pull it out on days that are rocky.
  • Finally, if you need help with an anxious thought, feel free to comment below. Id be happy to chime in with some ideas that may spur you onto your solution.

Alternatives To Emotional Eating

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If youre depressed or lonely, call someone who always makes you feel better, play with your dog or cat, or look at a favorite photo or cherished memento.

If youre anxious, expend your nervous energy by dancing to your favorite song, squeezing a stress ball, or taking a brisk walk.

If youre exhausted, treat yourself with a hot cup of tea, take a bath, light some scented candles, or wrap yourself in a warm blanket.

If youre bored, read a good book, watch a comedy show, explore the outdoors, or turn to an activity you enjoy .

Recommended Reading: How High Can Anxiety Raise Blood Pressure

How To Stop Eating Because Of Anxiety

Sometimes, you may find yourself craving junk food after a long and stressful day. If so, know that you are not alone. Many people tend to seek comfort food to help reduce the feelings and effects of anxiety. While it may help to make you feel better immediately, eating emotionally has significant long-term side effects including diabetes, heart disease and obesity. However, the question remains, why does anxiety make us reach for some feel-good food, and what can we do about it?

Ways To Deal With Food Anxiety

People frequently wax sentimental for what they call simpler dayspresumably times when the rules were fewer and clearer, when choices werent so overwhelming, when demands were less and common sense was more prevalent. Eating, of course, is no exception to this. If you listen to the dominant voices in the social-media-marketing-medical culture, its enough to ruin your dinner and make you feel guilty for skipping breakfast . Were fed contradictory studies, warned of the latest threats lurking in our food supply, told every bite squashes the life out of another ecosystem, and led through fluorescent-lit warehouses filled with more food options and label claims than one person should ever be reasonably expected to handle. Its exhausting, frustrating and on certain days defeating. So whats a reasonable approach in an age when anxiety too often overtakes enjoyment of eating?

Of course, the problem here isnt the intention for healthy eating itself. In our primal ancestors time, healthy eating was a thoroughly mindless endeavor. No one knew anything about nutritional science in the Paleolithic Era, but it didnt matter. Their consideration never wandered past the straightforward question, Is it poisonous? Beyond that single inquiry , bad choices didnt exist.

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Common Causes Of Emotional Eating

Stress. Ever notice how stress makes you hungry? Its not just in your mind. When stress is chronic, as it so often is in our chaotic, fast-paced world, your body produces high levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. Cortisol triggers cravings for salty, sweet, and fried foodsfoods that give you a burst of energy and pleasure. The more uncontrolled stress in your life, the more likely you are to turn to food for emotional relief.

Stuffing emotions. Eating can be a way to temporarily silence or stuff down uncomfortable emotions, including anger, fear, sadness, anxiety, loneliness, resentment, and shame. While youre numbing yourself with food, you can avoid the difficult emotions youd rather not feel.

Boredom or feelings of emptiness. Do you ever eat simply to give yourself something to do, to relieve boredom, or as a way to fill a void in your life? You feel unfulfilled and empty, and food is a way to occupy your mouth and your time. In the moment, it fills you up and distracts you from underlying feelings of purposelessness and dissatisfaction with your life.

Social influences. Getting together with other people for a meal is a great way to relieve stress, but it can also lead to overeating. Its easy to overindulge simply because the food is there or because everyone else is eating. You may also overeat in social situations out of nervousness. Or perhaps your family or circle of friends encourages you to overeat, and its easier to go along with the group.

How To Overcome Swallowing Anxiety : 6 Ways To Conquer Your Fear

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If you have been wondering how to overcome swallowing anxiety, you may very well have a fear of swallowing known as Phagophobia, which is a rare type of phobia. Some people confuse this fear with the fear of choking, which is a different phobia called pseudodysphagia. The biggest difference is that people with phagophobia are fearful of the act of swallowing, while people who have pseudodysphagia are fearful that swallowing will cause them to choke.

Sometimes these fears are mistaken for medical conditions such as odynophagia or dysphagia, but those are both physiological disorders that cause painful or difficult swallowing.

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Shifting Food Anxiety With Food Mantras

When it comes to your own thoughts, feelings and anxieties about food, notice if you tend to tell yourself something shouldnt be this way. I shouldnt eat so much.I shouldnt finish the whole bag of Cheetos in one sitting. I shouldnt be so nervous to keep cookies in the house.

It should be this waybecause it is this way! It is what it is. The best chance we have of moving through any feeling is to acknowledge the feeling, not resist it. Learning how to stop emotional eating or ease food anxiety doesnt involve ignoring or denying our feelings. It may seem counterintuitive, but we have to welcome those feelings. This takes away some of their power!

Today, Ive included a thought-shifting tool thats rooted in a cognitive-behavioral therapy approach. This can help with overcoming emotional eating by shifting some of your negative thoughts around food and health, while acknowledging the truth of whats happening now.

The key here is repetition and practice. The more we practice replacing unhelpful thoughts with more helpful thoughts, the more natural and automatic these new ways of thinking will become!

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