Fearless or Fear-Based — What Kind of Eater Are You?


Do You Enjoy or Live in Fear of Food?

eat-what-you-loveI’ve been reading the new book Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat for Binge Eating, co-authored by Michelle May, MD and Kari Anderson, BH, LPC. One of the reasons I had heard about this book is that Dr. Anderson has joined our staff at Green Mountain at Fox Run just this week. We’re thrilled for her to bring her expertise in binge eating and binge eating disorder to add to our already powerful program in this area.

Fearless Eating: An Insightful Chapter

So hearing that Kari Anderson was coming to Vermont led me to her book. Eat What You Love… provides a very specific, step-by-step process for becoming a more mindful eater.

Read This Related Article:
Eat What You Want to Prevent Overeating

I’m reading along and impressed by the authors’ insights until I suddenly stop short at Chapter 6, “Fearless Eating“, which is about trusting yourself to “eat what you really want.” It’s something Marsha talks about quite a bit at Green Mountain but I have never quite trusted or been able to fully embrace this concept. Just hearing those words puts a knot in my stomach.

But when I saw it in print, it reinforced in a compelling way what I had already learned.

What is Competent Eating?

Fear-Based Eating: I can’t trust myself.

“And this belief of not trusting myself is a self-fulfilling prophecy… if I have even one bite of something, I will automatically binge. Depriving/restricting myself from certain foods gives them power over me. And this lack of self-trust often comes from a history of cycling between overeating and restrictive eating.”

Fearless Eating: I can trust myself to eat in a way that nourishes my body, mind and spirit.

“When I give myself unconditional permission to eat what I want, I’ll notice that food quickly loses the power and strong attraction it once had. I’ll begin to trust that I can choose from all the wonderful food choices available when I’m hungry.”

Learning To Trust Yourself Is The First Step In Fearless Eating

Hmmm. Trusting myself to give myself unconditional permission to eat what I want. How will I know if I am trustworthy unless I test this out?

Are You a Fearless or Fearful Eater?
Always fearful
Mostly fearful, occasionally fearless
An even mix of both
Mostly fearless, occasionally fearful

Poll Maker

So, on the second evening of the blazing heat wave smothering the Northeast, I found I had no appetite for a hot dinner. Or even cool salad (and I really do like salad).  I did, however want ice cream.

I didn’t really feel I was craving it but that my upset stomach and over-heated system wanted a cool break with something sweet. So I made a Fearless Eating decision: I would eat what I want.

I skipped dinner and went out bought a cup of raspberry sorbet. It was perfect. It hit the spot. In my mouth and in my mind. I ate it slowly on the porch of the ice cream shop and enjoyed every drop. When I was finished, I was done. Calm. Satisfied. Happy.

If this is what Fearless Eating really feels like, my Fear-Based Eating days may be seriously numbered.

Learn About Our Program for Managing Binge Eating

4 responses to “Fearless or Fear-Based — What Kind of Eater Are You?”

  1. Harriet Krivit says:

    “a binge” means something different to folks I’ve talked with…what’s your definition?

  2. I agree with you, Harriet. Binge eating does mean different things to different people. Dr. Kari Anderson, a binge eating specialist at Green Mountain at Fox Run describes it as'”an attempt to use food to regulate, moderate or balance your physical, emotional or mental state.” In other words, using food for purposes other than hunger.

  3. AmberLynn Pappas says:

    I try to give myself permission to eat what I want, when I want it. However, I think you really need to take the time to think about if that will truly satisfy you in the end. Like, if I’m frustrated and candy sounds good to me; I consider if the candy will solve the problem or just create another one?

    • You just described”mindfulness” AmberLynn. Taking that moment to ask that question makes all the difference. Then, whatever you decide you’ll be fine as long as you’re honest and you pay attention.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

About the Author