The Top Reasons Women Have Anxiety Around Food
I’ve talked to a lot of women over the years who have anxiety around food, or they stress about food in some way. This used to be me too, so I understand how it can really take up valuable headspace and energy.
When you’re stressing out about food, you’re so focused on what to eat, what not to eat, and how much, that you’re completely disconnected from the present moment. You’ve likely gone to events that should be fun and exciting, and you leave realizing that you didn’t enjoy yourself because you were stressed out about food or your body. Maybe you miss certain events or opportunities altogether because of what food will or won’t be available.
So, why don’t you feel that freedom and presence you want?
There are many reasons why you might be experiencing anxiety around food. Having this awareness is important because once you know why it’s happening, you can start to change your habits and behaviors. You’re better able to take steps in the right direction and toward creating freedom, instead of the stress and anxiety you’re experiencing. As you read through these, I encourage you to come from a place of curiosity instead of judgment. It’s a lot less fun to try to guilt ourselves into health, and its definitely not sustainable!
So let’s dive into top reasons women have anxiety around food:
1. You’re unhappy in your body. This is one of the most common struggles I see with clients. Maybe you feel self-conscious or maybe your clothes don’t fit the way you’d like. You become hyperaware of the size of your body or areas that you don’t love. You think that to shrink your body or rid yourself of your “problem areas” all you have to do is eat less or cut out certain foods. The problem is that when those foods are off limits, it becomes hard to stay away. It feels like you’re missing out or you can’t have something. You feel disempowered, which is not exactly a comfortable feeling. The anxiety kicks in.
2. You’re disconnected from your body. The second reason you might be experiencing anxiety around food is that you’re disconnected from your body. If you have food rules, or you are following a diet or a meal plan, you’re eating based on outside feedback. You are disconnected from the signals your body is giving you. If you want to learn more about my experience on the very last diet I ever did, you can read more here. Freedom and peace happen when we connect to our bodies and trust our bodies. You know what to eat, when to eat and how much to eat. When you’re connected with your body and trust that your body is giving you the correct signals, you make much more empowered decisions, and you’re confident about your choices.
3. You’re relying on willpower. Another reason that you might be having anxiety around food is that you’re relying on willpower. Willpower is not intuitive. Willpower comes from a place of fear. “I can’t eat that or I’ll gain weight”. “If I eat that I’ll never be healthy.” “Oh I could never eat that.” Fear causes that feeling of anxiety in your body. Fear is disempowering. Also, we all know that willpower only goes so far. You might be able to avoid something for a little while, but eventually you’ll give into your craving and eat way more than you normally would have. We’ve all been there. Instead of relying on willpower, rely on your intuitive body wisdom. We all have it, but after decades of ignoring it or pushing it away, we’ve just forgotten how to listen. We’ve also been so conditioned to not trust our bodies, and to outsource that wisdom. We follow diets and meal plans, when in reality, you are your own best health expert. You know your body best.
4. Control. The last reason we’ll cover today is control. This was a big reason why I struggled with food many years ago. If you have a tendency to control things in your life, it will show up in your relationship with food. If you’re a planner or have a Type A personality, you know exactly what I’m talking about. When we control, we leave very little room for intuition and flow. I’m not saying planning and structure is bad. Structure serves us well in the right amounts and with the right conditions. When you feel anxiety or when you feel trapped, you know it’s no longer serving you. Controlling what you eat, how much you eat, and when, is your mind’s way of preventing things from going wrong. It feels safe to a certain degree and the longer you have done this, the more hardwired it is in your habits and behaviors. If this sounds like you, start to notice where the pattern of control shows up in your life. Start to notice how it makes you feel, and choose just one step to take in the right direction.
It’s understandable why you might want to avoid a certain foods, rely on willpower, and control what you’re eating. It’s common in diet culture to avoid things in hopes of being healthier. It’s the messaging we’ve all gotten for decades, and it’s a 70 billion dollar industry.
My question to you is: if avoiding entire food groups leaves you feeling stressed, anxious, hungry, and isolated, is it really healthy? Take a moment to decide now that those behaviors are causing more harm than health, and commit to letting them go.
Ready for an action step? Send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org telling me which of these top four reasons resonates with you the most. Then tell me one small step you’re taking to create freedom around food.
I’ll be here to support you and be that accountability for you! P.S. I read and answer every message, so you know I’m here for you!