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How to Stop Food Anxiety

Food has become part of people's psyche: they use it as a reward, punishment or health, depending on how they feel about it, according to an article in "Psychology Today." If you’re experiencing food anxiety, it’s probably more related to the way you see food than to the food itself 1. Learning to deal with your emotions about food will make it easier to eat for health and nourishment, without having to stress over your meals.

Make a list of the reasons you’re feeling anxious about food. This is key to making the necessary changes to overcome the anxiety. Note whether you’re worried about gaining weight, getting sick or falling into old eating patterns. Try to identify where the anxiety originated. If you suffered from an eating disorder in the past, this might be the cause. Or it might come from peer pressure or from a past experience.

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Write down a list of things you can do to deal with those feelings. For example, you can keep a food diary to help you track calories and not have to worry about eating too much. If food makes you sick, talk to your doctor about trying an elimination diet to figure out if you’re allergic to a specific food, such as wheat or dairy.

Learn more about nutrition. If you’re worried about gaining weight, learn how many calories you need to eat to maintain your current weight (See Resources). That way you can control your calorie intake and not have to worry every time you sit down to eat.

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Eat at pre-set times. If you're always eating on the go, you might end up worrying or thinking about food all the time. By planning your meals, you can deal with food just a few times a day and then move on with your life and your other activities.