Healthy and Sane

Food anxiety

September 6th, 2010 · 21 Comments · food issues

Is it just me or this weekend flew by? I can’t believe it’s Monday night already. Yikes! 😯 I guess time flies when you’re having fun, right? Right. 😉 I planned on blogging about something completely different this weekend but I realized something about myself yesterday that I thought some of you may relate to so we’ll go with this more relevant topic instead. :) Here we go…

Yesterday we had plans to spend a day by the pool at our friend’s Kyle’s parents’ house (got that? hehe). Adam grew up with Kyle and this is something they’ve done every weekend for many many years (and every weekend became every long weekend as we grew older). I woke up yesterday, made breakfast, relaxed for a bit and then it was time to go. This is when I started freaking out about what I should bring. We’re talking about food of course. These pool days are very standard fare – everyone comes over whenever they feel like it, bring whatever food they feel like, grill it whenever – you get it. Totally chill. Yet, seriously – every.single.time I freak out as we get ready. Why you ask? Because despite ditching the diet mentality (at least over a year ago), I still have food anxiety when I’m in an environment I don’t have full control over. Sounds familiar to anyone?

When I first started counting calories, I used to be afraid to eat out at restaurants that did not post nutritional information (I allowed myself one day off/week to eat whatever). Thankfully, this little phobia is long gone but apparently I’ve acquired new ones. Now I’m afraid I’ll get hungry. I’m afraid the only food that will surround me will be “unacceptable.” How do I define “acceptable” food? It’s no longer “low calorie food” – now it’s “delicious, ethical food.” Basically, I’m afraid I’ll be hungry and the only thing I’ll be able to eat will be hot dogs or sausages of questionable origins, made of questionable ingredients. Just the thought of it right now makes me shudder a bit. This has happened before and I was not a happy girl. This fear is well founded.

So as I had a mini-anxiety attack right before leaving, I grabbed a whole bunch of food – a whole cooler’s worth. What’s great is that I usually end up bringing so much stuff that everyone actually gets to enjoy some fresher fare. I’m all about spreading the (organic) love. 😉

Yesterday’s cooler included: rainbow carrots from the farmers market (I peeled and cut them up before leaving) + red pepper hummus

Everyone was mega impressed by the colorful carrots. So fun! :mrgreen:

Arnold’s Sandwich Thins I received for free through the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program (all we had bread-wise).

A giant organic heirloom tomato

+ some frozen grass-fed beef patties and a whole cantaloupe! (unpictured). Yeah like I said, I’m afraid of getting hungry.

The appetizer was carrots + hummus – everyone loved this combo. Of course 😉 Then I grilled some beef patties – topped mine with cheese, tomato, hummus and plopped it in a sandwich thin.

So about that sandwich thin… I know they are mighty popular in the blog world. I never really got the appeal but an opportunity to taste them for free was all I needed to give them a go. First of all, I was annoyed (an understatement) that the package proudly stated these were high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) free. Awesome. What is not so evident from the first glance at the package is that the ingredients list includes splenda.  Really? I find this to be completely ridiculous. I’m going to assume that educated people avoid HFCS because it is unnatural. Guess what, so is splenda given that it’s an artificial sweetener. I just hate stupid marketing schemes like that, but we’ll move on to the taste (btw, I was boycotting these until we ran out of all other bread options I could bring to the party and I decided to just chill and move on). As far as the taste – these were not bad. They pretty much tasted like regular whole what bread – slightly sweet. Pretty yummy. I did, however, think they were too thin. Yes, I know they are called sandwich thins, but just look at this bread-to-meat ratio…

Eating this baby was quite the spectacle – a giant mess would probably adequately describe it. I was not impressed. I’m sticking to my beloved Food for Life english muffins and buns going forward (my grocery list has been updated :) ). They are so hearty. I’ll take the extra 60 calories.

So did my little strategy of bringing more than I could eat work? Kinda. There were still too many of these…

… because I got hungry. And then I remembered about that cantaloupe that was in the fridge and all was well again. 😀

Some card action (and monopoly) also helped with hunger distractions. :)

It was definitely a fun day in the sun. Nothing to freak out over. 😀

How do you spend long weekends in the summer? Do you ever experience food anxieties?

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21 Comments so far ↓

  • #1 - Lauren

    I’m with you on the Sandwich Thins… I am a carb-lover, and these just don’t cut it for me. In my opinion, great bread is what defines a good sandwich, and I’d rather consume more (all-natural) calories and actually thoroughly enjoy my bread!

    Those rainbow-hued carrots are gorgeous – glad to hear they were a hit at the get-together.

  • #2 - Lauren at KeepItSweet

    I can totally relate! I hate getting super hungry and then not feeling like i have “good” options to eat… usually I have almonds or bars with me just in case, but bringing food you like to share is a good idea.

  • #3 - Jess

    Ah I so feel you on this one (as we also discussed at brunch yesterday!) – I used to get so anxious too. Now, I try to just plan for a little overindulging when it comes to parties and such. If I plan for it, I will feel a little bit less guilty for eating ‘out of the norm’ and realize that I can go back to “normal” the next day. It usually does the trick – plus bringing healthy options helps too, I love those rainbow carrots!!!

  • #4 - MelissaNibbles

    I think EVERYONE gets food anxiety, we just don’t talk about it. We should though. People might offer healthier foods if they knew their guests want to eat healthier.
    Good catch on the sandwich thins! I’m not a fan of them to begin with (I need more bread in my sandwich!!).

  • #5 - Kelly

    The weekend did fly by! I think I used to stress out about it a lot more than I do now. I have to say, seeing a therapist helped a lot. I had a lot of control and anxiety issues overall and it was manifesting itself strongly in my relationship toward food and exercise. Seeing her helped a lot to figure out what of my issues were in my head. It used to be that everytime I had a stressed or anxious moment I would stop and journal about it. Basically she gave me a form and I would fill out 1) What triggered how I was feeling, 2) How I was feeling emotionally, 3) Wha automatic thoughts were coming into my head (I.e. that I was fat, that I really absolutely positively had to eat something, etc.) and then 4) a rational response to my automatic thoughts, usually what I thought a kind and caring friend might say to me. It seems like a lot of work, but now I can do it automatically in my head. It honestly helped, so much. My whole attitude toward life changed and my attitude toward food as a biproduct. I’m not always perfect, but I feel much more in control and am better able to stop and assess situations.

  • #6 - Katie @ Health for the Whole Self

    I can totally commiserate. Even though I too have ditched the diet mentality, sometimes I still freak out over social events where I have no knowledge or control over the food situation. I think your idea of bringing lots of fresh, healthy fare to share is a great one!

    I THINK (but I’m not sure) that the Trader Joe’s version of sandwich thins are splenda-free, but now you have me wanting to check as soon as I get home! Good catch! :)

  • #7 - Julie

    No, I don’t get food anxiety anymore. I know that when I go to BBQs/parties, I often have to subsist on chips because there often lack veggies. Expecting the worst allows time to plan ahead and maybe eat beforehand or drink a lot of water. I think portion control is key at any gathering. Also, I’ve been getting pretty good at stopping when I am full… I think that’s been THE key for me! (it was tough to learn, believe me… but I’ve developed a deeper connection with my stomach, lol)

  • #8 -

    wow thats a good point to bring up about anxiety over NOT having good food choices that are healthy and abundant.. fearing u’ll be left with the worst options and feel obligated to choose the best from the worst. i think a lot of people can relate to this, especially in situations where u may have no idea what other people are bringing and ur left to speculate…


  • #9 - Jessica@tastyandtrim

    I can completely relate. I used to avoid social events at all costs due to my fear of “acceptable” food options. I have come far since those times, but I still have anxiety when it comes to eating at parties and sometimes it results in binging. It definitely is a work in progress and with time it will get easier to let go of the fear. I appreciate posts like this! It inspires me and shows me I am not alone, thank you :)

  • #10 - Lacey

    Hi Elina – I read your blog all of the time, but rarely comment – today I wanted to let you know that I gave you an award over on my blog –
    I really love how open and real you are about the situations that face you and hopefully you know that you aren’t the only one that struggles. Keep it up girl – you are doing great!

  • #11 - style'n

    those rainbow carrots look awesome! And don’t you just love sandwich thins? they are a new staple in our house…perfect for burgers and sandwiches. glad you had a great weekend!

  • #12 - style'n

    Elina-those rainbow carrots look awesome! And don’t you just love sandwich thins? they are a new staple in our house…perfect for burgers and sandwiches. glad you had a great weekend!

  • #13 - Sues

    Glad you had a successful time :) I LOVE those carrots… Awesome!!

    I’m not crazyyy about the sandwich thins, but I do eat them from time to time. I’m on a new bread-making kick, so now I’d rather just make my own bread!

  • #14 - Daisy

    I haven’t tried the sandwhich thins but I love the bagel thins! I think the name of them should be taken literally – use them on sandwiches and not for burgers?! Just a thought. haha. Looks like a fun day and I’m glad your fresh eats were a big hit!

  • #15 - Shannon

    i think this was a great way to deal with any stress you felt! i always remind myself that everyone else always enjoys the healthier things i might bring (as well as indulgent), so not to worry so much. sometimes it works 😉

  • #16 - Erika @ Food, Fitness, & Fun

    Food Anxiety aside, all the food you brought was awesome! I would go to that party any day! :-)

  • #17 - elyssa

    hi elina! thank you so much for your words. i just discovered your blog today. im a faithful follower of angela (oh she glows) – and i clicked on a comment of yours on her binge eating section. sometimes after a particularly distressing food experience, i look to the blog world for support – and im so happy to have come across you. thank you so much for speaking up about food anxiety.

  • #18 - Heather

    Wow, this post really hits home. I experience the same feeling in social situations. I’m trying to relax about this though, and enjoy myself, instead of worrying so much.

    I’m impressed by those carrots, too!! :)

  • #19 - Cara

    I can totally relate and have had my share of anxiety over situations where I can’t control the food (and it’s not a planned “eat whatever” meal/day). But you did great! And can I just say I looove those purple carrots. We were successful in growing a few of our own this year!

  • #20 - Kerstin

    What gorgeous carrots – I’m not a huge carrot fan but I’d love to try those! It’s always nice to have healthy options at parties :)

  • #21 - Pauline

    I can totally relate to this blog post! I went to a private party at Boston Beer Works, and all they had to eat was nachos, french fries, poppers, a couple of pale celery garnishes and beer– total deep-fried, nutritional nightmare. I ended up eating tons of calories while not feeling satisfied, and feeling like I STILL wanted a proper dinner. I have been working with a therapist to be able to tolerate these every-day “normal” situations, because I was becoming a hermit out of my fear of messing up my calorie budget. It is not easy. I love it when someone brings tasty, nutritious food to a party. Thanks for sharing this blog!