(a chapter from Telling Ed No! by Cheryl Kerrigan©)

The thought of food brought me so much anxiety and fear that I was often paralyzed around choosing and preparing my meals. Somehow I needed to accept and get comfortable with seeing, touching, smelling, preparing, and tasting it. Figuring out what to eat for each meal and snack was a particularly hard struggle because Ed would always chime right in. It was a challenge to stay focused because his voice was so loud!

To help me with all that, I decided to take my meal plan requirements and create meals and snacks three days ahead of time. This way I didn’t have anxiety every day about what I was going to have or not have. I already knew ahead of time. For three days, all I had to do was look at my list, prepare the food, and eat it. I also scheduled the times that I would eat my meals and snacks each day, so I was set with a plan that gave me a sense of safety and security. This also alleviated any fear and confusion related to food, so I could focus on more important, deeper issues.

Then, when the three days were up, I would figure out the schedule for the rest of the week and added more of my “fear foods” and foods I was craving to the meals. I knew doing this was the only way to overcome my food fears. Without a plan, I had too much time to think about what to eat or not to eat, which is when Ed would sneak in. I needed to be proactive. I didn’t want him to take control, so I prepared and kept myself on track.


Sit down and make a list of some of your fear foods and cravings. With your meal plan requirements at your side, take that list and plan out the next few days of meals and snacks. Don’t just include your safe foods when planning; take some risks. Remember, there is no such thing as bad food. Anything goes here. Get creative and let recovery lead you.

With health, hope and strength,