It was Superman’s worst enemy, to be avoided at all costs. For us mere mortals kryptonite takes a different form. It’s fat. Fat in food, fat in our bodies. It’s so scary that we’ve got kindergarteners coming home telling their parents that they can’t eat cookies anymore because their teachers taught them that cookies (and other foods with fat and sugar) are like kryptonite.
For people with eating disorders foods high in fat (which are also often more calorically dense) literally light up the fear center in the brain. The eating disorder tells them that the food is dangerous like a saber tooth tiger used to be. When the fear response is activated they lose their ability to think with the logical part of the brain. Fight or flight kicks in.
The antidote? Exposure. Unfortunately, this wouldn’t work for Superman with kryptonite, but it does with food. Every time a person afraid of fat eats it and sees that they are fine after the fear response diminishes just a little bit. Over time the effect accumulates until these foods are no longer scary.
Even if you don’t have an eating disorder you can apply these principles. Neutralize the power of food by exposing yourself to it repeatedly in moderate amounts (I’m not telling you to overeat here). Eventually the cookie will evoke no more of an emotional response than carrots. It will be just food. Just fuel. Just one small part of your life.
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