National Eating Disorders Association

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Scared of myself

I'm new in this forum but would like to talk about myself.
I'm 20 years old (almost 21). I'm scared of not being able to control myself when eating and more specifically not being able to stop counting calories all the time. Even when I'm not hungry, the knowing that I'm over/under a number of calories makes me really anxious and to want to cry, something that takes me to "binge" eating or something like that. I like to exercise but still. I wanted to go home to visit my parents this weekend but the idea of my mom telling me "oh, you're gaining weight" or something like that terrifies me, she sees this as something natural to say to people but i know it kills me. Avoiding my own home because of my stupid insecurities. I love my parents, and miss them and just feeling not good enough for them kills me inside. I would like to know someone else's experiences with self control after being very restrictive/disciplined with food intake. How do I stop counting calories?

Post Edited

Hi chacikaren, welcome to the NEDA forums! We edited a few things in your post due to the mention of specific numbers (weights, calories, etc) that may be triggering to other members. Our Community Guidelines are available here:  Thanks for reaching out for support, and we hope you continue to post. 

re: Scared of myself

Hey chacikaren—first of all, welcome to the forums! We're so glad you found us and that you're reaching out here for support. This is a great community full of people who really get it, so you've come to the right place.

Second, by all means, please tell us all about you! I actually have a few questions for you—do you have an ED history or is this a new issue you're struggling with? If the former, have you ever been to therapy for ED treatment? If the latter, does anyone know about what's going on? Anyone you can confide in—maybe your parents, or a sibling, friend, teacher, etc.? There's a lot of stigma around EDs but that's slowly starting to fade, and I think you'll find that talking about this with someone who loves you can be an immense relief while you're trying to navigate your feelings and potential solutions.

I recognize a lot of my own ED voice in what you wrote here—the terror of gaining weight, the obsession with calories. During the three years of my ED there wasn't a single moment when I could ever imagine not knowing exactly how many calories were in everything I ate. I was so obsessed that it became literally automatic, like breathing. And I became so skilled at estimating calorie count that I doubted I'd ever be able to stop, no matter how much time passed.

But that's the tricky thing about eating disorders—once you start to attack their root causes, the symptoms go away. Counting calories stopped being automatic for me because I restructured the way my brain was thinking and shifted the focus entirely away from food, numbers, etc. I remember talking to a friend in college who was in recovery while I was still in my ED. I was crying and crying and lamenting about how I couldn't ever imagine a life where I'd be able to ignore calories, and she said, "You have to think about not thinking about it." What a paradox, right? I had no idea what she meant and she couldn't explain it, but I really get it now. It's about being intentional, actively training your mind to go somewhere else.

It wasn't easy and unfortunately I don't have a quick "here's how to stop" answer for you—it took a lot of therapy and hard work to get better, but then one day I woke up and realized I couldn't remember the last time I had counted calories. What once dominated my life now became something totally irrelevant, not even a blip on my radar.

If you haven't been diagnosed yet, I would encourage you to take NEDA's ED screening test ( to get some more clarity. When you're ready, NEDA can also help you find affordable treatment in your area: Don't give up hope! Recovery is possible—allow yourself to imagine a life not driven by calories. I know it's hard to remember a time before this consumed you, and it's true that you're not going to get back to who you were before, but you can—and will—move forward. Please keep us posted! We believe in you!