Like many people trying to lose weight, calories and fat were scary things—but I've learned to eliminate food fear from my life.

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By Tina Haupert
The other day, I received a comment on my blog that really struck me: "It's great that you allow yourself to enjoy a bagel. I'm too afraid to eat them."

Sure, bagels get a bad rap for being full of unrefined carbs and scant on fiber, but being "afraid" of a specific food really confused me at first. It's not like bagels are baked with poison! But the more I thought about this comment, the more it made sense to me.

Like many people trying to lose weight, I used to fear calories and fat. I kept a close eye on my calorie consumption and diligently recorded my workouts each day. While I never put specific foods in the off-limit category, I worried about eating too much of my favorites because my oversize portions were what led to my weight gain. And while losing weight is tough, it's oh-so-easy to gain it all back!

I learned to stick with nutritional superstars like blueberries, spinach, and quinoa. It's hard to be afraid of something that's so good for you! And most importantly, I know that food does not make me fat—it's the type of food and portion size that may make me gain weight.

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(Getty Images)

Eat real food
It's tough to feel anxious about a food that I know is good for me. Choosing wholesome, nutritious foods are always an easy decision. The thought of a fresh, crisp apple, for instance, never scares me!

Remind yourself that you're in control
A big plate of buffalo chicken nachos can be intimidating. I know it's easy to overdo it—especially when I've had a stressful day at work or I haven't eaten since breakfast. And if I feel like I've already fallen off the diet wagon for the day, I know I may be tempted to continue to pig out. But knowing that I am in control of the situation helps me stop eating when I have had enough. A quick mental reminder before faced with "fearful" food typically does the trick! My plate method also makes me feel in control.

Pay attention to your tummy
If I choose to eat a less-than-nutritious food, I enjoy it without fear because I pay attention to my satiety cues. I eat my favorite foods in moderation, listen to my body, and stop eating before I am too full. For instance, if I want a brownie sundae for dessert, I can have one. I don't fear it because I know I can enjoy a few bites and not eat every crumb in the bowl.

Do you have food fear? How do you handle it?