Man Loses 300 Pounds, Develops Fear Of Food

Losing 300 pounds is an amazing feat, but one South Carolina man developed an unfortunate psychological side effect: He now has a fear of food.

It took Doug May three years to drop 300 pounds, and — though he can now enjoy slimmer clothing, increased activity, and the simple joy of seeing your feet when you tie your shoes — he has developed a new, unfortunate struggle.

“I’ve developed a fear of food,” he admits. “When I go out to eat, I have to force myself to eat.”

It’s not as crazy as it might sound. Sometimes recovering alcoholics develop a fear of beer and/or bars. They want to avoid temptation and winding up exactly how they were before making such serious lifestyle changes. It’s the same with people who have lost a dramatic amount of weight, says professional counselor Anna Voss.

“It is something I commonly see,” she said. “After working so hard on one particular goal and then reaching it, it makes sense to become afraid of the thing that created the problem for you in the first place. In this case, it’s food.”

May says that he lost the weight by exercising and changing his diet. These days, he says he is “basically a vegan” and that his greatest fear is putting the weight back on.

“If I could get over that, I’d be OK,” he says.

But his fear of food is making it hard for him to enjoy parts of his life, he says.

“When you try to take that out of it, it’s hard to function,” May admits of removing his dependence on food. “I just want to be able to enjoy a pizza with my (10-year-old) son.”

A fear of food is technically an eating disorder, and Voss says that people struggling with such issues should seek professional help. “It is a really complex problem,” she said.

[Image via: Aleksandar Grgic,]