When Eating Feels Hard: Top Tips

I'll be honest, the last two months of my life have been less than optimal. Although I have had some great moments, there have been a slew of events that simply turned me upside down. And, in spite of everything I know about taking care of myself, about how to cook and about the psychology of eating, I lost it.

I lost my groove. I lost my touch. I lost my passion. I lost my desire... to cook, and at times, to eat.

It got me thinking so much about what you come up against on a normal basis. When you don't like to cook, when you don't love food, when you feel too exhausted, depleted, sad, overwhelmed, sick, frustrated, insert-any-emotion-here to eat.

It doesn't feel good. All you want is easy. All you want is done-for-you... no shopping, no chopping, no thoughtful menu, no dishes... just done!

I made it through this challenging time and feel as though I am getting back on track. So, I want to share you my top tips for surviving those moments when eating feels hard. 

1. Whatever it takes, get some groceries in the house

  • Ask a family member to stop by the store
  • Order from Amazon or Thrive Market
  • Get grocery delivery from Whole Foods' Instacart service or see if your local shop delivers
  • Rely on a seasonal CSA (farm share), my saving grace recently (pictured above)

2. Know your top options for eating out

  • Make a list of where you can eat and what is best to order. Do this when you feel good and put it in a kitchen drawer or tape it to the side of the fridge for when the time comes. 
  • Get take out or delivery from your places, if you can't seem to mobilize. In Boulder, we have a service called HungryBuffs that delivers from many places in town.
  • Stick to your list, or stay focused on your good-better-best options. Poor choices will sound good to your brain and emotional state, but pull out your list for the best options.

3. Ask for help

  • Get a meal from a friend or loved one that does not live with you. There's a reason why people bring food to your home when you have a birth or death in the family. These extreme scenarios reduce your ability to initiate and perform, especially in the kitchen.
  • Make a meal date, to get some accountability for eating. Your people know it's hard and they can sit with you while you nibble. Having conversation, or asking them to talk, will likely be soothing (even when you don't feel like it).
  • Ask your parent, sibling or friend to check in on you about meals. Have them send a text message to your phone around meal times, as a prompt or reminder.

4. Keep things simple

  • When you muster up the effort to cook, make an old standby meal that you don't have to think much about.
  • Create a one-pan-meal or something fast like grilling meat and veggies together.
  • Have some prepared items for ease, like sausages or a rotisserie chicken, that can easily become a meal or get eaten right out of the pan.

5. Give yourself permission

  • Do whatcha gotta do to get by! Trust your body... and try to listen, even when it feels impossible.
  • If you need to splurge, do so. But, know that if you do so continually, you will likely feel worse.
  • Ease back in when it feels right.
  • Know that nourishment is more than just food, so only say yes when it feels perfect:
    • Be willing to take time away from work or obligations or give yourself healthy space from friends or loved ones to find what you really need.
    • Let yourself be totally quiet.
    • Or, share your experience intimately with a trusted few.
    • Connect with a coach or therapist for extra support*

*I have added a new montly coaching option at a new rate. Lots of great perks for consistent work together. Click the link above to learn more.