The problem with eating is when you’re having to battle a mental hurtle to consume the calories that it takes to live another day. I’ve been having a few “Bad eating” days. The bad part isn’t junk food… it’s the lack of wanting to eat at all. I’ll be STARVING, look at our fully stocked kitchen and opt out.
Food aversion isn’t new to me. My childhood trauma was being told I wasn’t worthy of the food provided so I should just go to bed. As an adult I get stuck in that mentality when I know it’s false information. Sometimes, like currently, I am not upset or sad but yet still feel unworthy of food. I don’t want to consume it. I don’t want to make it. I want nothing to do with food. I’ll do absolutely anything except eat.
When you’re the personal chef of the house this can cause an issue. It’s all I can do to drink enough water right now. It may be the freezing temperatures we’ve had lately. And the fact that we primarily have chicken available in the house. I’m so tired of chicken but I don’t want to put in the extra effort to “elevate” the chicken into something interesting. Also… why do American casserole dishes have to have five different types of dairy in them?! What’s up with that?!
A few things I’ve done to overcome this aversion to the most important substance for prosperity is “taking charge” of the thoughts. I recognize the spiral. I SEE the spiral. It’s right in front of me. I can feel myself tipping into the mentally disabling spiral that makes me not eat for days, sometimes weeks. Surviving purely on coffee, barely any water and maybe a random meal here or there that I manage to eat successfully.
“I don’t want to eat something super sugary, I already feel fat and gross.” – Passing on cereal, ice cream, yogurt, pop tarts, chocolate– basically anything that takes low to no effort to eat.
“I don’t want to cook anything either.” – Passing on all the meat we have in the house or anything that takes preparation. Including the mashed potatoes or ramen that only take boiled water.
“I don’t want to eat any processed meats because they’re so full of salt” – Passing on jerky, pepperoni, sandwich meats, etc. Things that take little to no effort.
“I can’t order take out/drive-thru because that makes me feel guilty for spending money when we have food at home and I’ll feel greasy and gross after” – Passing on ANY kind of take out from anywhere… for no rational reason. Fast food places sell salads too. I know this… but in the moment I never acknowledge that variable.
See what I mean? I just talk myself right out of all the food. On food aversion days I can talk myself into ice cream USUALLY but right now is not the case. I think that’s because I’ve been suffering from a cold brought on by The Pollenating that has overcome North Carolina. The mucus situation is unreal. It’s been a weird mix of warm pollen filled days followed by freezing temperatures and snow in some places. Maybe my seasonal depression is just freaking the fuck out?! I’ve short circuited my desire for food. Which fucking blows. I love food. I’m a foodie. Going to interesting restaurants and trying things I’ve never had before is probably my most favorite thing to do. Grocery shopping is my favorite type of shopping. It always has been. Creating dishes and baking is a hobby of mine. (I have shared some of my recipes on this blog!)
My relationship with food has never been fantastic. Growing up it took me to become an adult to realize that it was my mother with the eating disorder, not me. She was just projecting her disordered eating onto me. Which isn’t uncommon. Mothers try to “correct” their insecurities with their daughters. It’s a thing. I’ve tried to be better when it comes to my daughter. That’s all one can do… try to be better. Especially when we live in an allergy household. I don’t want to pass down negative stigmas on any foods. Moderation, sure. I say “don’t hurt yourself” all the time. Overeating isn’t a great idea. Having leftovers is okay. My kids don’t have to finish their food for it to be a successful meal time. Walking the tight-rope of what it means to eat with a healthy mindset is tricky.
Solutions for Food Aversion that I’ve tried that work for me, that may work for you too:
- Go Grocery shopping. Don’t want anything at home? Go to the grocery store where ALL the options live! Walk around until you find absolutely anything that interests you or gives that pang of, “I want to eat that” and bring it home. Buy more than one of whatever it is, you may be eating it for the next week straight…
- Get Cooking! Try out a new recipe. Sometimes putting in a lot of effort to create a dish will make you motivated to eat it. This could be sweet or savory! At this point any calories are good calories so you should consume them because we require calories to live.
- Check in with yourself. What’s going on? Is this body dysmorphia related or depression? You feeling sad? How can we make your self confidence better so you can be in the mindset to eat again? Is it a stigma against the food choices you have or maybe a texture thing? You want crunchy or soft things to eat right now? Soup or a sandwich? Maybe a combination of these things? When you close your eyes and imagine your absolute dream meal what do you see? Can you order that or make it at home? You’re worth the extra efforts and money spent if it means you will be fueling your body for another day. Do you want to eat alone right now or need to be with a friend?
- Watch a cooking show or show/movie/youtube channel focused on food. Not diet plans or food source documentaries. Cooking and/or eating shows. Where they make food or eat at restaurants. The Great British Baking Show got me baking bread again a couple years ago. Watching Selena Gomez learn how to cook during the pandemic is probably the most wholesome experience. Maybe they create something on the show that you can do at home. Maybe they eat something at a restaurant/food truck close enough to you that you want to eat and can actually go there to eat it. Go eat it! Google the recipe. Maybe it’s your new default food that you’ll always eat no matter how you’re feeling.
The truth of it is that we ALL have to eat. All of us. No matter how much we make a week or where we live on this planet. We all have to eat. Eating may look different from human to human but eating is still involved. No matter how we feel internally, eating is a must. It’s a requirement of existence. Our relationship to food can be complicated. Some of us are allergic to certain things while others have gastro-intestinal issues that require a special diet. Some of us are very picky and have texture aversions. Other people have no romantic entanglement with food and can eat unflavored chicken breasts and white rice every day without feeling any type of way about it. Some of us prefer our food to be adventurous and filled with spice. It’s all okay. It’s all acceptable. As long as we are eating, it’s all okay. Fed is best, right? That goes beyond babies. We must heal our approach to food in America as a society.
Speaking of food… I should probably eat something.