Food woes

I’ve been noticing in recent weeks that I’m not eating enough and I need to work on that.

Before Paul died my diet and exercise routine was fantastic. I mean, I ate my share of junk food, but 95% of my diet was comprised of healthy, whole foods that were low in sodium and fat. Almost nothing came from a box or a can.

After Paul died I pretty much stopped eating. When I finally got around to feeding myself it was rubbish junk food – canned soups and ravioli, TV dinners, and salty snacks. I couldn’t be bothered to cook. Eventually, I found myself back in the kitchen cooking mostly OK foods a couple of times a week. Then when I took a foster care placement in August, it forced me to start cooking even more and I tried to cook on the healthy end of the spectrum. But I never got back to eating the way I did before Paul died.

Then sometime in October I started to feel the stress of life and noticed I was eating less and less. And it’s not gotten better. On the nights that my foster daughter visits her Mum, I don’t eat at all. On the nights we’re home together for dinner, I’m eating extremely small portions or not at all. At lunch in the office, I’m picking at this and that, or when I go and get a meal, I’m only eating half of it. And breakfast? Well, that seems to have been forgotten about again.

I don’t have body issues; I don’t think I need to lose weight. And at this point, I’m not underweight. But I am certainly under-eating and if it continues I will be at risk of being underweight.

But even though I know that I am not consuming enough calories (and when I do, they’re not the healthiest calories!) I still want to exercise. I still want to run. I still want to be active.

I know that some of my eating is that I can’t eat when I’m upset, stressed, or sad. When these emotions get to me, just the thought of eating makes my tummy upset.

But some of it is that I’m just too lazy to leave my office to get lunch, and I’ve gotten out of the routine of bringing breakfast and lunch to the office with me. And once I’ve gone nearly all day without eating, I am too hungry to know what I want to eat when I get home.

Now that I’ve acknowledged it, I need to fix it. I am aware that it’s a problem and I don’t want it to become a larger problem.

To start, I am going to begin a food journal and will include my mood and stress level in the journal. I think that seeing it written down will help me to know where my problem points are.

I’m also going to do what I don’t really want to do, but think I need to for a while: I’m going to get some store-bought granola bars and frozen meals to keep in the office kitchen. That way, when my reason for not eating is that I’m too lazy to wander over to the union building to get lunch, at least I can eat something.

Of course, I also know that I need to work on lessening the stress and sadness in my life so that I actually care about food again. And I’m working on that; though it seems slow-going at times. I also know that, ultimately, I need to get back to the eating habits I had before Paul died because I was at my healthiest then and I know it had a lot to do with my diet. (Of course, it also had a lot to do with the health benefits that come from a joyful and happy marriage, but I can’t get that back, so will just concentrate on the food part.)

I’d rather not be yelled at about how I really should start eating because, as you can see, I know that and I am now trying to fix it. But I’d love to hear some ideas of how to get my eating back on track. I’m open to hearing your suggestions for quick-and-easy ways to get three meals a day, even when I’m too upset or stressed to eat.

Thoughts or ideas to share?

11 Replies to “Food woes”

  1. I’m probably not a good one to give advice however, I think you should concentrate on two meals a day–breakfast and dinner. Prepare a big batch of oatmeal and portion it out for a week’s worth of breakfasts: zap it in the microwave while you’re peeling a banana and you have a reasonably satisfying meal.
    You have a crock pot–plan your meals and have everything prepared the night before; throw it together and plug it in before you leave for work.

  2. I love your dad’s advice. Another idea would also to be to make extra on purpose when you do cook dinner, and then save the leftovers for the next day. Jeff’s eat leftovers for lunch every day.
    Another friend of mine cooks up a big batch of chicken, brown rice and broccoli on Sunday, and then eats that for lunch all week. She just adds whatever sauce suits her fancy each day.
    I’m not a good resource for dinner ideas though. Even though I do it, I hate cooking dinner. Especially because my husband has more food allergies than anyone I’ve ever met so I can only cook with beef and pork. It gets boring and I run out of ideas.
    What about just a baked potato, or even a bagel. Something easy but rich in nutrients or calories so that at least you’re getting something in you.
    Good luck my dear.

  3. i’m not a great one for having a nutritious lunch planned out (yes, i do eat more than just turkey – that was a one off, thanks for sharing the load) so by the time evening rolls around i’m starving, tired and cranky.
    no. 1 on the nutrition to-do list for me! (i like the idea of a big batch of lunch at the beginning of the week – i might try this idea with soup)
    but we have been eating OK as a family with breakfasts (cereals and toasts and eggs, oh my) and evening meals. i force myself to make a meal plan (usually for a month, but a week will do) then buy all the non-perishables/freezables in one huge shop (to coincide with discount day at the local foodstore). each week has a list of fresh ingredients to buy. i make doubles or more to freeze away. when 5pm rolls around i know roughly what we’ll be eating.
    it takes a lot of planning at first but it’s a great time saver, i’ve rediscovered new recipes, and the food bills are down. for efficiency, i can run the same menu system every month. some nights can be no-cook night. we seem eat well.
    good luck – there’s nothing worse than feeling undernourished and having to do all the cooking yourself.
    now, how do i beef up my exercise plan??

    1. Beef up that exercise plan with support from a friend. I have a friend that lives about an hour and a half away from me, but we workout “together”. It’s easier to do it, knowing that I have a partner in “pain” (heehee), even if it is a long distance partner.

  4. I don’t have words of wisdom regarding eating (although I’m finally at my ideal weight because of eating whole, nutritious foods…for the most part.) When my dad passed away in ’93, my mom couldn’t eat either. She lost a lot of weight…and I found it. It seems like whenever we are sad, food either becomes a crutch (like for me…I gained a ton of weight when he passed) or it becomes something that makes you sick to think about. I’m so sorry that you are going through this.
    I think your dad has a good idea. Focus on eating a healthy breakfast and take some healthy snacks for your desk. Then pop something into the crock pot for dinner.
    Hugs to you!

  5. So I think I’m going to try the oatmeal thing. Before Paul died I used to do that–make a big batch Sunday night and portion into plastic containers then I’d heat it up when I got to work. It worked quiet well–I just need to get the inspiration for making it on Sunday night!!
    Sadly, I’ve found that the crock-pot isn’t going to work too well for me because with my commute I’m gone for nearly 11 hours and most recipes cook for about 8. I tried a couple times but it was dried out when I got home. Maybe just adding more water will help though…?
    I used to take left-overs for lunch all the time, too, but I’m just not cooking these days so that’s hard.
    However, I am planning a big cooking weekend so maybe instead of portioning everything for dinner portions for me and the kid, I can portion half of them for lunch meals for me. Then I can have lasagna and enchiladas for lunches.

  6. You can also make your oatmeal in the crockpot. I throw 1 cup of steel cut oats (that’s important. rolled oats don’t work well for the crockpot) and 4 cups of water/milk/cream. (That depends on what I have. If I’ve got a lot of milk that it looks like is going to go bad before we drink it, I use that. Otherwise, I use mostly water and some cream or milk) You can put your sugaar or fruit right in with it, or just plain. I leave mine plain because the kids and I all like ours different. Dried fruit, frozen fruit, fresh fruit, whatever you like. 🙂
    As for crockpot cooking, adding more water won’t make your food less dry. Things I’ve learned:
    1. You can put your meat into the crockpot still frozen (which is nice when you forgot to thaw something!)
    2. Soups, stews, and roasts are best for longer days because usually, the longer they cook the more tender they become
    3. Crockpot cooking is my favorite way to have dinner on the table at a decent time. 🙂
    I suppose it’s time I do a blog post about crockpot cooking, huh? I can send you some of my fave crockpot recipes, though. They are tried and true from all my on-line girlfriends 🙂

  7. My trick is to make sure i always have stuff in the freezer that i can just microwave when I get in. Home cooked stuff I hasten to add – spending time cooking at the weekend or of an evening when I’m in the mood is well worth the effort.
    the other thing i did, was to start reading recipe books to get me back in the mood. i started marking recipes I wanted to try and then cooked them, making full quantities and freezing the extra for days i don’t feel like cooking.
    The porridge in the morning is a great tip too – I make mine from rolled oats with 2.5 times liquid to oats (half and half water and milk for the liquid), microwaved for 1 min, stir then another 40 seconds, finished off with maple syrup and then eaten while I dry my hair.
    I also always make sure I have healthy nibble stuff in the house – and some unhealthy stuff for treats too. One of my favourites is hummous with carrots, cheese on toast is also a winner. And pasta is always a quick and easy supper.
    You’re on the right track though. Just keep at it!

  8. Argh, I wish I could give some advice. I studied towards a Diploma in Clinical Nutrition…but I’m NOT leading by example. You’re the first person I’ve come across who can describe exactly how I feel about food when I’m stressed. With this process of trying to move to Berlin, my eating routine has been turned upside down. Some days, if I can manage an orange, I’m lucky. 🙁
    I suggest though looking into getting Natural Highs by Patrick Holford – it’s a good read and can get you motivated 🙂

    1. I’ll have to check out that book. I am a fan of Michael Pollan’s books and really do believe in the goodness of whole, natural foods. (With a bit of junk food on occasion for good measure!)
      I’d like to say that my diet has been improving, but that wouldn’t be true. It’s not getting worse, at least, and I’m hoping that the spring weather helps me to get in a better frame of mind, which should help my diet quite a bit, too!!
      I hope you’re able to find your way to a better diet, too!

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