There are some days where I absolutely dread going to the grocery store. Yesterday was one of those days. I do better with my meal plan and week overall if I spend some time on the weekend planning my meals ahead and making a list. I know this and yet it still takes all of my effort to sit down and think about a whole week’s worth of food. It is either stress out for a couple of hours or stress out every meal every day. So although it took some extra time yesterday because of my mood, I made my list and went to the store. I try to go to the store when it isn’t very crowded to lessen the anxiety and I find it also helps to listen to my music as I shop. As far as planning my meals, I have a list with all of my “go to” meals that are quick and easy for nights where I am more busy, and then I have another list with favorite things that take some time, and I have also recently started a new list of recipes that I want to try. This gives me plenty of options when I just can’t think of things to eat and it has a good variety depending on the mood I am in. I have also learned for me personally that although I plan meals for the week, I don’t usually assign the meals on a specific day unless my schedule requires it. I need flexibility because if I get too rigid then I start back tracking into behaviors. Once my list is complete and the trip to the store is out of the way I always feel one hundred percent better.
I sat down to write all of this out today because yesterday was really tough and I needed to reflect some. I guess when I get tired and down mood wise it just makes it that much harder to deal with food shopping and meal planning. It makes sense in the big picture considering I used food to control emotions for so long, but I find it frustrating that even a small mood swing and my brain goes into panic mode about meals. For me this is a trigger because then I put off thinking about meals and planning and the next thing I know I haven’t had anything to eat that day and it is seven at night. Luckily I don’t let myself get to that point anymore but sometimes it is exhausting being vigilant about staying on top of everything. Recovery doesn’t get a day off. I know that my decision to go to the store last night set the tone for this week in a very positive manner. Because I went to the store, I have been following my meal plan and I don’t have to worry about meals the rest of the week. I get to come home at night and make something that sounds good and that is that. If I hadn’t gone to the store I know my week would look a lot different and be a lot more negative. I think everyone, even those not in recovery, could benefit from creating a meal plan for the week. And for those maybe struggling with similar issues around meal planning, it really does get easier and more automatic and sometimes fun to experiment with new recipes- I just had an off day and needed to reflect on it.