Managing Difficult Eating Situations

For people with an eating disorder or food addiction, eating can be an emotionally charged event. There are certain eating situations that amplify this discomfort, because other people are involved. There may be relationship issues like co-dependency, or unhealthy patterns like mind reading, or fear and anxiety of eating out in the open.

Some people have a spouse, kids, or other family members in the house, and others have roommates. In all cases, there may be foods in the cupboards that feel unsafe or triggering. You may even have to prepare these foods for others.

In the workplace, there can be snack foods in bowls on peoples’ desks, treats to celebrate birthdays or company milestones, or special events with hors d’oeuvres floating unpredictably around the room on caterers’ trays.

These situations and others can be very difficult to navigate, whether you are newly in recovery from an eating disorder, or you’ve been recovering for awhile.

We hear clients tell us all the time that they can’t eat healthier because, “my family members/roommates aren’t interested in healthy food,” or, “I live alone so it just doesn’t make sense to cook.”

Sound familiar? These are not good reasons! They’re false obstacles you put between you and your recovery.

No matter who or what you’re surrounded with in your day-to-day environment, it’s important to cook healthy foods for yourself. You can’t make anyone else eat them, but you can nurture your own body with the nutrients it needs.

In my family, we all have different tastes, and I’ve been making separate meals for my household for years. So I know it can be done, and it’s not that difficult.

For those who live alone, make your own convenient frozen dinners by making a full-size recipe and freezing the leftovers in individual meal portions, and/or packing leftovers to eat for lunch at work the next day. It’s well worth the effort!

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be looking at some specific eating situations and how to get through them.

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