In a series of posts, we’re exploring the metaphor of the house as the home of your recovery. We’ll go room-by-room to some of the key places that can influence and enhance your healing from an eating disorder.
For those who struggle with food, the kitchen is a room that can have a strong emotional charge. You may feel anxious about what you will eat at an upcoming meal, or upset about something you ate in a previous meal.
You may have a long history and association with negative feelings and experiences in the kitchen, and not all necessarily had to do with food. Sometimes called “the heart of the home,” the kitchen is a common gathering place for family and guests, and that means that many significant events and conversations tend to happen there.
As the place you prepare food to fuel your body and nourish your soul, the kitchen really is a very sacred space. You can taste and feel the difference when food is prepared calmly, lovingly, and with purpose and care.
What can you do to make the kitchen less scary and more pleasant? How can you neutralize any notion of it as “enemy territory?” Here are a few ideas:
- Remove any clutter of things you don’t use, need or love; donate them to Goodwill, have a garage sale, or sell them online; keep your surfaces as clear as possible.
- Keep the focus on food; move toys, papers, homework, bills, etc. to another room; if you’re short on office space, create a small designated area with a clear boundary.
- Bring in some plants; they look great and plants also clean the air in your home!
- Choose soaps that smell and feel luxurious.
- Decorate with appealing colors on the walls and accessories like hand towels and even utensils.
- Organize items so the ones you use most often are always handy, e.g., if you weigh and measure your food, your scale and measuring spoons; if you want to experiment with new flavors, alphabetize your spices so you can always find what you’re looking for.
- Replace florescent lights with task lighting.
- Have lots of clean towels within reach.
Once you’ve made all this effort, take time each day to put things back where they belong and set yourself up for the next day. The FLY Lady, Marla Cilley, recommends cleaning the sink every night so you can be greeted each morning with a shiny sink.
You can also set out the plates, containers, bowls, etc. you’ll need for breakfast and any prep work you’ve planned for the morning.
When your kitchen is organized and efficient, it becomes easier to move beyond simple meal preparation to making your food for a few days at a time. This is a truly loving gesture to yourself and a gift for a future day when you might be busy, rushed, or feeling less confident about making healthy food choices.