Food Struggles: Quarantine Edition

January 26, 2022

Let’s talk food and quarantine. My friend, Ashley Marand, and I led a talk on intuitive eating and how being mindful with food, your body, and self is the key to helping us get through quarantine.

For years, I’ve struggled with body image. In high school, I began yo-yo dieting, which later led to a severe eating disorder. Living in New York City, the everyday stresses & anxieties led to a cycle of disordered eating. I spiraled in to a cycle consisting of binge eating, restriction and excessive exercising.

It wasn’t until I found the right therapist to work with me. This therapist focused on nutritional therapy. She worked with me to develop the habits to train my brain to think before consuming. Together, we worked on food journaling and intuitive eating. The practice of really really really listening to my body and my food cues. I literally had to bring a piece of paper with me to decipher these emotions [more to come on this].

I bring this up during this time because, for me, quarantine brings all of my old thoughts and habits to the forefront. This time stuck indoors tests the skills that I’ve learned. I find that my mind automatically goes to the questions: “should i eat that? If i do, do i have to do an extra work out?” This fear, yes irrational to some, sits deep in the middle of your stomach.

However, sometimes you realize a turning point. Yesterday, I realized in action – how far I have come. Time for a story:

At about 6pm, I was getting ready to figure out what I was going to have for dinner. Truthfully, I didn’t even want dinner. I really wanted something sweet – like ice cream, a brownie – something luscious and delicious. I’m a huge sweets person! For me, sweet over salty, always.

Had I not been practicing mindful eating, the story would go: I make dinner. I have a nice mix of veggies with salmon and all the goodness. Don’t get me wrong – there is nothing wrong with this, and this is typically what I would eat. But because I didn’t listen to what I truly wanted – I would have had some chocolate, some granola, some ice cream, made some macaroni and cheese…you see how it goes. But, the actual story was quite different.

Last night, I made an ice cream sundae. That’s it and i was satisfied. I walked away from the kitchen, and cuddled with Jakey, and was done for the night.

I tell this story for one reason. To show that I intuitively listened to my hunger cues. I chose to ignore my old thoughts of “I shouldn’t eat this” and listen to my actual internal desire.

It felt damn good. I felt proud to notice how much i’ve learned and grown.

Of course, I’m not perfect. I’m no where near perfect. I practice this every day. I practice mindfulness around food, and the negative thoughts don’t stop. I have to be actively engaged in this practice.

If you’re struggling with food during quarantine, you’re not alone. Implement a mindful eating practice even just one or two days a week, and eventually add on the other days.

One small step at a time.

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