Friday, May 7, 2010

grocery shopping stresses this girl out!

I get so stressed out when I go grocery shopping. I don't like it at all. Because it's one of my eating disorders favorite places to be. And it seems for me that grocery shopping is more overwhelming and gives me more anxiety now that I am in recovery - as opposed to when I was actively & fully engaged in the ed. I used to love to go then, but now I hate it!! Maybe because back then, I didn't listen to the healthy voice at all. I only listened to the ed voice and therefore, felt no guilt when it came to what I bought. I knew what I wanted (which was all the low calorie & diet foods) and I wasn't fighting with myself constantly over what I should get & what my ed is telling me to get.

Usually in my cupboard (unless someone else buys my food for me - like my momma!) I have a mix between the "eating disorder" foods and the "jenn in recovery" foods. And the amounts of each of these groups depends on where I am currently at in recovery. Right now... I am disappointed to say that most of my food is "ED food" and I realize that is not good, but... it's how I am coping right now and it's the only way I can get myself to eat at all lately - so I am trying to pick my battles, if you know what I mean...

I know I am not supposed to be buying the diet foods, the low-fat or fat free foods, and low calorie foods but the urges to buy these foods are still so strong! Especially when I am so used to buying these foods for so long without any guilt while I was actively listening to the ed (this is prior to my start in recovery). Those are the foods I feel safe buying and safe eating. I am working on it, and sometimes I do better than other times.

But I think the biggest thing that gives me anxiety when it comes to grocery shopping is the mental battle I have over what to buy. Most of the time, all of the planning I make before I go (and everything I have learned in treatment) - quickly goes out the window once I get to the store and start shopping. And that's one of the reasons it takes me so long in the store. Because I am going up and down all the isles, looking at all the food, and fighting with my ed thoughts over what I "should" buy and what "the ed wants" me to buy. I am obsessing over the different foods!
Here is an example of what goes on in my head when trying to decide:
"This one would be safer because it has less calories. But I am supposed to be in recovery so I should get the regular one. But I can't get the regular one because it will make me fat, and it's too scary to eat! If I just get this safe one then I am more likely to eat it...)"
That is just one example of the many arguments I have with myself. It's exhausting. It's overwhelming. It's too much pressure - and therefore, the ed usually wins so I can move on to the next item. There are three options when it comes to grocery shopping - and all of them give me anxiety & overwhelm me. But here they are:

Option one: I go and buy lots of food to just get it over with so I won't have to go again for a while - but then that gives me anxiety over all the food I have at home, and that stresses me out (especially if a lot of it are my fear foods). And I usually have to throw a lot of it away because it expires before I am able to force myself to eat it. And then that makes me feel bad because I am always wasting food and wasting money.

Option two: I go and just get a little bit - but then I get anxiety knowing I have to go back in just a few days and do it all over again, and then again a few days later, and then again, and so on...

Option three: I go with someone else - but then I feel rushed and hurried and that give me anxiety! Because other people go waaaay too fast for my comfort level! It takes me (and I am not exaggerating when I say this) hours to grocery shop! I spend waaaay too much time in the grocery store. And why does it take me this long? Because I am obsessing over the labels on the food (I try not to but I can't help it, I have to do it or my anxiety is worse).

Option three is probably the best option (and it's the one I do the least) because I am not able to get away with buying "ED" foods (especially if I go with my momma). But then we come to the issue of me not being able to eat it, and then having to throw it away, or it just sits in my cupboard for months because most of the foods we get are fear foods if I go with someone (like my mom).

So to make this long story short, I hate grocery shopping. I hate it and I hope that when I get further into recovery it won't be such a stressful thing for me. I think maybe the reason why I am writing about this now is because I am struggling a lot when it comes to eating. I am feeling super discouraged because I went grocery shopping a couple of days ago. I did option one - and so I have a lot of food, but most of it now is my safe "ED" food. I am also feeling discouraged because I am still on "weight restoration" and still trying to get myself to my treatment teams goal weight for me. (And it doesn't help that I have lost the few pounds that I was able to gain recently...yes I am weighing myself and I don't want to talk about it). And I realize that I can't get there on the low-fat/fat-free and low calorie foods that I feel safe eating. And I know that is one of the major reasons why I can only reach and maintain my "goal weight" when I am inpatient or hospitalized and therefore being forced to consume large amounts of fattening foods and/or having the NG tube (a.k.a. - feeding tube) which I hate! I try to do it on my own but I always fail. It's frusterating and it's discouraging. And I know that it just gives the ed more power to bring destruction in my life.

But it's how I have been coping lately. I know that's not an excuse - but it's the truth. I am trying to be honest here, because this is a place that I feel safe being honest. A couple weeks ago, as I mentioned in an earlier post, I kind of took a turn backwards and towards the eating disorder. I thought I could turn things around but as these weeks have gone by I am realizing that I am slipping. I am slipping fast! I am worried, but there is still time to turn it around. And I need to turn it around soon or I am going to be back in the hospital. Which can't happen right now because I interviewed for another job a few days ago and I think I have a really good shot at getting it! I need this new job - it would be a really perfect job and the last thing I need is a major relapse... but that's where I feel I have been headed.
I didn't want to say anything earlier because I was ashamed and thought I could turn it around. I am saying it now because it needs to be said in the hopes that I can turn it around and back into the direction of recovery! I have been working so hard to stay out of the hospital, inpatient, & IOP. And I haven't had any emergency room visits so far this year - which, if you know me & my history, is an amazing thing for me to accomplish! And I don't want to start it up again now. But I will turn it around... I have to!


  1. you are certainly welcome to steal any idea that I post up on my blog. I actually put it there for me to work out for myself but also for you guys to use if you want to :-)


  2. Jenn, I will go grocery shopping with you. I will cook and eat food with you. I'll do whatever I can while I am home. I know what you are battling is tough- and you are a strong girl for putting up a fight, and i know you are strong enough to beat it. I know that you can do it. Good luck with the job and keep at what you're doing. I suggest you give up the weighing yourself, because you are just giving your ED tools to fight against you. Remember who's side you're on. You want to win, you want to beat this. Once you realize that, it might be easier to quit giving the ED what it wants. I dunno- just a thought. Maybe I shouldn't say stuff like that- but I want the best for you and I support you 100%. Let me know if there is anything I can do at all. Stand up and fight. love you.

  3. I hear you on this girl. Grocery shopping is one of the few things I still struggle with but it can be torturous. I always feel like an idiot standing in the isle staring at the food forever as the debate ensues (in my mind of course) of what I should get. So I usually go shopping at like midnight so I don't feel quite as awkward, but it's still something I dread. Lists are my friend- make a list , throw the stuff in the shopping cart (no label reading allowed!) and buy. Then have someone black the labels out for you when you get back. I know you probably already know the calorie/fat/whatever content of most of the food, but not being able to look at it and obsess over it on the label can be helpful- at least it has been for me in the past.

    I hope you're able to turn things around and start taking steps in the right direction, but even if you end up needing more support, you're STILL A GOOD PERSON! You're a fighter. <3

  4. It won't always be this way, and it's ok to seek support with this. I remember feeling completely and utterly overwhelmed with shopping for food, and it took time and practise to overcome this. It also helped having someone there in the early days to challenge the ED if necessary. Eventually you will learn to do this yourself, but when you are struggling it can be useful to have a helping hand.

    Don't lose hope, because things can and will be better in time.

    Sarah x

  5. yipes. grocery shopping... love/hate relationship with the grocery store. been there. heck, I am in the same boat. For me it's a struggle between balancing healthy foods/not wasting money/not wasting food just like you describe. I find it easier to go more frequently and buy less per trip so it's not so overwhelming as one big huge grocery shop. Do all you can to Stay away from NG!!!

    xoxo tia

  6. hey doll! i do online grocery shopping and just get the same list over and over again and its all pretty varietied so i can do my meal plan and other options if i want. i find supermarkets a bit difficult and can relate to this post ALOT. hey i wrote a recent post aabout a recovery retreat let me know what u think of the idea.

  7. Ahh I wish I could come give you a big ass hug right now. I am so sorry you are going through this. Grocery shopping use to make me insane. Have you tried making a list, I know preplanning your meals may be good or bad. But if you get an idea of what you NEED(not want) for breakfast, lunch and dinner- make a list, get the stuff and get in and out of the grocery store. Or, make the list and have someone ELSE pick up what you need. Remember, you don’t choose the struggle, you didn’t choose the disease, but ultimately you do choose your behaviors.

  8. Good news, you are eating even if they are the "safe" foods. I wish i could help. I love to go to the store, I could be in there for hours. People get antsy with me and I'm just like but i wanna look around don't rush me. Have you prayed and asked for strength? Don't give up on your faith, that's one thing i'm learning. No matter what i'm going through I still need to pray and ask for help and when i do that I feel more peace. If you can ask for a fathers blessing. I know that wont solve anything but it can bring some peace and comfort. Hang in and don't give up. Do what is best for you and if eating and the only way to get yourself to eat is eating the low cal low fat foods then do that. Just don't stop eating.

  9. Because you work so hard and try so hard to get better, I am awarding you the 'a hoy award' on my blog. I think you are doing awesome hun, even when it feels like you are not! Remember, be kind to yourself :-)

  10. At my new dietitian's office today, I learned there is no such thing as an empty calorie. And so what if you have a period where you're still eating (some) diet foods -- it's still food. Well, some of it is "food." Really I wish you could go for the stuff that gives you the most nutrition. Most likely you're not going to find that in the diet "foods" but it's something.

  11. Hey lovely Jenn,

    I was just wondering whether it would be possible to write a shopping list including brands and sizes BEFORE you go to the supermarket and just buy that stuff. You could create the list throughout the week as you think of things you want to eat or replacing things you've eaten. You'd almost definitely still have arguments in your head about it, but then you could have someone go with you if you needed and keep you accountable to the list etc.

    Just a thought, there are plenty of holes in it, but maybe might help?

    Also, I absolutely hate supermarkets too, I get really overwhelmed by the lights and the products and the people and like you said, all the ed versus me thoughts... hard hard work.

    Hang in there hunni xox