Loss and the grief it causes tend to create a lot of pressure inside you. You have so many conflicting thoughts and feelings bouncing around that you start to feel like a tea kettle that is ready to boil, and sometimes like you’re going to explode. And since loss and grief accumulate, if you don’t do something to complete them, the pressure can be overwhelming. That’s when people look for ways to relieve those feelings inside. Everyone does it some way or another. Alcohol or drugs are hugely popular choices. “Retail therapy”. Too much binge watching of television. Other types of escapism. Sex. Working extra long hours. We all find ways to dull the pain and tension that come with grief.
My coping mechanism was eating, because it seemed like the only fun thing left in my life. I started with some overeating at the beginning but that sunk into eating all the wrong foods. It was easier to walk to the car, drive to a fast food place, and walk back into the house with a bag of unhealthy food than expend the energy to cook. That took planning. And caring. Two things I didn’t have much of back then. So now I’m overweight, addicted to taking the easy way out of meal planning and now sure how to unravel that.
I’ve cleared up enough grief that I don’t need that coping mechanism anymore, but…. and this is a big BUT…. it’s now hard wired into my brain. I’ve become addicted to eating junk, to taking the easy way out. Our brains do that to us, in trying to be helpful. Junk food = relief = do it again because feeling better is good, then keep doing it until the pattern is well ingrained as a habit. So now I’m trying to undo all of that. Not so easy!!!!!!
One thing I know I do is use work as an excuse. I often have meetings during lunch because I work with people in other time zones. It’s easier to grab a protein bar (or two) or a TV dinner than it is to take the time to cook something. And after work I’m too tired to cook, of course. Ah, the things addiction does to cloud your thinking.
I tried meal planning, but that was in direct opposition to my addiction. Part of my day job is to be a project manager, so you’d think I’d take to meal planning like a duck to water. Not so. I say that I’m too burned out from doing that during the day to want to do it in my free time.
The other excuse was that I didn’t know what to eat any more. There are too many conflicting nutritional theories out there. Even our doctors don’t agree, so I don’t know what to eat. Cee called my bluff on that by having me make a list of the foods I used to love to eat before she got sick, when I was thin and still cooking food. So I can’t use that excuse any more.
I decided to try the Instant Pot (IP), just to see if it made it easier to get things cooked. And it does. It is amazing. For those of you who don’t know what it is, it’s an electric pressure cooker that has replaced my sauté pan, rice cooker, crock pot and soup kettle. It’s incredible, and reduces cooking time. I can grab some frozen chicken breasts, throw them in the IP and have them perfectly cooked in about 10- 12 minutes. From frozen. Go figure! No fuss, no muss. I can add it to a salad for lunch and I’m done. I can focus on eating healthier instead of creating excuses.
I’m still not out from under my fast food addiction, but I’m working on it, one instant pot meal at a time. Fresh ingredients, no preservatives, cooked from scratch, but without me having to slave over a hot stove.
Now if I can just get Cee to hide the car keys…
For all you IP lovers out there, please send me your favorite recipes. They will be greatly appreciated, especially vegetarian ones.
Hugs and bon appetit.