Going through a breakup and using food as comfort, not fuel? This post by Chanda Guerin is exactly what you need to keep your healthy eating on track post-breakup. A health and nutrition education masters of science candidate who enjoys yoga, hiking and farmers’ markets, Chanda is also a food blogger and child nutrition enthusiast. Her recipes, rants about current diet trends, and lusty thoughts of Cheetos and Pepsi can be found at LoveandAPinchofSalt.com.
Despite my best efforts to keep busy and my spirits lifted, a recent breakup has made it impossible to sit in silence, read textbooks for school or make myself a meal. Standing in my kitchen thinking of what to make for dinner reduces me to tears, thinking about all the meals we made together and my lack of enthusiasm my favorite thing in this world: cooking. I’m behind in my reading and turning in papers 30 minutes before a deadline. I coaxed myself into at least an hour of reading with the promise of a glass of wine at the end. Ten minutes in, my mind starting replaying the awful New Year’s Eve morning breakup (I know, right?), I reached a chapter on Theories of Stress and Coping as a health educator and pulled my hand out of the nearly empty bag of Barbara’s Jalapeno Cheese Puffs.
What am I doing?! I’m supposed to teach this stuff and here I am licking my fingers of “cheese” dust. I’m eating out for every meal to avoid the kitchen and my lack of appetite requires a few bites of curry or stress-eating a whole bag of salty snacks. How do you maintain your normal nutritious, healthy menu when you would rather watch The Notebook and eat half of a pizza? This is how …
How to Keep Your Eating Plan on Track Post-Breakup
1. Make meals with friends and/or host family dinner night. This has been my saving grace. Making meals with my friends has kept my kitchen lively and full, and brought me back to my happy place with my favorite people. Invite friends over for a potluck meal or cook together, absorb their positive energy and remember you have so much love around you.
2. Put on music or Netflix while you cook. Whether it’s playlist of girl power anthems or terrible bubblegum pop, lift your spirits with singing at the top of your lungs (sorry, neighbors!) and shake your groove thing around the kitchen. If your neighbors or roommates are less than thrilled with this option, put on a cheesy sitcom or CW series and feel good knowing your town isn’t filled with supernatural creatures of the night.
3. Depending on your mood, go easy or go big. If you just can’t muster the energy to prepare a meal, have easy to prep foods like salad fixins’ in the refrigerator. If you need the distraction, find a new, challenging recipe and give it your all.
4. Make enough for leftovers. Leftovers make for a great lunch on weekdays and will keep you from grabbing something less than optimal from nearby carryout/fast food. No one ever feels great after emotionally eating an entire burrito, no matter how good the chicken chile verde is. I promise … Monday at 3 p.m. was rough for me after that monster burrito. And if you don’t feel up to cooking the next night, there’s food already waiting for you.
5. Pack lunches for the week. Promise yourself at least an hour or two to prepare lunches for the week. This will guarantee meals ready and waiting for you and avoid the temptations mentioned above.
6. Choose the best takeout options possible. Should you find yourself exhausted from keeping a smile on your face at work, can’t muster the company of even your best friends and are in need of immediate eats, choose the best possible options near you. This may be an organic market salad/hot bar, sashimi or sushi take out, or a simple Thai or Indian curry. Try to avoid the fried foods, pizza and frozen boxed foods. Those preservative, additive-packed frozen boxed meals don’t even taste good and aren’t worth the three minutes in front of a microwave.
7. Get up and out of the house for a walk, yoga or workout. We all handle stress differently, some of us turning into hermits and forgetting our gym memberships and yoga classes. Others run to the gym and get in a good old-fashioned anger workout and tear up the track or the treadmill. If you’re the sweatpants hermit, get up and out for at least a walk around the block, or find a restorative yoga class. For the workout junkies who sweat out their tears, you go girl! I can see your motivation from across the gym and you’re fueling me.
Any other tips you’d add? We can get through this together! —Chanda