Unlike most people, I am an emotional non eater. When I am emotional, my body just never feels hungry. “I wish I was like that, you’re lucky” people exclaim, and I get it! Most people I know eat and eat and eat when they are emotional, and then put weight on, and then feel bad because they’ve put weight on, which makes them emotional, so they eat more etc etc.
It doesn’t feel “lucky”. I struggle to deal with my emotions for a number of reasons, which I’ll elaborate on in another post. But the hunger is replaced by something far more uncomfortable, even painful at times. It’s a big hard lump in my throat and tummy, an entirely emotional hard lump, but it feels like I’m so full, like I cannot eat anything.
When you are emotional, you need food to keep your body going, I just feel weaker and weaker and that makes me even less able to cope with my emotions.
Let’s face it, I’m not in danger of starving but it does affect my ability to be resilient and find a way out.
The key I have found, is to nibble. I have discovered a love of English cherry tomatoes, they are almost like a tine little sweet drink and have often helped me to get back to eating more substantial meals.
When I’m not having an emotional meltdown (these are getting rarer and rarer) I have discovered that nourishing your body rather than just feeding it, is an enjoyable and delicious thing.
I cook from scratch every night – remember I work a full time job, run a business, and go to the gym most evenings, so having the time to cook anything used to be a major issue, let alone something delicious and nutritious.
This is where the ubiquitous Joe Wicks, AKA The Body Coach comes in. You’ve almost certainly heard about him or even seen him. He helps transform people’s bodies using a combination of food and HIIT training.
Well, I’m not one for diets, somehow deprivation just isn’t something I can maintain, but he produced a cook book called Lean in 15: The Shift Plan. For me, being able to cook ANYTHING in 15 minutes sounded interesting. Even ready meals can take that long, right?
We bought the book in early 2016, and quickly snapped up his other two Lean in 15 books as they came out.
Over the last two years, 99% of the meals we have eaten have been from his books. The meals are unbelievably tasty and really do take fifteen minutes to make (sometimes less).
Things Joe Wicks taught me:
- I love cooking
- I’m quite good at cooking
- Sesame oil is perhaps the most divine substance you can put of your food
- How to get kids to eat spinach and kale (Mark’s daughter cites kale as one of her favourites!)
- Fat in your food is not the enemy
- My body feels nice when I eat well
- That planning meals and shopping to recipes is the ONLY way to be able cook nutritious meals quickly and from scratch when you are a normal person!
I don’t follow his methods meticulously, as with all that I learn, I take what works for me and make sure it sticks. He talks about prepping your meals in advance. I found I just didn’t want to do this, it took up my Sunday and I didn’t want it to. So we eat breakfasts, inspired by the books but modified to suit us, lunch could be anything but the evening meal, is Joe Wicks time (with a few “Lou” tweaks).
An example of a “tweak” I make each day is that as I am vegetarian, wherever there’s meat or fish, I swap in Quorn. Easy. Oh, I also leave out fish sauce and add a bit more sesame oil if the recipe calls for it.
Even if I haven’t convinced you to give Joe Wicks a go, do try to meal plan weekly and then do your grocery shop online. Why?
- by planning your meals, you’ll know exactly what ingredients you need – there’s nothing worse than choosing a meal to cook tonight and realising you haven’t got chopped tomatoes you need, and then having to come up with something else.
- it means you don’t have to think about what to make for dinner when you get home. Just check the planner and off you go!
- shopping online prevents those impulse buys, this helps your waistline and your pocket as you’ll only buy the stuff you need – so it will save you money! I was surprised when I first started doing this, my weekly shop was on avergage £20 cheaper online than in the store – not because it cost less, but because I knew exactly what I needed – I used to meander around the store with no list and frankly no idea what I was going to cook, making it up as I went along.
- it saves time – you don’t have battle the crowds and queue in Asda. These days, most supermarkets deliver for a fee, and often if you buy a delivery pass, the fee works out very cheap. And if you live close to your supermarket, like I do, or you pass it on your way home, try click and collect. Some supermarkets charge for this (about £1) but others, it’s free.
Here’s a link to a Meal Planner I’ve created.
As with most things, you need to be quite disciplined with yourself to make this stick but very quickly you will see the benefits.
Here’s how I do it: Shopping list
Friday evening – select 7 meals from the three Joe Wicks books making sure I write down which book and which page number along with the title of the recipe on a planner. Here is an example of what I use– it’s just a spreadsheet. (I sometimes get Mark to do the selecting.)
I then write a list of what I need to order for the shopping – in addition to this, I put a new list on the fridge door each week for things that we use up during the week and things that we need every week, like squash, bin bags, rinse aid, bread, milk etc. Here’s an example for you –
Then I go to my Asda app and order the food. Asda are quite good at telling what’s in or out of stock at the time you order it so you can make changes as you go – interestingly though, not all the products on the shelf at Asda are available online so I found out. So sometimes, rarely but sometimes, it’s worth having a stroll around the actual store, pick your time though :). Anyway, I tend to do click and collect and I just pick a time on the Saturday that works for me.
Saturday in the allocated hour – drive up, scan the order QR code and they bring your shopping to your car! Perfect! And you have all you need to cook all week!
This approach saves me time, money and is relatively stressless compared with battling the masses on a Saturday.
Going back to the start of this post, this approach actually takes away a lot of the issues I would face when feeling emotional i.e I can’t think of anything to cook (already taken care of), I don’t have anything in (again, sorted), I don’t feel like cooking (ok, this one is a bit harder but it’s 15 mins to a great meal).
Sometimes, when we feel emotional, achieving something can help. Sometimes that’s simply getting out of bed, other times it’s climbing a mountain but I find making a lovely meal for my family, that is well planned and therefore easy, makes me feel just a tad better and sets me on a better path emotionally.
So now I’m off to plan my meals for next week.
Comment if you have any questions or thoughts. If you’d like the templates in editable formats, drop me a line and I’ll send them over 🙂