Over the years I’ve encountered a number of disregulated eaters who blame their poor eating habits on hating to food shop, plan meals, and cook. Unlike foodies, they enjoy eating, but abhor the activities that get the food on the table. If that describes you, you’ll have to change your thinking on the subject if you want to overcome your food problems and eat healthfully.

I understand. Although I enjoy creating a fine feast for occasional dinner guests, I’m not a huge fan of fussing over food for myself. Luckily, due to divergent eating schedules and food preferences, my husband (Mr. Macrobiotic) and I usually fend for ourselves in the kitchen. Between clients, writing, and other commitments, I eat plain, small, real-food “meals” (sometimes too small to actually be called a meal) that are usually broiled, microwaved, or made in a rice cooker. Tasty and satisfying but no muss, no fuss.

Food shopping is far from my favorite activity, but I do it in some fashion about twice a week. I don’t tell myself that I must like marketing to do it. I do it because it’s the only way I get to eat what I enjoy. This is where many folks go astray: They’re annoyed at having to buy and prepare food. Why must you like it in order to do it? There are lots of activities we don’t delight in but do because they bring us things we do enjoy. I get that it’s more of a job shopping and cooking for more than one person, but there’s nothing inherently awful about food shopping or preparation. Change your faulty beliefs and adopt a more positive mindset about these activities and doing them will become easier.

My hunch is that those of you who say you hate food shopping and cooking really have
deeper issues to deal with. Maybe you’re depressed and these activities seem like far too much effort. Or you have little tolerance or self-discipline for doing what’s necessary and feel entitled to do only what you like. Or want an excuse for eating poorly. Or don’t know what you want to eat and feel so overwhelmed at the choices that your brain shuts down. Or food-related tasks make you feel alone, uncared for, and yearning for someone to take care of you. Or maybe you don’t care enough about yourself to feel you deserve to feed your body appetizing, nourishing food.

Take a minute and try to understand what underlies your aversion to food shopping or meal preparation. What exactly are your feelings? What irrational beliefs underlie them? What are rational beliefs about these activities? When you’ve figured it out, spend some time developing solutions and push yourself to think differently so you will act differently.