self-reminder: you'd rather eat at home
One of the biggest things I've learnt so far while trying to seek out some balance is that a lot of the things I've been resisting are actually things that do make me feel better. When I see a post about self-care that tells me to eat healthier foods I always roll my eyes and I snark when someone suggests that I trade in my take-out lifestyle for some home-cooked meals, but I've come to realize I really have no reason to, I actually would rather do as their suggesting.
Since I moved out of my mom's place in 2011 I haven't really had the greatest meal plans. I have struggled with my body image, my weight and with food my entire life, but once I got out on my own it really got worse. Once I completely stopped cooking and started eating not at all or bingeing on extreme amounts of take-out, it just felt impossible to go back. The last few years I've been working hard on my relationship with food, but my habits of eating out and grabbing simple, and quick fixes hadn't changed at all until now.
Every so often I would get the desire to cook something up, but it would happen so rarely and while I've faced some hard times where making just one meal a week on my own felt like an achievement, I've recently realized that the more I push myself to cook at home the better I feel in the end. Trading in fattier foods and constant snacks has helped so much in making me feel refreshed and energized. Even on days when I don't want to leave the house, convincing myself to cook makes me feel so much better than choosing to call in the take-out guy.
I am defiantly not a gourmet chèf, but that's completely okay because I'm trying and while I may never get to gourmet I'll get better the more I try. I highly recommend just trying whenever you can to cook for yourself, things like chicken soup are actually so simple and the end result is so much more than just a full belly. I have been trying to remind myself every day when I wake up and think I should head out to grab a bagel or some brunch, that I can make it at home on my own and I'll feel so much better in the end. I always remind myself that my mental health will benefit right now, in the long term my overall health benefits tremendously, and also it helps a lot financially.
Some of the biggest tips I have for anyone who might be trying to cook for themselves(also things I need to keep reminding myself) are:
1. Do your research and find a recipe. If you're new to cooking you defiantly should take a look at the healthy food tabs on Pinterest or check out some blogs that have healthy recipes such as Living Lou. Don't try to do things that are too complicated at the start, stressing yourself out isn't the goal and you have no one to impress.
2. Don't buy until you're ready to cook. I always buy ingredients the night before and then the next day don't have the motivation to make that meal, then two weeks later I'm throwing out everything I had purchased. It's better to head to the store when you have the time and ability to make food right away if you can, then head home and cook. If you can do this it really helps to cut down on wasted food and also feeling down on yourself because you "failed" to make what you said you would.
3. Tell people about it. Ask people for ideas. Share a photo with a friend of your newly cooked meal. I found that some people I normally don't talk to we're happy to help me find ideas for cooking, and when I shared my finished products with them they always provide kind and encouraging words. Having people tell you they are proud of what you're doing helps reassure you that this is a good choice and helps give you a little boost if all you feel is tried after preparing a meal.
As much as you might eye roll, and I wouldn't even blame you if you did, I have to say it: eating healthier foods, and trading in take-out for veggies, fruits, and home-cooked meals can make a big difference to not just your overall health. It's not the fix-all answer, and life is still going seriously fucking suck some of the time, but it's a small thing that helps make life suck a little less for me and so I'm going to remind myself to cook at home. If you give it a go and realize it helps your days also suck a little less, please keep reminding yourself and trying a little every day too.