Grocery shopping is arguably one errand that everyone must do.
For someone without an eating disorder, the supermarket can be enjoyable, yet it can also be an unpleasant task when trying to find the aisle with the food you are after and navigate the trolley. However, for someone suffering from an eating disorder, it is often much more complex than this, and almost never an easy task.
- Have you found yourself feeling overwhelmed with choices/decisions when you are at the grocery store?
- Do you feel preoccupied with all-consuming thoughts about food and rules that dictate what, when, and how much food you should eat?
When we consider the impact of these thoughts and rules alone, grocery shopping can seem like a mammoth task.
So, how can you manage the supermarket in eating disorder recovery?
Let us share some tips below that can help support you.
Take someone with you who supports you through recovery
Grocery shopping does not have to be done alone. Asking a friend or family member that supports you can help reduce stress, keep you accountable to your list, as well as interrupt the urge to check labels or swap foods.
Shop during ‘Quiet Hour’
Did you know two of Australia’s largest supermarket chains, Coles, and Woolworths, have Quiet Hour? Quiet Hour is designed to provide a low-sensory experience by making changes in the store to help reduce noise and distraction which can help those who find shopping in a heightened-sensory environment challenging. If your grocery store does not have a quiet hour, choose a less busy time to do your shopping e.g., early morning.
Utilize online shopping!
With the new age of online ordering, this can be your best friend if you are struggling to go to the supermarket. Online ordering eliminates the need to navigate aisles, feel overwhelmed by the choices in front of you, and can help manage the fear of judgment.
Make use of simple strategies and tools to help reduce triggers for your eating disorder. For example, using the quick ‘add to cart’ function to help deter wanting to scroll through the image of the product that shows the nutrition label.
Make a list
Having a plan and a structure can help reduce stress and increase the likelihood of success in the supermarket.
Having a list of the foods you know you need/want to buy for your meals and snacks that week can be helpful in reminding yourself these foods don’t require additional thought or checking and are there to help you through your recovery journey.
Becoming comfortable with grocery shopping is possible. We are always here to support you. Call us on 02 4362 3443.