The Food & Brain Connection
As you struggle through the road of grief you second guess your mind and your thinking. It is winter so you have "the winter blues", its cold so you can't get out as much and so on. But the food connection when you are grieving is something that hit home with me yesterday. The body goes through some very prominent changes when you are grieving; from stress to physical pain.
Your brain is on overdrive trying to simply cope and breathe that it forgets to tell you that you are hungry. You have no symptoms of hunger pains, no brain thoughts to eat, nothing. Then all of a sudden you are in this deep and dark place, you are negative, tired, can't lift your feet and have no desire to push forward. You are literally stuck in cement. Your brain needs food but your body does not recognize that.
Your stomach muscles are so tight, your bowels are not working properly and you are not drinking enough water. Cooking, drinking water and even eating, are A LOT of work when you are grieving. The idea of prepping food, cooking it and then cleaning your kitchen is a daunting task and you just do not have the mental nor physical capacity to do it, so you don't.
But then the strangest thing happens. You are not recognizing this aspect of grieving because there is so much going on. You sit to eat and notice within minutes the darkness in your thoughts is fading. You start to get small amounts of energy going through your body and you realize that you have forgotten to fuel the most important aspect of the situation, which is YOU.
You also tend to eat convenience foods and drink more caffeine, during this time, which is also so counter productive. Your body is already going through so many changes that adding foods with no nutritional value is creating additional chaos.
So people ask you "are you eating" and you say yes because most times you think you are. That piece of toast at 7AM is food right? It also takes a lot of energy to grieve. Keep in mind your body can have no desire to eat when you are grieving. Food becomes a task, digestion is affected and the emotional aspect of now "eating alone" is hard to work around.
I made a very distinct note of this in my mind yesterday and realized how quickly food changed my thinking, my hope and my courage.
Now I am very aware of this and have decided to make more of a food plan in my week. Write it down and be aware of my need to get fuel that will in affect, help me move forward.
It will still be hard and I know I will drop the ball on this a few times because grief and sadness is a very powerful thing. I also know that I need to love myself, nurture myself and fuel my body.
Today is a good day so far. Baby steps.