The Secret Stressors of Cooking

Over the last few months, the number of meals most of us have to prepare each day and week has increased significantly. I don’t know about you, but for me I’ve been running my dishwasher more than ever!

Are you a person that loves or hates cooking (or somewhere in between)? For some, cooking and meal prepping/planning comes easy but for others it can be a really stressful process. It can be overwhelming to have to think of what you’re going to feel like eating each day, find recipes, build your grocery list, go to the grocery store and then have to actually pull the meal together when it’s time. While there are a lot of steps in the process, have you ever dug in to see if there is anything else leading you to feel stressed about cooking?

In a recent client session, my client I’ll call Susan* and I explored this because preparing and planning dinner was filled with a TON of stress. Not only that, it would cause her to mindlessly snack before and after dinner. By the time she would sit down with her kids to eat dinner, she wasn’t hungry after putting in the time and energy to prepare the food, which frustrated her further. And after dinner she wasn’t actually hungry, so why would she snack then too?

She couldn’t understand why this process was so hard for her when so many others don’t have any issue with whipping up a meal. As we explored this further, the stress she was experiencing was from feeling like each dinner she served her kids was make or break. She’s a single mom and so the responsibility of caring for and nourishing her kids all fell on her. She wanted to make sure they were happy and enjoyed the meal because otherwise she felt there was a risk that her kids would reject her and eventually leave.

While she knew logically this wasn’t likely going to be the case, emotionally (and unconsciously) it was the story she was telling herself. This might seem extreme, but in her past important people she was close with had left her when she thought they saw her as inadequate. Therefore, she was building up each meal for fear that this story would come true with her kids too.

While this may not be what leads you to feel stressed around preparing a meal, if you find yourself eating out of alignment with your goals around mealtime, it might be worth exploring what is leading to your stress eating. There’s usually more to “stress eating” or eating out of boredom than we might think.

If you’re curious and are ready to start exploring your pattern, let’s chat during a free 30-minute Q&A session. I’m a real, non-judgmental person who will answer all your questions about your relationship with food. (Not sure what questions to ask? That’s OK too! I love connecting with curious people!)  

About Laura: is a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN) and is a Certified Holistic Health Coach. She supports busy adults who know what they should be eating but have a hard time sticking to it by helping them identify the familiar patterns that have been keeping them stuck so they can experience freedom from food. She ensures her clients don’t feel deprived by guiding them to make small, incremental changes so the journey is more enjoyable.

After successfully losing 60 pounds and working through her own emotional relationship with food, Laura recognizes there are many factors keeping individuals from sticking to what they know works but it’s her mission to help others overcome these factors to become healthier and happier.

Laura can be contacted at [email protected].

*Client’s name has been changed for privacy.

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