How food became neutral to me

The last time I was here I was terrified to be in this grocery store. 

I was on a trip last June and it was the only grocery store in town. 

I hadn’t been inside a “normal” grocery store in years. I only shopped at Whole Foods or health food stores and I felt very superior about this. 

I had started eating more food three months prior but I was still trying to eat organic whole foods as much as possible and I still had a big list in my head of what was “bad” and “good” to eat. 

But on my trip this grocery store was the only option. 

When Jordan and I stepped inside there today I remembered so vividly how much I had panicked. 

I remembered being totally overwhelmed by all the options, all the bad foods staring at me, flashing their bright colors from every surface. 

I remembered my stress level rising til I was near tears as I walked. 

There was no organic meat, no “natural” brands of things. 

None of my “safe” options existed here. 

The things I was so used to buying at Whole Foods or health food stores. 

I remember looking at the ingredients of each item and my stomach sinking as I thought about how there was something bad in everything, how everything was going to lead me to disease. 

I remember how long it took me to shop. Because it’s really hard to decide what to get when you are sure all the options are going to cause you an early death. 

And mostly I remember looking at all the other people happily shopping and thinking to myself, Demetra, this is a normal place. 

So many people shop here all the time. 

This is a problem, that you are having this reaction to this. 

It is not normal. 

See you can argue with me that there are some food options that you’d prefer more than others and some that have things in them that might not be the best to consume. 

But it’s a whole different level when you are in a regular grocery store and you are in full panic mode because you cannot find any foods that are acceptable. 

It was right after this trip that I went home and told Jordan, I think we need to shop at a normal grocery store for a while. Until it stops scaring me so much. 

And I remember the first time he took me to Safeway and I cried the entire way through, while we filled the cart with things I hadn’t eaten since I was a little girl. 

It is hard sometimes day by day to see how far I’ve come. 

Until moments like these where I am in the same situation as I was a year ago and I react entirely differently. 

Today when we entered the grocery store I was relaxed. 

I was excited to choose snacks and excited to see what they’d have. 

Our cart ended up with a big mix of things. 

Tonight’s shop included donuts and cucumbers and salad and frozen pizzas and a crunch bar and frozen berries. 

All of these things feel equal to me. 

Because I am learning more and more that my body will really tell me what it wants. 

What I wanted, last year, when I went All In and started eating all the foods, was to end up in a place where all foods were available to me. Where none of them caused me stress and I could be out and eat anything on a menu without thinking twice about it. 

At home, we buy organic fruits and vegetables and local meat and eggs and sourdough and we also buy Tostitos and cream cheese and sugar cookies with fake colored icing. 

And I realized, today, as I stepped into this same store I had not been in in almost a year, how I have really done it. 

Food feels neutral to me. 


If you liked this piece, you might also enjoy:

Truly going all in: normal grocery stores, processed foods, & up 40 lbs

The journey of eating more has been long and slow

I do not miss being skinny

Your belly is supposed to hang down

Everything to do with my food journey & weight gain in chronological order