Food shopping, spoons, executive dysfunction, overload

Discussion in 'General Advice' started by Elph, May 14, 2015.

  1. Elph

    Elph capuchin hacker fucker

    Further to the "low spoons food" thread: who has trouble with grocery shopping? I'm semi-OK with it in terms of ex dys/spoons, but emotionally, it's a nightmare. I wander around the shop staring at things for unnatural lengths of time and sometimes crying, because my brain is going

    'You can't afford this. Get the cheaper kind. Wait! On second thoughts, you CAN afford it! In fact, you can afford ALL of the junk food! Buy all of the junk food! No, that's bad. Buy yourself one lettuce and nothing else. Or one lettuce and a bottle of vodka. No, no, no, I know, buy a case of wine and huge quantities of tangerines! That's enough, right? Fruit is good for you! Wait, no, peeling tangerines causes sensory weirdness and cognitive issues with getting all the relevant bits in the bin. No fruit. Fruit is confusing. Hmm. Vegetables. You can cook things with vegetables, right? (spoiler alert: you cannot.) Yes, buy lots of vegetables. No, don't do that, every time you do that you get home and have no spoons and they all turn into goo over a period of weeks while you live off of ready meals. Ooh, ready meals! Buy ALL the ready meals! No, SANDWICHES. Sandwiches are amazing. Buy bread and fillings? No, that's too complicated. The pre-made ones are nicer. But they're more expensive, and anyway, you don't deserve nice food. Buy a bunch of celery and some really bland soup. Like, really, really bland, disgusting soup. Wait, how much money do you actually have? I want wine."

    Does anyone have similar problems, and/or tips for dealing with it? The only ones I have so far are "write a shopping list, complete with a budget and calculation space, and bring it with you" and "play musical soundtracks very loudly while you're shopping to drown out the ridiculous thoughts".
    • Like x 1
  2. Lissiel

    Lissiel Dreaming dead

    Hi are you me? So many hugs if you want them. Grocery shopping sucks.

    Decide what you want while not in the store. Those places are actually deliberately designed to cause impulse buys and distraction.

    Ask yourself: what can i reliably prepare? What do i want to eat? What is reasonably healthy? How can i make that work with budget (coupons, store brands, sales, etc.)? Its ok to have stuff that makes you happy, too. If you have trouble with the whole "i don't deserve food" thing (hands up who does that me i do) having someone else to talk this list through with is super helpful. Also cooking for other people is sometimes a way around it cause like... Fuck me right? But theres no reason my mate shouldnt have tasty food. So that can help. Remind your brain theres no point buying food you wont eat.

    When you get to the store just get the stuff on your list and get out. I listen to something with actual talking to distract my brain from talking shit at me, which seems to work better than music for me, and try to time myself so i dont get caught up in loops. Im not allowed to buy anything not on the list and i can check to make sure im not forgetting anything.

    Also half the stress of shopping for me (and you it sounds like) is figuring out what to make. If you have a handful of things you make all the time then if you really get stuck at this stage you can just sorta default to them. Like, fuck idk what to do i have no spoons. You know what? Its a nachos night. I know exactly what we need and what it costs and can practically make it in my sleep after all this practice yes good.
    • Like x 1
  3. EulersBidentity

    EulersBidentity e^i*[bi] + 1

    I went grocery shopping today and my headphones fell out. D: My buffer, noooo!

    (I have...absolutely nothing helpful to say tonight. Sorry about that.)
    • Like x 1
  4. Aniseed

    Aniseed Well-Known Member

    Honestly writing a list helps me a lot with a lot of that. Like I feel weird about food and plopping the shit I need into a Google Keep list over the course of a few days and then just ticking the boxes off on my phone when I get to the store will make sure I grab all the stuff on the list even if I feel like I don't deserve any of it. I also try to limit myself to one or two impulse snacks and try to have at least some rationale behind why it's okay to get them. Like cookies will be shared among people, if I get ice cream I get the smallish tubs so it's not like I'm being gross with a whole carton just for me, things like that.

    When it comes to writing out the list itself, I get all the non-food stuff out of the way pretty easily. With the food stuff I just think okay, I need a bare minimum of 2 things that I know I'll be able to make even if a day is absolutely horrible. So I'll make sure to grab more hot dogs or bagels to have on hand if I need them. Then I'll think like, okay, for better food than this, what can one of us potentially make sometime in the next few days? And me and my partner sit down together and figure out what we aren't adamantly NOT in the mood for, and we make sure to put exactly what we need on the list for one or 2 prep-required meals.

    My main food shopping problems stems from the fact that we are in an apartment with 4 people in it and no room for anything but the fridge we already have, no space for an extra mini fridge or freezer. So freezing lots of things is really just out of the question, because one of our housemates pretty much constantly has 0 time to cook so the freezer is mostly frozen pot pies and pizzas that belong to her. There is really no place to store meat, and no room for tripling up the recipe when we make chili to have frozen left overs. If I could just have some good freezer space I feel like I'd do a lot better with food shopping and food prep. I wouldn't have to worry about the meat we bought going bad within x amount of days because it has to stay in the fridge.
    • Like x 1
  5. Lissiel

    Lissiel Dreaming dead

    Would your no-cooking housemate be open to floating you some money for extra portions of homemade stuff? Its almost guaranteed to be cheaper and healthier for her, and would free you up freezer space and net you some money to boot.
  6. Aniseed

    Aniseed Well-Known Member

    I think I'd feel really weird charging her to eat food we were making. As it stands now we split food and share leftovers sometimes when we can. I think if she was relying on me to cook things she could eat for leftovers it'd just put pressure on me to feel like I have to be cooking something in large amounts all the time.
  7. Lissiel

    Lissiel Dreaming dead

    Ah, fair enough.
  8. jacktrash

    jacktrash spherical sockbox

    luka does my grocery shopping every week because it's a way bigger spoon drain for me than for him. even with a list and headphones, and no concern about money because we're middle-aged middle-class folk who can afford as many peas as we want, the grocery store just overwhelms me. so many objects with so many words written on them! so many smells, sounds, colors! so many people! so many split-second decisions to avoid cart collisions! so many goddamn freaking flavors of ice cream! ;_;

    the truth is, when i have the spoons for it, i actually enjoy grocery shopping. it's just not a very wise use of my limited spoon supply.
    • Like x 1
  9. Aniseed

    Aniseed Well-Known Member

    That makes me think of another good tip if it's something that people can manage: a lot of supermarkets close at like midnight, and more and more seem to be becoming 24hours except for one day a week.

    Going shopping at 11pm is so much less crowded than at like 3pm when a lot of the mom's are taking their kids there for quick errands after school, or 6pm when a lot of people are off work and head out to get some things done. I love going shopping late at night. There are rarely more than a couple other shoppers there, and no line for self check out, so minimal socializing and minimal overwhelming sensory stuff. If you don't rely on rides/public transit to get to the store and such, or your ride is somebody who stays up pretty late, it's a nice option.

    Also if possible, avoid aisles you know overwhelm you or just have stuff you don't need in them. For me sometimes it's just pretty zen to go up and down every aisle, but other times it's like yeah, if I walk by the frozen treats I'm going to grab something and hate myself for it and/or feel overwhelmed. And since that aisle literally has nothing in it but ice cream, I can skip it to avoid getting ice cream. That of course depends on your store of choice's layout though.
    • Like x 2
  10. Hobo


    I know this isn't viable in a lot of places, but does online grocery shopping and/or getting it delivered cause the same issues?
  11. jacktrash

    jacktrash spherical sockbox

    well, i've never tried it, but considering how much less spoon-draining it is to shop for books, yarn, etc on line than in person, i presume it would be much easier.
  12. Elph

    Elph capuchin hacker fucker

    It would be easier, if not for the whole money thing :P
  13. a tiny mushroom

    a tiny mushroom the tiniest

    I still live with my parents and I don't have a very big income so *coughs* but when I do go grocery shopping, I am constantly forgetting items I meant to buy and buying things I didn't need to buy on a whim, and supermarkets are Sensory Hell so it's not super fun. Also they move things around all the time, so I often end up stranded and panicky in the middle of an aisle because things have moved!!! And I can't think of where else they would be!!! Aaah!!!

    Probably when I finally achieve Independent Adulthood(tm), I will need a lot of lists so I don't forget anything. I already wear my noise-cancelling headphones or earplugs when I go to supermarkets, and probably also sunglasses are good. I think I really just need a shopping buddy to keep me on track and get me out of there if things start getting overwhelming, so I don't get overloaded and shutdown in the middle of the supermarket because that has happened before and it's Not Fun.
    Last edited: May 15, 2015
    • Like x 1
  14. Aniseed

    Aniseed Well-Known Member

    My main problem with online grocery is the selection can be pretty limited. It's something we've been looking into trying because my partner is the only driver here and is always taking the other two people we live with to the store, so we figured getting groceries delivered would be less time consuming and stressful. But one of our house mates is very picky about brands and such and it's hard to find one delivery service that manages to have every thing he likes. But I guess one trip every once in a while to the store to get the shit we can't get delivered is better than having to run out 2 or 3 times to get everyone everything.
  15. kmoss

    kmoss whoops

    I hate grocery shopping (also regular shopping)
    too many things
    too many people
    i also can't go shopping with my mom unless we are specifically not window shopping, because she gets caught up in "has to be perfect/but what about this one" and I think she does anxiety spiral, which makes her talk non-stop, and I cannot handle that when I have to make Decisions.
    I'm working much harder to be not-mean about it, because when i was younger i was kind of a dick because either i don't get anxiety or it hits me way differently, and I am only recently understanding that. She spirals into anxiety - I drop right down into not wanting to be there at all ever

    and i think she thinks she can fix it if she spends time on finding the perfect things or the best-priced things, where i try to fix it by going into only non-crowded aisles, finding the cheapest thing possible that doesn't taste like shit, and getting the fuck out. (I also pretend i am a secret cover operative in enemy territory, and if no one talks to me when we get to cashier then i have won)

    we have different goals when food-shopping, though, too. she wants the right thing and I just want to go home. So she ends up with buyer's remorse, and I end up home.

    #bluh #i probably have to go shopping soon #maybe i can go on my own with the list #and then ask her specific stuff before i leave #and then we won't feed off each other's misery
    • Like x 2
  16. Chiomi

    Chiomi Master of Disaster

    We go grocery shopping like once a month, with small runs if we're craving something or need more milk in between.

    We keep a Google spreadsheet of everything we want: one sheet has recipes for things I make pretty frequently that require several ingredients, so it can be copy-pasted. And then I have number codes for different sections of the store (bread, produce, milk, frozen, dry goods) so that I can just sort by that so we can hit everything up efficiently and in order. I add to it whenever - like, I think I figured out a lasagne recipe my roommate will eat, so I promptly added those ingredients to the list - and then sit down and try to make sure I'm not missing anything before we head out.

    Plus grocery shopping at midnight is definitely a thing we do all the time.
    • Like x 1
  17. albedo

    albedo metasperg

    Amusingly, for me, it's actually more spoon-draining to shop for things online when I have to make choices. I'm okay with making specific purchases, like, 'this is a textbook I need, I will purchase it.' But vague stuff like 'pants' is scary and draining, because what if they turn out to be not like I thought, and what if they fit funny or they fall apart or if the material is upsetting, and what if I have to send them back, and what if they're gonna be on sale soon, and what if I missed different pants that might be better and ughhh.

    It's much less stressful for me to buy things when I can touch them and when I can see the finite selection in person, rather than fretting over the theoretically infinite selection on the internet. I hate going out and shopping, but internet's worse, so. =_=

    @boyacrossthestreet Also, heh, that actually helps me understand why my brother and I don't grocery shop well together. He wants to get The Right Things, and enjoy the experience. I want to walk as fast as possible so I can get the fuck out as soon as I can, because the wide-open, people-filled space is distressing.
    • Like x 2
  18. kmoss

    kmoss whoops

    @albedo well, the pretending to be an undercover operative actually works really well, even if you go with friends (provided they aren't the type of people to go " why are you staying out of sightlines and ducking around aisles when you hear people coming?")
    It doesn't make it enjoyable, but it helps me rationalize how hyperaware and paranoid I get in places filled with people, which is nice.

    (I should actually tell my mom that this is why we can't shop together. i think she gets hurt feelings when I don't want to go with her to places, because she likes Bonding In Public and I much prefer Bonding In Silence, At Home.)
    • Like x 1
  19. Aniseed

    Aniseed Well-Known Member

    Also it might be a sort of Obvious Answer, but I find some discreet stimming makes any sort of overwhelming shopping trip more bearable. I have some hand held 'fidget' toys that I can mess with in my hands that help keep me from getting too overwhelmed, though I still tend to disassociate a bit. This mostly helps in regards to when we have to make trips during the day when it's crowded and my 'too much sounds, too much people, anxiety shooting through the roof' senses go off, and doesn't really help with 'oh god I don't know what to get or what we need or what I deserve' if I end up at the store without a list.
    • Like x 1
  20. pixels

    pixels hiatus / only back to vent

    ... I go grocery shopping every day. I pick up only what can fit in my arms. I go in needing one or two things ("I am out of Goldfish crackers." or "I need more Dr. Pepper." or "five frozen meals will get me through"). I have probably five or so that go up to the checkout. Is this time-efficient? Probably not. Do I look mildly "get out of my way bitch" whenever I go? I think so, I'm On A Mission. Right now (and last summer) I live/d close enough to my grocery store that it was on my way to/from work/school.

    Any intense grocery shopping happens on a Saturday morning when I've probably set aside the entire day for food prep of the "you can freeze this" variety. I'm talking twenty frozen meals, fresh ground beef/chicken that I can fix 'n' freeze, fruit that's pre-cut because fuck prep for that, etc.
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