I was talking with some people yesterday about the emotional relationship milspouses have with food, particularly during a separation from their spouse. The conversation prompted me to think back on recent separations and I could clearly see how my consumption of food, and what types of food I consumed, ebbed and flowed depending on the circumstances in my life.
I don't have children, so when my husband is away, I only have myself to feed. I tend to eat the same things over and over again. I must have consumed a zillion cans of Progresso Minestrone soup during my husband's last two deployments. In addition to that, I stay up late when my husband is away. This means that I have more hours in the day to become hungry and reach for a "snack," which usually involves something chocolate. If my husband were home, I would have been asleep and only dreaming of chocolate, not consuming it....
I've talked with numerous moms who have said that they are overwhelmed with being mommy and daddy and can barely find time to prepare a full meal most days. They often reach for the easy button and go for take-out, or make quick meals like mac and cheese.
Food can be an emotional issue, especially when there's an empty seat at the table. It can be depressing to eat alone. It can be depressing to fix a big meal and not have anyone to share it with. If you have children, it's often hard to find the time to make proper meals given the added responsibilities a spouse assumes when their partner is away. And then, of course, sometimes we use food to numb pain or loneliness.
Frequent moves also change our eating habits. A PCS can mean that we're not in a stable location with a functional kitchen for weeks at a time. This tends to be when I gain weight because we're on the road and I'm not eating nutritious meals or getting any exercise.
Does your relationship with food change when your spouse is away?
Some of my favorite posts on this topic can be found below: