An inside look at falling victim to giving food control over your health, happiness and wellness and why we need to ditch the diets and stop giving food power.
Hey, ladies. We need to talk.
No, it’s not about a guy or about work or even about what’s happening on The Bachelor, although, according to my coworkers, stuff is happening.
We need to talk about food.
This isn’t a post about the latest juice cleanse fad or how many jumping jacks it takes to burn off one jellybean. This post is about how we’re letting food have power over our health, happiness and wellness and how we need to cut that shit out now.
Why We Need to Ditch the Diets and Stop Giving Food Power
When I scroll through Instagram or watch Instagram stories, I am blinded by food. I say blinded, because after awhile, I am able to see nothing but food inundating people’s feeds and minds and killing us all softly and slowly.
You know what I’m talking about.
The infamous yogi who only posts pictures of her morning smoothies containing frozen cauliflower, the woman who is eating a single boiled egg for breakfast because that’s what she thinks she should do to lose weight and be “happy” and the lady who takes literal photos of herself in a bikini and calls herself fat.
While I have zero problems with smoothies, boiled eggs or even bikini selfies, what I do have a problem with is the psychology behind them.
For some, looking at Lady Yogi’s Instagram account serves as inspiration to move your body more, say Namaste regularly and eat your veggies, and that’s great. But for others, it might come across as an unattainable lifestyle that they need to adopt immediately to look “good” in Lululemon whilst downward dogging in front of a mountain in Aspen.
Waking up every morning at the ass-crack of dawn and doing sun salutations in your living room with your Goldendoodle in-between sips of a tur-latte seems like the answer to all of your problems.
Here’s a bit of news that you might not want to hear and it’s that a lifestyle like this might not be attainable for you in the long-term and that Lady Yogi probably also eats pizza on occasion, just like you. She just doesn’t post it on her feed.
A lifestyle consisting of only green juice and essential oils cannot and will not sustain you forever, however it can be a nice addition to your normal lifestyle.
Juice cleanses, for whatever reason, are still ALL THE RAGE, which I guess makes sense because they make people angry. I understand “resetting your system” or “detoxing your body,” but there are a multitude of other ways to do that than starving yourself. Also, juice doesn’t detox much.
Which brings me to a question I’ve been wanting to ask for a long time.
Why aren’t we eating?
Why do we think that restricting our diets will make us lose weight and why do we go to the extreme of having a single egg for breakfast that’s supposed to power us through lunch?
We are living, breathing human beings and I don’t care who told you that food is bad, but f*ck, it isn’t.
As a woman who has battled with disordered eating and binge eating, I know first-hand that sometimes food can be a problem, but I also know that it’s the mindset I had about food that was actually the issue.
A trigger food for me in college were animal crackers. I would binge the whole bag and usually dip them in peanut butter or Nutella. Because of this, and because of how unwell I got after an animal crack binge (not a typo), I stopped buying them. I had to. So I understand if someone has to abstain from a food or food group for awhile to get themselves onto a healthier path, but do not let that consume your mind and spiral out of control.
The animal crackers themselves are harmless, aside from being full of processed shit but sometimes processed shit is delicious (ex. yogi pizza), the harm was in my way of viewing food and giving food power over me, aka opening the bag for a handful and one hour later having an empty bag on my desk because I couldn’t stop.
If you’re wanting to lose weight, it will not happen by restricting your diet to extremes. It just won’t. I don’t care if you’re on Day 5 of no dairy, gluten, meat and sugar and *killing* it, that shit won’t last and that’s okay.
I would go all day without eating in high school, but as soon as I got home, I could never fill myself up because my body was starving. Depriving yourself of meals and nutrients all day long, unless you’re fasting intermittently (which is also temporary), will not only wreck your metabolism and cause your body to hold onto its fat storage for fear of starving, but it will wreck your mind too.
And wrecking our minds can wreck our lives and self-inflicted wrecked lives can make us wither away.
Why are we hating our bodies?
I spent many, many years looking in the mirror and calling myself hideous names. As a matter of fact, I just cut that shit out this year. Something about turning 26 made a lightbulb go off in my head and I hopped aboard that self-love train REAL quick. I am who I am and that’s what it’s going to be.
To the girls and women who call themselves fat, please, please stop.
You’re associating the word “fat” with “bad” and fat is not bad. You’re name-calling yourself. If we get angry with bullies for calling us names, then we should be furious at ourselves for doing it.
You have fat on your body to keep you warm. You have fat on your body to regulate your hormones and have healthy periods. You have fat on your body to protect your bones and organs from external damage. Fat is not bad. Avocados are a fat source and I damn well know you’re buying them at Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s (they’re cheaper, FYI!!!) for your avo toast with pink Himalayan sea salt. You can’t fool me, girlfriend.
But calling yourself fat is fooling yourself. So cut the shit and stop treating yourself like garbage. I mean that.
How can we grow to love ourselves and not fear food?
This one is an individual process, as it should be, and it takes time according to one’s own experiences and growth, but one thing that you for sure need is patience.
I honestly believe growing to love yourself and not fearing food begins with patience. And also growing up and experiencing the true values in life, whatever those are to you.
I can’t explain the shift I experienced on my last birthday. I wish I could, and it’s something I can try to elaborate more on sometime, but there was a complete shift in how I viewed myself and how I viewed food.
Food is here for us to eat for fuel, but also to enjoy. At the time between birth and preteen years, something can happen to us that causes us to think eating is bad and gaining weight is the worst thing on earth. It’s not.
The worst thing on earth is losing a friend or watching a family member’s health decline or not giving yourself the love you need to live a happy life.
The worst thing is not that you ate a slice or two of pizza last weekend.
It’s just not.
So we grow to love ourselves by just that – growing. We learn to not fear food by knowing it’s there for us to consume when we’re hungry or sometimes sad or happy or nervous, and then we move on.
Animal crackers aren’t the problem. If I could say one thing to a bag of animal crackers right now, it’d be f*ck you for making me feel like shit about myself and also f*ck you for being so delicious and affordable.
And I think that’s all I have to say about that.
Girl power, not food power.
Go out there in the world and make it your b*tch.
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Disclaimer: I am not a Registered Dietician nor a medical health professional. These are my own opinions and I am not sharing medical advice. All thoughts are my own.