Monday, March 31, 2014

HEALTHY EATING + AND THE STRIVE FOR THINNESS


I consider myself a healthy eater. I won't lie, my number one priority would definitely be keeping slim, but healthy eating is obviously key to this. I think this fact probably makes my mental approach to food unhealthy, really. I don't think I'm the only one who feels this way either. People can wax lyrical all they like about detoxing, green smoothies and all things "wellness" but I am willing to bet that for many of them, there's a hidden preoccupation with thinness lurking beneath all the health talk. I'm not criticising, after all, I am one of these people. I think admitting that you think about your weight a lot or make food decisions based on it is kind of taboo. We replace the word "diet" with "clean eating" and that makes it okay, even if your calorie intake clearly lends itself to weight loss. And don't get me started on the word "detox" or "cleanse". What a lot of people are really striving for is that feeling of utter emptiness. Let's face it, those skinny teas and other "cleansing" concoctions are laxatives in much more palatable packaging. They help you purge. It doesn't sound good, but can you really call it anything else?

Anyway, why am I talking about this? Well, because I have beaten myself up over my dietary "indiscretions" lately. When it comes to That Time of the Month, heavy carb and sugar-laden food is the only thing on my mind. I'm like a pregnant woman with cravings. They're almost impossible to ignore and though I do my best to do so, I usually end up at the corner store seeking out pringles and bars of chocolate to placate me. Not long afterwards, the guilt sets in. Thoughts like "I've undone all my hard work" and "I'm never doing this again" swirl around in my mind. It's quite sick. For the rest of the month I'm Gwyneth Paltrow! If I was watching anyone else beat themselves up like I did, I'd definitely think they had an unhealthy, possibly bordering on disordered, relationship with food. I have, in the past, lived with anorexia. The physical anorexia didn't last long, but the nervosa, or beliefs and anxieties, took a long time to go away. Are they completely gone now? I doubt it. I would define body security with being OK with your shape even if it completely transmogrified. And I am sure I can't say this about myself. Can anyone?

This week, I had back-to-back days of crappy eating that could probably amount to a bit of weight gain. Even if it did, why should I allow it to turn me into a self-hating wreck? How many of us are truly unfazed, even as the number on the scales increases? All I could think about on Sunday was making that icky, puffy, full-of-shit feeling go away. And avoiding the mirror, scales and every "fitspo" account on instagram like the plague. I'm sure that's the very same feeling that leads a bulimic to purge or an anorexic to starve. For me, ridding myself of it came in the form of a few hours of walking and a resolve that I would be really "good" this week. I find this way of thinking about food difficult to watch in others. In fact, I find it cringe-y. Especially when it's dressed up as "I'm doing this purely for my health and well-being and has absolutely nothing to do with wanting to be thin". Perhaps it's a bit like that phrase "we hate most in others what we dislike in ourselves". Strangely, I respect when someone is honest enough to admit what most of us don't wish to. Kate Moss sparked a storm of controversy when she said "Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels". I know there are many of us who tut-tut that statement but when we really think about it, about the disgust we feel after we stray from our clean diets and how great it feels when our jeans don't cut into our hips anymore, don't we secretly agree with her?

I'd like to hear your (measured and non-judgemental) thoughts...

1 comment:

  1. Anna, I loved this post. While I am not on the skinny end of the spectrum by any manner of means, I certainly relate to all that crazy food thinking and obsession with weight and body image. When we actually do eat 'purely for health' that health should also involve our mental and emotional health so there is no hating ourselves, beating ourselves up and avoiding looking in a mirror because we were not absolutely clean in our eating. I like to remind myself that food is nutrition, not a thought or a feeling. It seems to work in keeping my food intake clean. Thanks for a great post. x

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for taking the time to leave your comments - I love receiving them!