The diet industry has led to me to believe that my food-related failings – of which there are many – are rooted somewhere deep in my psyche, and it’s up to me to figure out where. For a while, I kept a food journal. When that didn’t work, I tried to “eat mindfully”, taking note of how I was feeling when I craved fattening foods, but the exercise was futile. It became clear that literally every emotion leads to me wanting food. It’s like the saying “all roads lead to Rome”, except Rome is a chocolate glazed donut.
A few nights ago I was lying in bed, waves of shame washing over me for eating too much chocolate after dinner again. Those Kit Kat bars weren’t even mine. I bought them for someone else, and now I have to make an extra trip to Meijer and buy more to replace them (totally worth it, by the way).
In case you were wondering, here is a list of the other things I’d eaten that day (in no particular order):
- Greek yogurt. It was vanilla flavored and probably had just as much sugar as a Pop Tart, but whatever. Yogurt is healthy… right?
- A #7 breakfast meal with an orange juice from the golden arches. In case you don’t find yourself in the McDonald’s drive-thru on the way back from preschool drop-off as often as I do, a #7 is the one with the breakfast burritos and hash browns. They gave me hot sauce even though I clearly said I do NOT need hot sauce because – much like my 3-year old – they weren’t listening to me.
- Coffee with what some would describe as “too much” creamer.
- Chips and salsa.
- Chicken burritos with queso sauce from a Mexican restaurant, which I dutifully washed down with a margarita that I highly suspect was made with the cheapest of tequilas. The sodium content of this meal was so high that I’m convinced my blood now contains curative properties just like the Dead Sea.
- Chocolate covered dried cherries. Listen, I don’t know how many I ate, but apparently there were supposed to be 16 servings in the bag and now there’s only 1/3 of them left, so you do the math.
I Don’t Need Fixing
You know what? I just like to eat food that tastes good. I’m going to enjoy all the carbs I want to, thank you very much, and I’m not going to be made to feel bad for doing it.
The diet industry is estimated to be worth over $70 billion. I can believe it, too, based on all the self-help books, apps, cookbooks, shakes, bars, and other things I’ve seen on the market. I concede that obesity is an epidemic not only in the U.S. but all over the world, and I’m not saying we should all stuff ourselves with tacos and chocolate every day, but let’s dial down the shaming, ok?
And to be clear, I don’t begrudge any woman for wanting to slim down. I have friends who are working their butts off at the gym every day, spiraling zucchini to use in place of pasta, or growing fresh vegetables in their gardens. Moms are helping others get healthier as BeachBody coaches and Plexus reps, and I love that they’re out there hustling, selling something they believe in and supporting themselves and their families in the process. I think if you want to lose weight – for any reason – you should chase that goal down with all you’ve got (running is good exercise, after all). But I’ve just about had enough of diet culture telling all of us women that we aren’t thin enough. That we’re flawed and we need fixing. Keep that warped, toxic attitude as far away from me as possible.
Besides, what if there’s a zombie apocalypse? Have you even considered that?! I’m confident in my ability to survive but at some point the good food is going to run out, and everyone will have to start foraging and growing their own food, and it’ll be kale and tomatoes from there on out. I for one am going to enjoy every type of food I can, while I can. I’ll be damned if I’m going to miss out on the bagels while they’re still in production. That’s just not a risk I’m willing to take.
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