Most mornings I eat a breakfast of whole wheat toast with peanut butter and a banana.
Most mornings I feel guilty.
I like the toast with peanut butter, it tastes good with my coffee, but if I was really a good person I would eat something healthier. Oatmeal with flaxseeds. Yogurt with bran and fruit. Those don’t taste as good with my coffee…so I eat the toast and I try not to think about it. If I was a better person I would something more whole grain, something with more micronutrients, something that perhaps I didn’t like so well.
Because if you don’t like the food, it has to be good for you, right? Actually the more you hate it, the better. Or the weirder, the better, right? Remember when eggs were bad for you? Now, they’re good. Carbohydrates used to be not that bad for you, a necessary part of your diet, now they seem to be the grim reaper in a bread bag. Once a food is deemed ‘bad’ it seems to make a shadow in your conscious, every time you eat that food you are sinning. Even if it has been acquitted of it’s nutritional crimes, you still wonder if you should eat it.
Women have a relationship with food, it’s not just something that we put in our bodies for fuel, it’s our friend or our foe. A secret lover that we go to when we are stressed. A personal trainer that makes us feel better about ourselves when we do well. A friend we go to when we need comfort.
We feel self righteous and good about ourselves when we eat what we think is ‘good.’ A ‘good’ that can be based on lots of misplaced notions. A salad is good, but a sandwich is bad because it has bread (because bread is evil). A salad is good, but pasta is bad (because carbohydrates are bad). A salad is good, but pizza is bad (because pizza is just evil incarnate, I mean it has bread and cheese). Are you noticing a theme here? If you eat the healthy food you are good, almost even holy. If you eat the bad food you are bad, guilt ridden. You feel the ultimate sin of ‘fat.’
Woman cannot live on salad alone. Literally. That would actually be bad for you.
So what’s a girl to do? How can you eat without all the emotions tied up to it?
I mean, food is just food, right? Can’t you just eat whatever you want and be happy?
` Lately I’ve been trying to make sure that everything I put in my mouth has a significant amount of nutritional value. An easy goal, to eat good whole food. Sounds good, right? Then there’s that handful of corn chips, not much value there. After that comes the junk food hang over. Not a belly ache, but guilt. You shouldn’t have eaten that, you’ve wasted valuable calories on just fat and salt, sure it’s ‘whole grain,’ but what does it really do for you?
Then if you never eat them the times you actually do you find yourself pigging out on them. Case in point? An unholy occurrence a few days ago between me and a bag of Fritos.
With everything there is balance. Somewhere in the middle is the sweet spot. The place where you can eat a handful of tortilla chips just because you want them and then not feel bad about it. Some days I can find that place. Some days I find myself hiding in the pantry spooning mouthfuls of Nutella into my maw because my three year old just threw a face melting tantrum on the playground. If only I just didn’t feel so much about it all. If only it was just food.