A few years ago, I spent a weekend with some cousins. Girl cousins to be exact. And you know what I realized once again? How much girls talk about food and calories and exercise and bodies and weight. Oh.my.gosh. One day we went on a tour of a cave with a total of 440 stairs. On the way out, one of the girls began talking about how, "this should burn off those 20 pieces of licorice that I ate." And then the discussion of calories began. I can hang with the best of them in the calorie counting game, but I just don't think that's how it's meant to be. I believe that food is fuel and obsessing about calories will, in the end make you a sad fatty or a sad skinny, but either way, it only makes your end up sad.
The thing that was most disconcerting about all of this discussion from the girls is that later that night, their 10 year old sister began talking about exercising to burn off the calories she had eaten. What?! A ten year old who is slim and healthy and hasn't even hit puberty and therefore has about 5% body fat is well on her way to developing the body image issues so prevalent in the women of America.
I've noticed a trend on Pinterest. My friends have tons of "skinny" recipes pinned. Everything from black bean burgers to avacado wraps. These are the acceptable foods. The foods they "should" eat. Alongside this righteous world of slim, there are hundreds of pins of desserts. Desserts they will pine over, but never eat unless they are doing so in binge quantity. It's the world of obsession played out in front of me.
Now I'm pretty obsessive about when I will eat and what I will eat and how I will eat it and all that. If you ever want to get bored, ask me to tell you about inutive eating.
Let me tell you something about our culture as American women. We like to talk about dieting. If someone refuses dessert we either hail them as disciplined and priase their self control or we take the opposing stance telling them we hate them for their discipline and that really they should just give in on their new diet and have a brownie.
Well I'll tell you what, I've had enough of it.
If I want a brownie, I'll eat one. Really, I will. I don't care if it's made with butter (gasp), in fact I don't care if it's made with lard. If I eat a brownie because I want to, I don't want to talk about how many calories are in it or how I'm going to have to bike it off later that afternoon. I don't want guilt or shame or elation or anything else. I just want to enjoy the brownie because I wanted it. The same goes for the things I don't wat to eat. If I don't, I don't, and it's not crazy and we don't need to talk about how I can work it off later or how it's okay to indulge once in a while or how they have a "skinny vegetarian option." If I want to eat it, I'm going to eat it, regardless of how healthy it is or isn't. And that is neither crazy nor ridiculous. It's intuitive.
Why not eat what we want, when we want, without explanation?