We Have A Love-Hate Relationship With Food And That Needs To Stop Now

Flickr / Sherman Geronimo-Tan
Flickr / Sherman Geronimo-Tan

We all eat food. Food is wonderful and it has so many beneficial powers. At the same time, the media demonizes food and focuses on restriction. Calling certain foods indulgent and producing for us a bittersweet routine in which we can only have the littlest bit of edible satisfaction in our day. We’re all on a diet. Or in the new age, “It’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle.”

I don’t know about you, but I’m not keen on eating chia seeds or a few tablespoons of superfood powder. I have a blender at my place of work so smoothies have happened. Investing in fancy food processing equipment? No. I just want to eat food and not feel guilty.

I’m an athlete and I have continued with my routine since high school. I also work at my university’s gym part time, so that equipment is available upon request as well. I’m a gym rat. Five days a week. If I had to purchase a membership? No.

Food is so emotional and comforting. It is part of who we are and the environment we grew up in. My mother’s cooking as all lasagne, Swedish meat balls, and fish fingers. Ah growing up. I remember a photograph of my brother and I stuffing our faces with a mayonnaise sauce and fish sticks.

Then came the pressures of appearance that followed with puberty. There was some bullying. I was a chubby kid. But was that what mattered? I got my vegetables and ate a modern “balanced diet.” I was within a healthy weight bracket, but I was still that sloppy hairy-legged twelve year old. I wasn’t calling the shots anymore. I became what everyone else thought of me.

So many of us fall victim to body shaming. We feel insecure about what everyone else sees on the outside. After that, we begin to care ourselves. We count calories. We focus on weight instead of health and fitness. We forget we have brains, ambitions, and other powers that stem beyond the structure that carries us. Our body is a machine. Shouldn’t we focus on lubricating it rather than hindering its performance?

I’m not only speaking for athletes. I’m talking about job performance, studying, and balancing home-work life in addition to being able to climb those stairs without losing your breath. It’s all down to how we eat. Science agrees. If you take a look at The China Study by T. Colin Campbell, the largest study on diet ever conducted, diet and health overall go hand in hand.

Deprivation is bad for you. We don’t hear that as much as we should. We hear that if you eat too much, you’ll get fat. Being fat isn’t aesthetically pleasing. Who cares about being healthy and normally functioning as long as you can be skinny?

Wait! Hold up. Why has skinny become an attractive description? Doesn’t it mean bony, frail, angular? Thin is also an association with weak. What happened to “I want to be lean, fit, and sexy.”

What happened?

Especially with women. Is it not aesthetically pleasing to be ‘built’ (muscular and physically able) as a female? It throws away the infantile fetish that men have regarding women. Women being small, childish, weak, and in need of protection.

Have you ever thought to yourself that you don’t want a man after your body? You just want a man that likes you?

So does that small skinny latte get you any closer to that goal? Finding someone to forge a relationship with. Someone who likes you for you? Are you really being healthy and taking the path of compassion for your body? Do you enjoy torturing yourself?

I was underweight through most of my high school experience. I became overweight shortly after. I was trying too hard and suffering up until I “gave in” to my brain and ate.

Food ended up being my balm. Why did I deprive myself? I still couldn’t dig deep enough to find myself charismatic, attractive, or anything else that would be sought after.

I run an average of 30 miles a week. I work full-time. Study full time. My grades are great. My pay, eh. I don’t care what I look like. I care what I do. What I eat. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains. I do what I need to live. I avoid pain. Why put yourself through those things in pursuit of aesthetics? They don’t matter!

You are beautiful anyway. We have every hope that you will positively contribute to society. Do we have iPhones because Steve Jobs was a supermodel? Is there democracy because of extreme female body expectations? What about farmers and fair prices? There are all of these real problems that cannot be solved by going on a calorie-restriction-steroids-hoo-haa diet.

Let’s make fit and healthy the new “skinny.”

Conscious effort only needs to go into eating correctly. Most of the time. I stuff myself on occasion without regret. But then, I always eat until I’m full. There are too many people hungry out there who don’t have a choice.

I’d like to remove all of the hate from food. Nutrients only want to love you. It’s time to love them back.

Real food. Real people. Real accomplishment.

I’m tired of being frustrated, stressed, and saddened by what passes my lips. Join me? TC mark

Related

More From Thought Catalog

blog comments powered by Disqus