Long time no post. I try to really only post when I have a lot to say on a certain topic. Older posts that just have a food/day recap bore me to tears and really aren’t fitting with the purpose of this blog. It’s not a food diary, an exercise diary, or anything like that, but has really become a place for me to throw my thoughts when I need to straighten them out. I guess that’s why people say writing is so therapeutic, because you can write and erase and cross out and draw arrows but the finished product is more thorough and hopefully more complete than the mess of thoughts floating around my cerebral cortex.
I’ve been out of commission lately with a partially torn calf and have had to find a new way to cope with stress besides high impact exercise. I’m still working on it; the lack of endorphins is a continuous shock to my system. I use exercise to control the intensity going on inside my head and to relieve stress and anxiety. I also really enjoy it. I like to run, I like to box, I like to cycle, and I really do enjoy jumpsquats. I’m really trying to embrace this injury and figure out a lasting way to deal with stress other than exercise. Bref.
Back to the title of this post. Obviously, when I’m not working out hard, I’m not burning the calories that I’m used to burning, and my body goes through changes. For the first time in my life, I’m not worrying about it and I’m proud of myself for that. I can’t say that I’ve changed a lot, but I’ve come to accept that it’s a normal part of being injured and I can bounce back from this. I’m not overly obsessive about what I eat-I just eat when I’m hungry. Most importantly, I don’t feel guilt over it. The whole idea of “food guilt” frustrates me so much. I’ve felt it and I hate it. This was another topic mentioned in my class on Eating Disorders: the whole idea that guilt is associated with food in any way is terrible. More and more “guilt free” items are showing up on grocery shelves, and proclaiming something “guiltless” suddenly makes it desirable. Oh, okay, I can eat that and not feel guilt because it’s healther/lower carb/lower fat/whatever. First of all, no. I see no reason why I should eat something that may or may not have more ingredients or artificial sweeteners in it than it’s full fat/carby/starchy/sugary/buttery/whatever counterpart, and no matter what I choose to eat, I don’t see any reason that I should feel guilt about it. Butter and sugar? Bring it on. Chemicals? Bite me. I do tend to choose items with ingredients I can pronounce because I THINK I feel better, but I don’t feel any guilt whatsoever about those fruit snacks I ate last week. Guilt over not sharing? Maybe. Why should I feel guilt because OMG I ATE SOMETHING WITH BUTTER? I. Don’t. Care.
There are certain things to feel guilty about. Hurting someone’s feelings for your own amusement, yes. Not appreciating the beauty of where you live, yes (kicking myself for this one). Food? No. Not now, not ever. I see so many “healthify this, healthify that! Eat dessert without guilt!” headlines and it’s really frustrating. Eating a dessert that is NOT made with stevia or coconut oil or garbanzo beans but has sugar and fat in it should NEVER make you feel guilty. Eating a dessert that IS made with beans is fine too, don’t get me wrong (although I’ve learned my lesson on that one-disgusting), but the whole idea that guilt is associated with any kind of food makes me sick.
Seems like a lot of clever marketing, to me. Like people putting out the idea of a “healthier, lower-guilt” item that suggests that you should feel guilt for the food you eat really only benefits them. Like oh, okay, I was going to feel guilty for eating something that I love and just adding in a few extra minutes on the treadmill, or not even, but now I can eat this “guiltless version” and feel totally fine about myself because I’m an amazing person. Makes sense, right? That makes me even sicker: the idea that we suddenly feel ashamed or guilty or less incredible because someone wanted to make money. I’m trying to steer clear of foods with major processing, but I don’t feel guilty because I think Flamin’ Hot Cheetoes are delicious. No, they won’t fuel a marathon very well, but of all the things in life to worry about, whether or not my food choices should make me feel like less of a person doesn’t even register.
I see it everywhere. “Health” bloggers throw it around like it’s nothing, grocery store chains (even Trader Joe’s, which I love) entice customers with “guiltless gourmet” labels, and food posts on Pinterest and other food photography sites are captioned with “guilt-free” and “you won’t feel guilty after eating this!” Well, I wasn’t going to feel guilty about it anyway, but glad I’ve got the approval of some random person on the internet. Really.
It’s sickening, infuriating, and any other logical synonym. How dare people tell us that guilt and food have anything to do with each other? How does eating something “guilt-free” help us to live healthy lifestyles? Sounds like a recipe for anxiety to me….but I do happen to be massively opinionated.
I should probably clarify something. I’m not trying to say that if you follow a particular diet as part of your religion, culture, or beliefs regarding the treatment of animals or anything I haven’t thought of or do not know enough to barrel through an informed rant about, that you’re wrong, idiotic, or less of a person for it. That’s none of my business and I have no right to tell you how to feel. No need to agree with me or like what I have to say; you’ve got free will. My concern is with the damaging message sent out through packaging and “healthy” blogs that food and guilt have any connection.
On that note, it’s been a long time since I’ve had Hot Cheetoes. Made without gluten ingredients and scarily addictive. Guilty? Not even a little bit.