As many (or all) women will understand, I have been obsessed with food since a young age. In our early years we will accept anything that comes flying toward our mouths masquerading as an aeroplane; but as we grow older we become wise to the superior tastes of trans-fats, sugar and salt. For many of us the obsession with food can be traced back to our pubescent metamorphoses, when we developed unexpected womanly curves and began to panic and freak out. Overcome by the changes in our bodies, many of us have been on a rollercoaster ever since, trying to sculpt and squeeze ourselves into some unobtainable figure. Enter yo-yo diets, idiotic detoxes, low-carb, no-carb, vegan, sugar free and low fat revolutions, all inevitably ending in hunger and frustration. #cleaneating #thighgap #doesmybuttlookbiginthis? #howthinistoothin? #fitspo #greenjuice #fuckitigiveup #wherestheicream
This brings to mind a very relatable meme I’ve encountered on social media… It goes something like this:
“Every girl’s dream is to find Prince charming…FALSE
Every girl’s dream is to eat whatever they want without getting fat.”
I thought it was pretty hilarious, mainly because it was a brutally accurate summation of my relationship with food. As you may have noticed the message around food and body image is very conflicted these days. There is a strong social obligation to consume copious amounts of indulgent food at every occasion, which is at odds with society’s not so subtle emphasis on the ideal female form. This sees many of us scoffing party pies at the work morning tea and then crying into our salads about it by lunch time. These pressures have us all darting chaotically from hedonic indulgences to supreme guilt and self-loathing. Torn between the compulsion to consume the wondrous smorgasbord of lard and carbs on offer, and our aching desire to become a Victoria’s Secret model (because that’s realistic).
So where does this leave us? Crying into our Ben and Jerry’s, or obsessively searching for the most nutritionally effective juicer on eBay? Mainly we are left dazed, confused and overwhelmed by the barrage of ‘guilty’ and ‘guilt-free’ options out there. We have taken to bartering with ourselves like we are children: “Yes Jules, if you go to the gym five times this week you can drink that whole bottle of champagne on the weekend (as long as you ONLY have a salad for dinner beforehand)”… What I don’t account for is the actions of ‘Drunk Jules’, my intoxicated alter-ego, who finds it liberating to eat copious amounts of McDonlads in order to equalise my hard earned calorie deficit. Thus, leaving me fretting for weeks about the outcome of that 3 a.m. large McChicken meal plus nuggets (well at least she ordered a Diet Coke, right?). Well played Drunk Jules, well played.
So evidently this deprivation game is enough to drive me crazy, into a state of depraved drunken shenanigans. So what should I do? If I put on my sensible hat for a minute and recall past experiences I realise, that the less I deprive myself and the more focus I give towards eating nutritionally dense meals the happier I am. So maybe, rather than adopting my default setting of “Eating as much as I can without getting fat” I need to be a little more consistent in “Eating great foods that make me feel great”. Strangely enough the junk cravings tend to subside (…Froyo is healthy right?) and ‘Drunk Jules’ is a lot better behaved. So what I’m trying to say is that maybe if we spent a little less time beating ourselves up and practiced a little more self-love maybe we could moderate the food obsession. And perhaps with a bit of practice we could beat off those dreaded love-handles and still enjoy a cheeky cheeseburger every once in a while without suffering post-burger depression.