Considering the response to Open Wide, I’ve decided it’s necessary to continue a candid discussion about our relationship with food.
And considering the feedback received, I feel it’s necessary to hit on the topic of disordered eating. Not eating disorders – which are undoubtedly more scandalous and eye catching – but disordered eating. A reality that may not be as drastic, but one nonetheless that many of you need to admit your guilty of. And then, once you do, you must vow to change your ways.
I start with a full throttle confession that I spent a good portion of my life dealing with this unhealthy behavior, of weighing and measuring food incessantly, of counting calories and keeping logs of my intake when what I was burning was likely three times the amount consumed. I believed whole-heartedly that I was doing it all in the name of health, and I actually took pride in the painstaking measures I took to hold myself accountable. I was committed. Dedicated. And oh-so determined to stay in control.
Oh how wrong I was.
Because there was nothing healthy about how I was eating. Nor was I in control when a calorie log was the one that dictated what I could and could not eat. While there was certainly an enormous amount of will power involved, it was nothing to be commended. It was masking what was supposed to be happening naturally, which was eating for nourishment. Your stomach growls and you feed it. Things that taste good. Yes, that’s what eating is meant to be.
But we’ve somehow migrated so far from this concept. Likely because we’ve migrated so far from what food is supposed to be. Due to all of the ridiculous products that now brace our supermarket shelves, strategies are required to combat their damage. We eat this and not that, have visualizations for portion sizes and substitute one ingredient for the other like it’s some sort of Vegas bartering deal.
Add to this our negotiation of foods as “good” and “bad,” and the inevitable guilt that comes from eating something that’s not media approved. I know I am not the only one who has skipped meals in anticipation of something decadent, or who has run miles to counteract overindulges from the prior day. Hear me now: This isn’t healthy. Nor is it natural. It’s disordered eating. In every sense of the term.
Because there’s not supposed to be so much thought put into your eating. You should do it three times a day, and when you do, you should strive to eat whole, fresh foods. You should avoid foods that make you feel miserable – even if they taste delicious – because ignoring your body’s cues is cruel. You shouldn’t give yourself credit for good decisions nor lament yourself for bad.
And I can promise you that if you find this sweet spot, if you free yourself from unwarranted rules and parameters, you will instantly feel lighter, unburdened and ready to tackle the true issues of your day. Because eating is supposed result in nourishment, not contrition. And, as with everything, only you decide that on which you choose to feed.