The Morals of Food

I’ve been reading a lot of Fat Acceptance blogs lately, and I’m struck by how our society thinks of food in terms of “good” and “bad.” Obviously, I haven’t been unaware of this before now, but for some reason, I’m in the midst of a cognitive shift about it: suddenly it doesn’t seem normal to me – in fact it seems downright insane. An apple is AMORAL: it’s not good or bad – it’s just a freakin’ apple, for God’s sake! Same with a burger and fries: they’re not good or bad – they just ARE. There is no inherent virtue or sin in food.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!

I think this comment (in response to a post over at Shapely Prose, which seems to be my jumping off point lately) was the first statement that got through to my disordered brain.

::::sigh:::: Oddly enough, after reading that for a little while, my WHOLE SELF just felt lighter. Not physically lighter, but as though I had just had truckloads of guilt lifted off of me. It’s just a burger, just an apple, just a piece of toast or broccoli or pie. It’s JUST not that important. I am so grateful to have heard that today, not just to have read it, but to really truly have HEARD it.

Aaaaanyway, here are today’s 3 things:

  1. I didn’t plan on getting up early this morning, so I didn’t get up early. Even though I hadn’t PLANNED on getting up, when I did, I heard the mental voices start: “I can’t believe you didn’t get up earlier! You are supposed to be getting up to exercise! Can’t you stick with something for more than a day?” The REASON I am proud of myself is that I recognized that voice as WRONG. I stood in the bathroom and yelled at that voice: “No! I was NOT supposed to get up this morning – I’m not working on that habit yet, and I am entitled to sleep in if I’m freakin’ tired!! I didn’t fail at anything, and in fact I’m doing pretty damn well at the habits I AM working on! Shut up!” So I’m proud of recognizing that voice for what it is: wrong and mean.
  2. I’m proud of myself for packing a healthy lunch and snacks for work today (and for eating them – ha!). Tasty soup and eggs and even shrimp cocktail for a snack! MMmmmmmm, shrimp. 😀 And I don’t have weird cravings tonight. Even better.
  3. Finally, I’m proud of beginning the cognitive shift mentioned above. If food isn’t moral, then I don’t have to feel like a “bad person” every time I eat something. And if I’m not “bad” for eating, then I don’t have to figure that I’m already a “miserable sinner” and might as well eat the whole tin of cookies. I can just have one cookie, because you know what? It’s JUST A COOKIE. Nice. 😀 (I did in fact have ONE cookie today, and no desire to have any more. It was tasty, it made me happy, and then I was done. I have NEVER felt that way before. It was incredibly liberating.)

So that’s tonight’s 15 minutes. Tomorrow I’m going to post some more traditional “goals,” but with the caveat that they are not as important as the new habits I’m building.

Feeling good tonight! Woo-hoo!

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2 responses to “The Morals of Food

  1. We totally do put way too much emphasis on the food itself. I agree that if we could let go of the guilt, it may be easier to become truly healthy. It’s just getting past that first part….

  2. Seriously. It’s actually a little bizarre. But every era has its particular “moral failing.” The early 1900s had drinking, the 50s had sex, the 90s had smoking . . . Granted, smoking is worse than the other two, but you get what I mean. Now food is the “baddie.” Argh.

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