"I gained 4 pounds just over the weekend."
"I really need to get back to the gym. I feel so guilty."
"It's those carbs...they'll put the weight on you."
These are snippets of a conversation I overheard yesterday between two grown men. And neither of the men were overweight. What the fuck is wrong with our culture where that's normal conversational fodder for two men? Or anyone really? I used to obsess over shit like 4 pounds, too. And I had to get psychiatric help because I had a fucking eating disorder. See, whenever I comment negatively about the state of the world in regards to food and dieting obsession, people will say, "Well you obsess about stuff like that, too." Yes, yes I do. But I acknowledge that it's fucked up behavior because I have a brain dysfunction. I'm starting to think there is a national epidemic of EDNOS.
I guess what is so frustrating about the national obsession with dieting for weight loss or maintenance, is that diets have been scientifically proven time and time again to not work. I think that's pretty obvious by the fact that our society is obsessed with dieting and yet more people are overweight than ever. (Although the current definition of what constitues "overweight" based on BMI is highly suspect). How the fuck does that happen? I really, really want to know. I also want to know how bread became the enemy. Haven't people been eating bread (and maintaining healthy weights) for thousands upon thousands of years? And pasta? And beef? And butter? How did these staples of the human diet become demonized in our modern culture? How did they become the culprit in the so-called obesity epidemic?
Why is it called "cheating" if I eat an ice cream cone? We cheat on tests, cheat on our taxes, cheat on our spouses. The word "cheating" has a connotation of betrayal. Who are we cheating on when we eat ice cream? Ourselves? So let me get this straight: I'm betraying myself when I nurture my body with something that tastes good? Got it. Pleasure + Nurturance = Betrayal. Everywhere I go, I see people behaving all fucking guilty about "indulging" in their natural instinct to feed their bodies. I hear people lamenting their lack of willpower. As if the ability to deny ourselves food is some kind of moral victory. Isn't that sick?
I'm so fucking tired of this bullshit. I feel like I'm swimming upstream every day of my life. I tried to talk with my boss about his "diet" yesterday (He is one of the men having that conversation above). I asked him why he was on a diet when he didn't have a weight problem. He insisted that he did have a weight problem. He weighs 175 pounds and he's about 5'11". And he is convinced he is overweight. He's never even weighed more than 190 pounds in his whole life, so it's not like he's ever had a weight problem. He weighs himself twice a day and compulsively keeps track of the foods he eats. If his weight goes up by 1 pound, he cuts back on his food. I think to myself, "This man has an eating disorder." But everyone in his orbit thinks his behavior is completely normal. I think that 30 years ago, his behavior would have been considered quirky, if not worrisome.
I'm a fan of eating intuitively. I am in awe of people who eat when they're hungry, and eat what they want. Sometimes it's a big green salad; Sometimes it's a big bowl of ice cream (full fat). Sometimes it's an apple. Sometimes it's a filet mignon with mashed potatoes and asparagus. I just have a feeling that if we all stopped trying to control our weight and just listened to our own internal cues, we'd be okay*. I think our bodies would reach a natural set point and we wouldn't have to spend so much of our lives worrying about a number on a scale, or the calories in our food. We wouldn't have to spend our whole lives being suspicious of an act as natural as eating. Wouldn't that be lovely?
*I'm referring here to people who are within a normal weight range. I realize that there are people who have legitimate and serious problems with weight. Obviously, these people need medical and possibly psychological interventions. In my opinion, people suffering from obesity should be treated with the same care, concern and compassion that a person suffering from anorexia nervosa normally receives.
2 hours ago