You are not what you eat

There is a weird thing that we do as people who eat stuff, and that is assign moral value to food. I have no doubt that everyone reading this has used language like ‘bad’, ‘naughty’, ‘guilty pleasure’, or ‘cheat meal’ when referring to something they’ve eaten. We’ve probably also all said something like ‘Oh man, I was really bad yesterday and had fish and chips for dinner’, or ‘You are so good, having a salad for lunch’. That’s because it’s a short leap between labelling food in a negative way, and labelling ourselves in the same way because we eat that food. I’m aware that they’re only words, but words have power, and the way we talk about what goes into our bodies affects the way we think about them. The more we imbue food with shameful and negative connotations, the easier it is to feel the same way about ourselves when we eat it.

Most adults understand what healthy and unhealthy mean – and somewhere, we transmuted those into meaning ‘good/bad’, and ‘clean/dirty’. And the more we’ve done that, the more we’ve accepted that we are good or bad, clean or dirty, depending on the food we eat. Somewhere along the line, we have also convinced ourselves that the ‘bad’ foods make us bigger, and the ‘good’ foods make us smaller. If the bad foods make us big then being big must be bad, and if the good foods make us small, then being small must be good. It’s a false equivalency, and it’s an insidious and persistent lie that diet culture sells us: that our bodies are a reflection of our morality. And it’s fucking bullshit. Just to be clear here, I have no interest in what anyone eats, or what size anyone is – eat salad every day of your life, or consider donuts a food group, whatever works for you – but remember that what you eat doesn’t determine your worth. Your moral value depends on many things, but the ratio of Snickers bars to kale smoothies you’ve ingested in your lifetime is not one of them. Eat the fucking cake. Drink the fucking coconut water. Enjoy the chips or the chickpeas, but know that your food choices don’t make you better or worse than anyone else.

There is a similar narrative which tells us that ‘food is fuel’ – existing to help us get those gains, lose that tummy, grow that ass, and that’s fine. But food is more than just fuel. And we have to let ourselves be OK with that. Food is fuel, but it’s also celebration, comfort, enjoyment, togetherness, nostalgia, and sometimes, the only thing that’ll get you through a fucking rough hangover.

(I know that most people who read this know me personally. And those who know me personally know that I am not a slim woman. I am not now, and I never have been. Chances are I never will be. I know that some of those people who know me personally will read this and have thoughts like “LOL she’s just talking shit because she’s fat, maybe she should try eating less bad food every week trololololol”. I won’t label food, but I will label those people ‘bags of shit’)

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Things I am not here for in 2018

  • ‘Inspirational’ hashtags. I am not here for the vain attempts of people to grow an Instagram following by adding 6000 hashtags to every picture they post. Stop using #blessed to get strangers on the internet look at your boring pictures of wonky horizons and black and white selfies. In all honesty, I don’t really give a shit what people put on their own social media – but stop trying to act like the salad you made for lunch warrants being called #blessed #positivevibes #goodformysoul or #purehappiness. If all it takes for you to achieve pure happiness is to make a salad, you should be writing a fucking cookbook, not a hashtag.

 

  • Silence in the face of racist/sexist/homophobic/transphobic bullshit. Don’t use gay/homo/f*ggot as insults. Don’t say shit about immigrants taking your jobs. Don’t be a loser who says things like Muslims are terrorists/Indians own dairies/all Asian people look the same. It doesn’t make you anything other than a big, steaming pile of ballbags. Don’t use the culture of others as costume or gimmick (take that bindi off your fucking head). Don’t laugh about not knowing which pronouns to use with someone who has transitioned. Don’t make jokes about rape. Don’t laugh at jokes about rape. Don’t whine about the friend zone, because women don’t owe you shit just because you’re nice to them. And if people do any of this in front of you (or any of the countless other small but significant ways people say ‘fuck you’ to minority groups) – say something. Otherwise, in your silence, you are complicit. And make no mistake: that is just as bad.

 

  • Trying to dress my three year old in anything other than what she chooses to wear. Because honestly, who cares that she wants to wear four necklaces, sparkly shoes and reindeer antlers with her togs when we go to the supermarket? I don’t. I don’t care at all. It’s a battle I am not fighting, because she looks bloody excellent.

 

  • Businesses that deliberately use spelling mistakes as a marketing gimmick. Sorry Kool Kutz, your inability to spell properly makes me doubt your skillz as a hair ztylizt too.

 

  • Leaving six month gaps between posting here. I am aiming for every second Sunday, but I am notoriously inconsistent, so if I stick to it…consider yourself #blessed…