Food is the almighty enemy to so many—but particularly women.
The guilt and shame plastered across social media sites with this theme can be maddening.
We’ve all seen the rhetoric and too often it hails from a fitness and nutrition coach of sorts. It goes something like this:
“I was sooo very bad this week and went to a friend’s wedding and ate all kinds of yummy food and wine! I know, what a total idiot I am! I’m like, A. Total. Mess! But, I share this so that you may know that I am totally just like you! No worries! As now it’s all fantastic cleansing for me during the next few days…[weeks, months years] and no carbs whatsoever and no wine! And so you just watch how my body transforms in only a few days! I got this! Who’s with me?”
The above post may as well be the header paragraph or mantra that some of the “development” coaches seem to have embedded into their self-dialogue. And this saddens me, so tragically, to no end.
Whether a regional coach taught them this self-hatred or whether they were drawn to this field due to epic struggles with body hatred themselves, I feel their pain. Granted, I am not addressing all athletic and nutritional leaders with the above observations, not by any means, but instead I am speaking to the portion who seem to behave contrary to their touted marketing message.
In other words, if posting some 20-odd motivational quotes on our Facebook walls all day, we should embody those sentiments and start first and foremost with our own self-respect. That means we deem ourselves worthy of beautiful food and we accept the fluctuations and shifts, within our soul and as healthy women without shame.
Not only do I not posses guilt for enjoying “yummy food and wine,” but I will confess to feeling grumpy, cheated and entirely disappointed with the cosmos if I have not devoured spectacular, gourmet goods each day—complete with vino accompanying the meal—as it’s a celebration that I do value, as is life!
Somehow though, the millennial lot today, in the industry of “guilt and shame” about real food, drinks the Kool-Aid or “Shake” as it be, and doesn’t seem to find food to be “downright sexy” on any substantial level, but cares more about looking sexy instead. And that’s just fine. My top priority of culinary consumption needn’t be everyone’s.
And I can remember that showing the red sole of my Louboutin shoes was more important than showcasing my inner “red”—my bleeding, my pain, my passions, my prowess, my warmth, my vivacity and my undeniably vibrant color—yes, the designer footwear took precedent to the red soul within. That’s just where I was.
Not only wasn’t I ready then, to fully be myself and to love (privately but also publicly) who I am, but any encouragement I received to “push like hell” with all my gifts fell on deaf ears or defensive ones.
Still though, I never had that heinous “body hate” or food guilt. (I’ll own plenty of issues, and I work on them daily and am in no way thus perfect). But food isn’t one of my struggles, never has been, nor is it invited to my future table, as I love to eat! Indeed, it is my “magnificent obsession!”
In this regard, I do not judge those who struggle so painfully each day to overcome a fear of eating food. I do not feel that I am superior to or better than them at all.
Instead however, I merely wish to share something that’s been an innate and non-contrived part of my being since I entered this lifetime, with the hope that it may help someone.
And that’s: we mustn’t have guilt over pleasure.
Yes, while the masses speak of what their “cheats” and treats are, I am of the belief that if we pick up something by choice and put it into our mouth, then we have done that with intention. We have raised a glass, broken bread, nibbled cheese or sliced into cake or whatever it be, and of our own volition, and we thus deserve it. We should savor every drop with boundless gratitude, curiosity and appreciation for a new experience and/or new knowledge or sensory arousal.
What’s scary though, is when women feel that if they don’t maintain their same weight throughout the month or that if they gain a couple of pounds (I gain 8 to 12 every menstrual cycle and always have), then they are unworthy of “self love” and must post their shameful, and in their minds quite “hideous” physique, and with “accountability testaments” espousing their vows to manifest something better.
Yet it is when we stop viewing food as the enemy, and stop insulting it (and ourselves for ingesting it), that we begin to digest the important truism of just how essential, encouraging and downright sensual our food truly is. (And how much sexier and confident we can feel when allowing ourselves to take pride in our food selections and choices and to genuinely enjoy them.)
If we are authentically excited to help others in some special way—and certainly we all have been gifted with unique paths to pursue and in turn channel as branches that reach other people—then we must once and for all begin to value the “Gifts from the Gods”—yes, the ones on our dinner plates—and recognize that by nourishing ourselves, we become more equipped to feed the world with our own internal recipe and spectacular ingredients.
Our biggest and fiercest enemy is and always has been within. The food is not the culprit, but the unfounded panic of making peace and having a daily relationship with such apparently is, and for many people.
And so may we all lift a fork, raise a glass, and try this precious blessing right now together:
“I am worthy of good food!”
Author: Laurie-Beth Robbins
Image: andrew smith/Flickr
Editor: Catherine Monkman