trigger warning: discussion of eating disorders and disordered eating
I love food. But I hate the word foodie. When I hear it, all I can picture is photos of avocado toast and girls out to brunch saying “omg, it’s worth the cals” (sorry, I guess I’m sexist). However, I can’t call myself an expert or a food aficionado, so to get my point across, I’ll say you could call me a foodie.
What I’m more passionate about than food, though, is making sure we’re doing it in a mentally healthy way. I’m no stranger to hopping up on that soapbox and ranting for hours about the importance of intuitive and mindful eating to health. I’ve cried about the impacts of diet culture to my mom and distanced friendships because of it. But I’m writing this post because, well, I might be a hypocrite.
There’s nothing that could possibly change my beliefs on eating, but I express those beliefs so outwardly and so often that sometimes I forget to remind myself that it applies to me, too. I’ve never struggled with a full-blown eating disorder, nor am I on the worst end of the spectrum when it comes to disordered eating. But I also have never had the best relationship with food, and I think that’s why I’m so focused on and passionate about the issue in general.
I can’t pinpoint that unhealthy narrative to anything in particular. I wasn’t raised in an ultra-healthy household or the complete opposite. Nothing sticks out as something that could have caused it, but I think that’s the important thing to note. When we’re taught about eating disorders, we’re shown ballerinas with mean-spirited instructors, girls being bullied at school, a young kid with parents restricting their eating—basically, there always seems to be an obvious cause. But outside of some of these extreme scenarios, there’s thousands of us living completely “normal” lives with an unhealthy inner dialogue.
If I look at my own issues with food and what really causes them, it boils down to me caring wayyy too much about what other people think. There are so many things I care about that when I say them out loud, it sounds insane.
Is it embarrassing to eat a bagel on my way to class?
Is that person going to judge me for taking the free candy they are literally offering me themselves?
I don’t want people to think I’m wasteful, so I guess I’ll just eat the rest of this thing that will definitely make me sick 13 minutes from now.
Are the people cooking dinner in the kitchen going to judge me for making frozen pasta?
Are the dancers sitting in the kitchen silently judging me for getting ice cream out of the freezer?
Even worse, are they going to notice if I don’t return to put it back because I finished it?
It’s time to go grocery shopping, so I’ll plan out what times and days I’m going to eat the good-tasting food and the not-so-good tasting food, knowing full well I won’t follow that plan at all.
Is it embarrassing to be 20 years old and like Kit Kats (no, it isn’t)?
Do my friends think it’s gross that I like desserts so much?
Are my friends annoyed that I keep telling them they need to eat before going out?
Is it sad to eat alone in the Student Center?
Why does it seem like all the skinniest people only eat mac ‘n cheese and Cheetos all day?
Should I eat mac ‘n cheese and Cheetos all day? But I don’t even like Cheetos! Also WHO CARES IF SOMEONE IS SKINNY OR NOT IT’S LITERALLY JUST AN ADJECTIVE.
The thing is, being someone who tries to be really informed on this stuff means the dialogue goes two ways. When I have an unhealthy thought, I know it’s unhealthy. That doesn’t mean I don’t have it anymore, but that does mean that nine times out of ten it’s followed up with WTF Chloe? Chill out maybe?? And that can be a little frustrating to deal with. Okay a lot frustrating. I confuse myself a lot when I go from lecturing my best friends on why they need to eat what their body tells them straight to Is it okay to have a sandwich if I had toast for breakfast?
I was having a conversation with my roommate the other day about the best advise we’d ever received. The only thing I could think of was something a TV character said, which is totally on brand for me. There’s a scene in Schitt’s Creek where Alexis is taking David to do his driving test. He’s clearly having a panic attack, and Alexis says something along the lines of “David, no one is thinking about you the way you are thinking about you. No one cares,” which is just as on brand for her. Since that conversation we’ve been throwing “No one cares” into just about every conversation and honestly, it’s true. It’s such a seemingly insignificant piece of advice, but Alexis Rose really dropped the life guidance of the century!
I think I’m writing this because, to be cliché, I want people to know that no one is perfect at anything. I might tell you all the time that you really (like really) need carbs in your diet, but that doesn’t mean I’m not having similar thoughts. I want the friends that I lecture all the time to know I’m doing it because I know how it feels, and I don’t want them to feel the same way.
To end with a slightly more kumbaya moment than I would have liked, I’ll say maybe we should all be a little bit more like Alexis, and just not give a fuck.
and now, a bunch of pictures of food to make you hungry: