Posts Tagged ‘food shaming’

My relationship with food is on the rocks

Another post from the annals of Nicholosophy. At this rate, I should just add my blog to the fat-o-sphere feed…

Warning: I mention weight loss diets. I’m certainly not advocating them though. I also mention the word diet in the context that it is meant, that is “Course of living or nourishment; what is eaten and drunk habitually; food; victuals; fare”.

I have always been a fast eater. For some reason it is as if there is a competition to finish my meal as fast as possible. I remember as a kid going to Sizzler, which is an all-you-can-eat buffet restaurant. I’d be so happy to finish my meals as quickly as possible because it meant I could go back and get more, and more and more. I’d always make myself sick and feel overfull by the time I finished and went home with my parents.

Then there were the times when I’d be on Weight Watchers or other diets. The most successful time for me on WW was in 1999 and 2000. I lost a heap of weight, but it was my mum who was monitoring what I was eating for me. She’d make my lunches and dinner to be compliant with the plan. It worked until such time as I had to take control of my own food management and it all fell over.

All these sorts of experiences have shaped how I deal with food today. I still know the points value for some foods, not that I use them any more. I still know that certain things would be approved on WW and can sometimes see myself move away from something I want to something I think I should have. I also have the other side where I think “I’m fat, it doesn’t matter what I eat” and I just grab anything I feel like.

You know, there are times where I eat things and I feel guilty about it before I eat it. So I’ll go and hide myself away to eat it so I don’t get seen eating it. The fact that eating makes me feel guilty shows me that I have an unhealthy relationship with food.

I suffer from reflux, so I’m not meant to eat things with caffeine in them, like coffee and chocolate. Curry isn’t a good idea, nor is fatty food, tomatoes and a few other things that will set me off. Eating fast isn’t good either, and as mentioned I’ve always been a fast eater. I have learned that a little bit here and there is OK, so like most things it’s about moderation, not complete removal.

When I first was told this, it wasn’t moderation. It was nothing at all. Now instead I’ve had “real” coffee for breakfast, not decaf. I had curry last night for dinner. I had baked beans for dinner (contains tomato sauce). I had Red Rooster for lunch. I had a chocolate later on this evening. If I had just had one or two of these things, I’d be OK but instead I’m now suffering a massive reflux attack (I’m writing this at 1am for that reason). So I’ve gone from one extreme to the other, and this is what I used to do when I was stuck in the weight loss diet round-a-bout.

A real diet is about learning what makes your body happy. It means I am only restricted by what I think works best for me. I won’t give up chocolate, but I just need to remember to moderate it and listen to my body. By eating slower and taking the time to listen to my body, I get the chance to hear my body say “hey, back up. I’m full”, or “OK, this is making you feel sick, you might want to reconsider.”

A real diet is about feeling good about food and not denying yourself something because of some arbitrary “good” or “bad” label. Some foods I won’t touch because I know the moment I do, I’ll feel crook. For example, I avoid pastry if I can tell my stomach is a bit dodgy today.

Learning to understand food is important to me, and I think it is something that everyone has to deal with at some stage. My relationship with food has been on the rocks for years, but I can’t file for divorce. I’ve got to fight a good fight and get it back on track. Fat or otherwise, food is something that everyone has to deal with. Learning about how my body works and what foods make it feel good and bad (rather than being labelled “good” and “bad”) is something I think has to be a priority.

Fat Eats.

Four or so months ago I became a vegetarian. This was because I thought it was hypocritical for me to eat meat; if I can’t actually deal with seeing an animal slaughtered, why should I be eating them? I don’t think this is the right viewpoint for everyone, and I would never -ever- lecture a person about what they eat. Like everything what people eat is a personal choice.

Previously I have ranted about Jamie Oliver and his quest to end fat people. I am being hyperbolic when I say that; I think Jamie Oliver’s intentions are actually not that bad. He’s trying to educate people about what food is good for your health. Now I don’t necessarily think he’s going about it in the right way (shock tactics and body shaming suck, yo) but I do recognise he’s trying to make the world a better place. (And by better I do not mean thinner.) His methods are in a similar vein to Michelle Obama’s. She is trying to get people moving and eating more healthfully and that’s a fantastic goal. Unfortunately she’s doing it by creating the action to end childhood obesity. All this kind of initiative does is shame kids (and adults) who are obese. And while I’m sure that wasn’t her intention, the fact of the matter is that people are going to take a volatile topic such as fat and skew the information to whatever they think is right. Fat kids will continue to be bullied simply for being fat; fat adults will associate the way they look with something bad – thus promoting negative body image. This in turn (however accidentally) promotes an industry that teaches people the way the way you look has direct correlation to your health and attractiveness, so you should change that at any cost.

It’s all too easy to blame particular groups for the world’s woes when really we should be tackling deeper problems; ones that investigate WHY people are the way they are. Often when I bring facts up to people who know little about the size acceptance movement, they say that the idea just gives fat people an “easy out” or an excuse to be lazy. That people are fat because they don’t do enough exercise and they eat like shit. After all, it’s just “calories in, calories out” right? First off, I hate it when people have said that to me, and be prepared to be verbally bitchslapped if you do. Secondly, saying something like that brings a complex societal issue with many different causes down to a few cliche catchphrases that aren’t true for every person. For some people it might be calories in calories out, but not for everyone. And even if that IS the case, what right does anyone have in making a judgement over how a person eats or exercises? Even if you look at it from a health perspective instead of a size outlook, what right does anyone have to comment on how my health should be? It’s my body and my choice. As long as I am not hurting anyone else, I will always feel this way. And frankly, if people were really concerned about health and not weight, then they would preach to everyone equally. I have always eaten more healthfully than my sister who is a size six – why isn’t anyone lecturing her about the benefits of eating more fruit and vegies instead of meringues and packets of nerds?

One of the tactics Jamie Oliver always tries to use is showing that it takes less time to cook a good healthy meal his way than it is to stick something in the microwave. By doing this, he’s skirting the one of the actual issues. People don’t cook full meals from scratch because it might require using a food processor/frying pan/mixmaster/chopping board, and all of those things require cleanup after use. Microwave meals and/or fast food can usually be eaten straight out of their packages. For convenience’s sake I know what I’d choose. Convenience foods are booming because people have less time and willingness to spend on cooking. I totally get it. I don’t agree with it, but I get it!

Another issue I struggle with is that I don’t think it’s anyone’s business on what I eat or how much I exercise. I think as long as a person is educated about what they are eating, then they should be able to eat anything they like. I mean, I have a penchant for a good butter chicken. Now I don’t use chicken these days, but it’s still gt a buttload of butter and cream in it, and I recognise this isn’t going to be the best thing for my health. I know that having too much of it is going to end up raising my cholesterol levels, and heart problems run in my family. I am aware of the health issues associated with eating the way I sometimes do, but in the end it comes down to it being my choice. I don’t insist that anyone else eat or think the way I do, and so I don’t think it’s anyone’s business but my own. I’m well educated on what may happen to my body if I eat the foods I do. I am aware that I probably wont live until I’m 100 years old. But that’s okay for me. I’m not suicidal either – I just want to eat what my body wants without being shamed by society.


To eat or not to eat – that is the question! Leave your thoughts about this topic in the comments below.


I like salad and I like muffins

Who’s moralising food now? Why, Sumo Salad!

Let’s get this out of the way – I LOVE salad. Don’t keel over in shock or anything, but I think there’s nothing so refreshing in a stinky hot Brisbane summer as a fresh and crisp salad. Occasionally when I’m out in a shopping centre, I’ll get a hankering for something to eat and the best out of a bad bunch will be food retailers like Sumo Salad. I’ve had it approximately twice in my life (I don’t really go shopping much!) and every time I’ve been there, their staff (teenagers) have closed down the hotplates early so they can go home on time. I’ve had to settle for the premade salad in the bain-marie those times, but last night I snapped and turned on my heel so I could write a passive aggressive tweet about it. When I’m hungry, I’m grumpy. I like to avoid being grumpy.

I felt justified in my wroth when Leigh linked to Sumo Salad’s new ads which brought on waves of non-hunger related grumpiness that can only be assuaged by blogging furiously. 

And anyway, that “cankle” isn’t even one. Fat and skinny people, and lots of people in-between, have cankles – you’re born with them and you may as well make peace with them!

Similarly, many men (from skinny to fat and back again) have “moobs” that they were born with – they weren’t made by chicken nuggets at all.

Hey, Sumo Salad! Your mascot is fat and appropriated for Maude knows what reason because none of your food is even remotely Japanese. Your salads are wilted and bland! I will now add you to the list of Foodcourt Retailers I Avoid – fear the angry fat lady’s wrath! I’m so over the body shaming and food demonising and I don’t understand how insulting your target market will entice them into your stores, unless your ads aren’t aimed so much at fat people but at people who are afraid of being fat. Sumo Salad, you are douchebags (and I like to keep douchebags away from my lady bits!)



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