By Anne T. Donahue
If there’s anything I would like us to leave behind forever, never to have to deal with it again it is diet culture.
Absolutely not. Nope! Get it away from me, I am not interested. Life is short, being alive is a feat, and none of us need to spoil that experience by policing our diets (or the diets of others) or saying something ridiculous like, “Oh, I’ll be bad!” before eating a cookie or justifying chocolate with some bullshit, “I didn’t eat carbs” today explainer. Food isn’t bad! Food is wonderful! It’s delicious, and we’re lucky to have it! Enjoy it, my god, enjoy it.
But in case you need a little boost (and because I also know what it’s like to navigate the holidays when you are fixated on what you’re consuming/not consuming and how much it will effect your BMI) (which, for the record, is nonsense and not a real or important thing – so says my doctor, thank you), here’s what to remember if your first feeling isn’t “oh fuck yes” when met with something delicious.
Food isn’t earned!
You don’t earn food! That’s not how this works! You don’t have to be “good” to eat food, and you don’t need to “feel bad” about devouring, say, a row of Pot of Golds in front of Guy’s Grocery Games. Food isn’t the enemy, our society’s freakish obsession with thinness is. Your body type is your body type, and it is neither bad or good, it just is. (And anybody with an opinion on your body – unless it’s like, a surgeon telling you your appendix is about to burst – is clearly battling a mindset you don’t need to be a part of.)
Your body got you through this year
If you’re reading this, your body has brought you here and I’m sorry it’s into reading my work, but I’m not sorry that we’re hanging out for a second. But here’s the thing: bodies are incredible. They go through a lot. They put up a fight every day. They work really hard to keep you here, and even when they start to fall apart, they keep going. Why not fuel it with something you’re excited to eat? Why not enjoy the process of consuming a meal/snack/treat/shrimp ring and celebrate it as something you get to do? It’s wild that we’re being carted around by this thing that also happens to enjoy delicious dinners. Guilt doesn’t belong in this process.
Clothing sizes change, stretchy pants exist, it’s all under control
A fact about me is that some days my jeans are tight and other days I look like something’s happened because those same jeans keep falling down in a way that makes me look like I’ve been swallowed. Yes, this is due to buying jeans that are not high quality and stretch out easily. But also, sometimes we’re bloated, sometimes we’re not, sometimes we put on a few extra pounds, sometimes we stay exactly the same. None of it is bad, but it can be truly annoying. My point is twofold: food isn’t the enemy, and something not fitting isn’t because you’ve failed. This is something I would’ve liked to know when I was in the thick of the worst of it, but alas. Even the moon can affect the way certain pieces fit us. The moon! Nothing matters! Eat the cookie!
New Year’s resolutions are the worst, food and weight-oriented ones are even worse
Unless they are, “I will finish the plate of food I create at the Mandarin buffet.” (Wasting food isn’t cool. You can always go back if you’re still hungry! You’re allowed a lot of plates! Nobody will stop you, and nobody can!)
Don’t go into the new year holding the banner of “I will be better by depriving myself.” That is not what “better” is. I don’t even know what “better” is because I have yet to achieve it, but I know that nothing gets better by equating less food to being a decent or worthy person. You’re here, we’re in the Mandarin buffet line, and it’s wonderful. There’s only room for judgement if, again, you take a heaping plate with no intention of finishing any of it, thus wasting several delicious crab legs. Do not waste crab legs. You can waste my time, but not a delicious crustacean.
I’ll meet you by the dessert table.
Need a little more Anne? Read more from Anne T. Donahue right here!