Food and the Double-Edge Sword (Original MFP Posting 07/17/19)
Monday, October 14, 2019
We live in a very strange society these days, particularly the United States. (I live in the US, so I'll restrict my focus to this limited area that I know.)
On one hand, our society idolizes the thin. Slender actresses, skinny models and ever decreases sizes (What does 00 even mean) are ridiculously prevalent. There are so many think pieces on the unrealistic body image (mostly for women, but we're seeing it also for men) all around us from Barbie to Beer ads. We are told that our sizes must be tinier and tinier and tinier.
And yet, we are bombarded with ANOTHER unhealthy obsession: Food. Food is everywhere - fast food, slow food, salad food, juice food, supposedly healthy food, indulgent food, food that is healthy that promises to be indulgent, food that is a new flavor, size, shape and BIGGER THAN EVER.
Besides that, our culture encourages and promotes food gluttony. What holiday is not surrounded with a truckload of the most super indulgent food known to man? Need a catered lunch? How about donuts or pizza! Has no one perused YouTube to see the awful 10000 calorie challenges?! Or what about how even sporting events (such as the Thanksgiving 5K I ran last year) are now promoting that you can have more pie?
The fact is, this tug of war has only one winner - the companies. Companies selling diet foods and diet plans and then those that sell more and more indulgent (or not indulgent!) foods. Who is the loser in this tug of war? Us - we bounce from healthy weight to unhealthy weight, yo-yo dieting desperately to get to an unrealistic size and then when we fail (as another "friend" pushes and guilts us into eating a cheesecake), we bounce up to a higher weight. It's an abysmal world we live in, and the ones we hurt are ourselves. The companies and those at the top sit fat (figuratively, almost never literally - I believe the CEO of Kellogg famously wouldn't eat his own products).
What can we do? We can reject these mentalities. I don't have to accept the ultra-skinny as the ideal body, but I can also reject our society's food gluttony. I can respect people's food choices and not judge - and I would hope people would do the same for me. When I have food concerns, I would hope my friends woudl understand and help me in making the best choices and not sabotage my careful efforts.
I guess the thing I want to say most in this post is: Let's try to stop the body shaming and the food shaming. Let's stop thinking you need to be a size 0 to be cute. Let's help each other eat better. Let's stop encouraging gluttony - let's try to find new ways to have fun with friends or enjoy the holidays instead of relying on food (and the most wretched types of food) to bring us together. And let's show those companies who insist on making a bunch of junk food no one needs or asked for that will only make us fat in the long run.