Thursday, March 15, 2012

Body Weight, Or "The Curse of the Skinny Jeans"

Huh. I thought if she turned sideways,
she'd disappear...
Okay. *claps hands together enthusiastically* Getting down to something that is more often than not the number one reason that people look at ANYTHING related to the word “diet”-- body weight. (And I’ll explain in a minute why “diet” gets the “bunny rabbit ears”.)

Malnutrition and obesity are the roots of the epic jungle of health problems concerning our modern society, never more so than right here in the US, a country that with all its focus on the morbidly obese, still has a noticeable percentage of its population that struggles with eating disorders like anorexia nervosa and bulimia. A country with a shocking percentage of children living in abject poverty and families living off mediocre food stamps. A country that generates billions of dollars from exploiting images of super-skinny models and actresses. A country where you could still pass someone on the street that smokes because to quit would mean a likely weight gain, and what’s lung/throat/skin/ANY cancer compared to looking like the Crypt Keeper... or as she prefers to be known today, Lindsay Lohan.

When did eating food become so completely warped?!

The “Bunny-Rabbit Ears”
If you’re a living being, then it’s reasonable to assume that you have a regular source of nourishment to keep you living. There’s a word for that whole process... it’s... it’s... gah, it’s right on the tip of my tongue... what do they call it...? Oh yeah! 

That’s right, Schmenny Craig, SchmutriSystem, SchlimFast-- “diet” is defined by Merriam-Webster (who tend to know a lil’ something about the English language) as “habitual nourishment” and NOT “eat like crap to look like the spokesmodels and actresses we pay to eat our ‘food’ and talk us up to a gullible public”. Have you tried a diet before? Did it work for you? Probably not, since you were most likely forced to eat minute portions of something hyper processed from a can or box or microwavable packaging a few times a day, leaving you feeling unsatisfied and more likely to cheat. The modern “diet” is built for you to fail, because if you actually were healthy and happy, you wouldn’t need the products they’re selling you!

Give credit where credit is due-- the marketing teams for these companies know what they’re doing. They’ve created a system that makes it seem like eating real food is a luxury and will threaten your chances of ever being thin... and therefore, ever being happy with who you are. That the very air you breathe could make you fat and undesirable. Then they position their ads for miraculous solutions to why you don’t like yourself and nobody else likes you either in magazines next to images of human females (not technically women because they’re probably so starved that they’ve caused their own reproductive systems to shut down) that are airbrushed and computer enhanced into someone’s twisted idea of what it means to be a woman. Where are my car keys? I gotta go load up on Schlean Cuisines RIGHT NOW!

Here’s my problem with “diets” - beyond the fact that they’re ineffective... and often times costly... and restrictive without a substantial payoff... and are usually product reliant - there’s no actual enjoyment involved! I have memories of watching many people in my life force themselves to eat horrible food or incredibly small portions of food to get to their desired weight, and the moment they reached it, the diet didn’t apply to them anymore, which means they’d start back up with the junk food they’d denied themselves for soooo long because no lifestyle habits had changed. Within a few weeks, they’d be right back at square one. How does that qualify as living? Where in that process does one find what they were looking for, first at the bottom of their gallon of ice cream or bucket of fried chicken, and now at the end of their narrow dieting tunnel?

What’s the Alternative?
This may be going out on a limb, but food should be savored. (*looks around frantically* Did the sky fall down?) And despite what hysterical reactionary news outlets (say, Schmox News) would lead you to believe, there’s enough of it to go around. More than enough. We no longer live in the Dark Ages, and the country that’s simultaneously obsessed with stick-thin celebrity culture and living with nearly 70% of its population wildly overweight could probably stand to make food a little less of a priority, maybe sharing the benefits of the largest supply of the most varied food in the world with people that still have to carry water in jugs for a few miles in hot desert sun... again, going out on a limb with that one...

At some point, I’ll write about possible solutions to the vast myriad of food-related problems we have, not only in this country, but throughout the world (as opposed to only bitching about the problems). Maybe some will work, maybe some are still fanciful dreams born from years in Girl Scouts. But for now, I’ll say this directly to you. Are you paying attention? You have a right to enjoy the things that keep you alive! You can do more than only “eat to live”, for if you’re spending each moment that you chew your food wondering how many calories you’ll have to restrict later that day or how many punishing hours you’ll have to spend at the gym to eliminate the food you had the audacity to eat in the first place, that doesn’t qualify as “living”. That boils down to nothing more than guilt, the polar opposite of pleasure.

Food is not a luxury. Food is a joy! You have just as much a right to find joy as the next person, and finding it through a culinary experience isn’t always a bad thing if you’re choosing quality foods in reasonable amounts. And you know what? If you eat quality foods in reasonable amounts, then yes, you will lose unnecessary weight... along with unnecessary health concerns like heart disease, diabetes, chronic pain, and so on. Gluten in particular is the nutritional equivalent of packing peanuts, filling up your body with bloat and blech, and denying your body the chance for good nutrition and ideal performance. Real food like fruits, vegetables, berries, meats, nuts, even dairy (from the right sources) have limitless possibilities with a little creativity and inspiration... and if you’re having some trouble with that... well, that’s what I'm here for! I will do my level best not to lead you astray. Better put, I'll do my very best to not make you look stupid while trying new recipes.

What is so wrong about you and your body that you feel the need to deny yourself the joy of eating? What would happen if you savored the experience of food? 
What would change if you treated yourself as someone worthy of only the best Life has to offer?

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