First off, I’m not one of those people who believes you have to eat healthy 100% of the time. I eat chocolate everyday, drink wine when I feel like it, go out for burgers and beers occasionally. But like all things bad for you, I consume them in moderation. Moderation means 10 less kilometres I have to run and three less sets I need to rep out to keep my body looking like it does and to be healthy, inside and out.
I don’t know at what point in time our culture stopped supporting this. I feel like there is this weird cultural norm where you get judged when you slip too far towards either edge of the health spectrum — too gluttonous and people think you have no self control/self respect, too health conscious and people think you’re no fun/judging everyone else/annoying. The perfect balance would be eating what everyone else is and still looking healthy, which isn’t possible except for those people gifted with genes that let them eat whatever they want and not gain a pound.
I guess I sit closer to the “no fun/health nut” side of the spectrum, even though I feel like I live a pretty balanced life. Even though we live in a culture of convenience, I feel like we know enough about what we should and shouldn’t put in our bodies to make the right choices. But, it’s not that easy. We’re busy, and don’t have time to prepare and cook what we know we should be eating. Our brains are programmed to prefer fat and sugar (excellent sources of energy back in the early hominid days), so when we’re hungry, we reach for that. Our culture has changed faster than our bodies have had time to catch up. We can’t eat that way when we spend nine hours of our day on our asses, staring at a computer screen. Our bodies are meant to jump, run, kick, dance, move. If we stop using it the way we’re supposed to, and don’t fuel it properly, we’re totally going to end up in hover chairs like the people in Wall-E!
I’m not here to tell you what to eat or how to live your life. You can make those choices for yourself. But like someone who gets annoyed by getting the stink eye or a snarky comment for going back for a third serving of mashed potatoes, I get as equally annoyed when I get guilted into eating things I don’t want to. It’s especially hard to say no with the holidays coming up; you don’t want to offend anyone and you want to be a part of your family’s Christmas traditions, no matter how shortbread-filled they may be.
Case in point: I feel like I ruined by boyfriend’s Sunday morning today by not wanting blueberry pancakes for breakfast. We ate pizza, shortbread and had beer the night before, and I couldn’t justify having pancakes, especially since I’m not allowed to exercise for a week due to a surgery I had on Thursday. And quite frankly, I didn’t feel like them. My body wanted oatmeal, so I proceeded to make myself some. I told my boyfriend to just make himself pancakes if he wanted some. He said you only make pancakes when you have someone you care about to eat them with, and that he was going to eat ‘dust’ for breakfast instead and continued to stand there reading the paper while I ate my oatmeal. Sigh. I know he was just trying to bug me, and it worked. I did feel bad. But I shouldn’t have to 🙁
I’m still trying to figure out how to take care of myself and others, knowing what I know about nutrition and fitness, without coming off sounding like a no fun/party pooper/new age health nut. Suggestions welcome.