By: DEBORAH AUGUSTIN
Edited by: KELSEY CRUZ
How many times last weekend did you eat something “bad”? Or maybe you were “good” about your diet on Saturday? Without much context, I’m sure that you have an idea of what I mean. As you think about your weekend’s meals, you’re mentally listing the various desserts you had or those late night snacks after a night out with friends. On the other hand, you may be able to proudly say you were “good” last weekend and made healthy choices. Many of us divide our food into two categories – good and bad. Instinctively, you place dishes like pizza, chocolate cake, and fried foods in the former category while salads, grilled chicken, and fruit fill the latter.
According to the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA), adolescent girls are most likely to find information on women’s health from the media, predominantly through advertising. Foods lower in calories, fat, or carbohydrates are all marketed in a positive light while desserts, for example, are often advertised with words like “sinful” and “naughty” to imply that by indulging in a piece of chocolate is a form of misbehavior. From a young age, we are told which foods are “good” or “bad” and that our eating habits reflect our self-worth.
“This binary system of evaluating food represents black and white thinking, a style of thought that is associated with much psychological dysfunction, including eating disorders,” writes Dr. Dana Udall-Weiner, a licensed psychologist, on her blog, The Body and the Brood.
Ladies, let’s not allow advertisers and skinny celebs to brainwash us. We need food to survive so why let it consume our lives? It’s almost comical to think about how often we count calories or divide our food into the two dreaded categories, either chastising ourselves for slipping up or rewarding ourselves after a week in the gym. Instead of constantly trying to force our eating habits into two extremes, we should take remember why we eat. Is the food we consume meant to make us strong, keep us healthy, or give us pleasure? Every time we eat, it’s for a different reason (and sometimes all three!). Sometimes it’s for celebration and sometimes it’s for fuel. Sometimes we’re trying to bulk up for a marathon and sometimes we’re trying to slim down for bikini season. If we lead such exciting, tumultuous lives, why not eat like it? Next time you find yourself categorizing, pick up your fork and simply enjoy the dish that’s in front of you.