I have to get something off my chest. I want to address several examples of food obsessionthat I saw recently. I see this kind of thing rear its ugly head quite often, but a couple have crossed my radar this week and I just can’t let them pass without comment.
Are You Obsessed With Food?
Rest assured, just because you aren’t binge eating and drowning your pain in Twinkies doesn’t mean you’re in the clear. Here are a few of the things that tip me off that people need to just eat real food and relax.
- Doing math on your food – As I write this, I just read a girl’s post on Facebook that she’s decided to go 100% Paleo because 90% was just too hard. She found herself multiplying days and meals by 0.9 to figure out when she could have a piece of chocolate. Yes…you read that right. She craved something so much that she did math on her meals and then decided to go even harder-core and cut it all out! (I won’t name names. If you read this, I’m sorry to call you out about it, but it’s more than a bit obsessive.)
- Worrying about ratios of Polyunsaturated/Monounsaturated (PUFA/MUFA) fats in food – I saw this one recently too. A discussion of food devolved into a discussion of why this or that was better because of PUFA to MUFA ratios. If you’re calculating fatty acid ratios in your head while you make dinner, I have three letters for you: OCD. If you’re worried about PUFA intake, cut out vegetable oils and eat real food. You now have my permission to stop obsessing about this.
- Living by a label – If your diet or workout is a label by which you define yourself, you’ve gone too far. Just be a person, no label or group acceptance required.
- 100% die-hard adherence to something – If you find that you can’t enjoy yourself at a social outing because the food doesn’t fit into your very narrow scope, you need to relax. Also, if you can only hang out with people that eat or workout the same way as you…yup, you already know.
- If you’re counting anything… – I don’t care if it’s almonds, carbs or fat. Stop counting, start eating real food and you won’t have to count anything.
Relax. It’s going to be okay if you eat 1 more almond you allotted yourself today. If you want some chocolate, eat some chocolate. If you want a cookie, eat a cookie. (If you want a cookie constantly, well, you should probably reign that in as that’s just another form of disordered eating.) Drink a beer or a glass of wine. Have some coffee.
Have Your Cake…
A couple nights ago, I was hanging out with my friend Sean Croxton of Underground Wellness. We were having a couple beers (if you’re gasping at the thought of guys that care about health drinking beer, this post is definitely for you) and talking about all of the crazy food obsession we read.
Sean told me that in one of his videos, he’d mentioned that he likes cheesecake and sometimes he just wants a piece of cheesecake…so he eats some cheesecake. Hey, I can’t blame him. I love cheesecake too. It’s probably my favorite type of pie/cake.
Get this…people wrote him emails asking “So explain this cheesecake thing to me”. They wanted to know the health benefits of eating cheesecake now and then. Too far people…way too far! Don’t obsess to the point that you can’t just eat things you enjoy. In fact, don’t eat things you don’t enjoy at all. I don’t eat food I don’t like, it’s that simple.
Food: The New Religion
From what I can tell, the US is the most food obsessed culture there is. And also the most overweight, unhealthy culture. Hmmm… There are somewhere on the order of 10 billion new diet books each year, give or take. It’s not working, folks. Just Eat Real Food. I’ve been saying it for several years now. Just Eat Real Food!
If the thought of eating corn on the cob or rice makes you break out in hives, you’ve jumped the shark. Don’t make eating something more than it is. It’s not a religion. There’s no supreme food deity that’s going to rain down upon you with hellfire and brimstone. You’re no more pure or righteous than the guy next to you eating meat (for any self-righteous vegans in the audience), eating rice or corn (for any self-righteous Paleos in the audience), or eating a piece of cake. (And you probably won’t live any longer either, just for the record.)
There’s no need to create your own little food cult. It’s just food. Learn to cook. Eat real food. And go live your life. Enjoy food. Love food even. Don’t obsess about food.
Oh, and if this post put you on the defensive and you’re justifying it to yourself right now, this one was for you.
If you know someone that needs to hear this:
- Post it on Facebook
- Send it via Twitter
- Email it to them