Don’t Put Me On a Pedestal
Well, Friday is here again thank goodness. I should probably stop saying that and focus on having the best day possible every day, but there’s just something special about the freedom of the weekend. I appreciate it all the more having previously worked in retail where the concept of a weekend was practically non-existent. This Friday is even sweeter because I have next week off work. I originally only booked Monday off to recover from Liverpool Half Marathon, but then I decided to go the whole hog. Peter and I are going away for a few days and the rest of the time will probably involve a lot of relaxing.
I’ve been re-reading Intuitive Eating over the past week or so. I originally read it last year and wrote a post on some of my thoughts. I saw it on my bookshelf a couple of weeks back and fancied giving myself a reminder of some of the concepts. I’ll probably write in some more detail about other aspects of the book at a later point, but a half page section in the book prompted me to think about my own situation.
“DON’T LET YOURSELF BE PUT ON A FOOD PEDESTAL”
Sorry, that clip of “The IT Crowd” was a bit of a humorous aside. The serious point is that I’ve been interested in health and nutrition to some extent for over 10 years now. In that period I’ve definitely had my ups and downs in terms of eating well and my weight, but I’ve maintained an interest in what I put in my mouth. Because I’m interested, I’ve done a lot of research and thinking about nutrition and I would like to think that I have an above-average knowledge.
I also demonstrate what is generally deemed to be “healthy eating” habits much of the time – I have salads for lunch, I snack on nuts and fruit, I don’t often put my hands in the communal biscuit barrel. My colleagues have noticed and now will sometimes ask me questions like “is X fattening?”, or “is Y bad for me?”, or when some cake or chocolates are passed round they say “Sarah won’t have any, she eats so healthily”. Well, the fact is that sometimes I do want some cake – you all know how much I like cake!
I’ve also noticed that my friends and family will sometimes put me on a pedestal as well. When my Mum and I went away together for a few days we had a conversation that went something like this:
Mum: “I’m going to eat cake while we’re away you know”
Me: “Urm … ok, why are you telling me now?”
Mum: “I just don’t want to feel guilty about it”
The last thing I want to do is to make people feel guilty about their food choices because guilt is such a horrible feeling and I don’t think that anyone should feel that way about food.
The main problem with being put on a food pedestal is that although it might feel good to start with, it’s a long way to fall down. In your mind it becomes even more vital to be “good” and not to “cheat” by eating foods that are perceived as being less healthy. Eventually that kind of thinking could actually lead to overeating of those foods as a kind of self-sabotage. Personally, I know my diet isn’t perfect, because there is no such thing!
I’m not blaming other people, I know that I’ve done my fair share to mark my eating out as different. I’ve been incredibly enthusiastic about my food choices at times and I enjoy discussing nutrition etc. with anyone who’ll listen. However, now I am conscious of reining it in a bit and making sure that people don’t think of me as anything special. I don’t actively engage in conversations about diet at work, especially as it’s usually a discussion about the latest fad diet. If I’m asked a question about nutrition I will give my honest opinion, but most of the time I’ll give a simple reply like “I don’t think any food is bad in moderation”, or “it’s only fattening if you eat a lot of it and don’t have a balanced diet”.
Essentially, I don’t find being seen as different very comfortable and I don’t think that it is particularly healthy for me in the long run.
Do you ever feel like you’re on a pedestal in terms of diet, fitness or health? Are you comfortable with that?