mercredi 26 mars 2014

I live in Gingerbread House

Two guesses what these are for

In her first collection of journalistic essays, Marian Keyes has a chapter called: "Sackcloth, Ashes... and the Gym" (Under the Duvet: Notes on High Heels, Movie Deals, Wagon Wheels, Shoes, Reviews, Having the Blues, Builders, Babies, Families and other Calamities) (If that's not enough to make you go out and buy it, Marian Keyes is also the author of "Rachel's Holiday." Boom!) 

The whole collection is great, but that particular chapter stood out to me because it details something we all face: the guilt that accompanies a time of excess, the resolution to do better, the horror when we realize it's not as easy as we first thought. (In this case: Christmas and New Year overindulgence.) It starts on January 1st and lasts up to the end of the month, and then we all go back to our regular(ish) lives. 

What's not mentioned in the essay is the Spring Edition of that. Otherwise known as the race to fit into last year's summer clothes. It's not widespread - my blog feed is not yet overcrowded by people pledging to lose X amount of weight in 30 days, or run a marathon, but there is definitely some talking about eating "healthy" and cutting back on the "bad foods."

I'm not that immune to this. March was the month when my roommates and I spontaneously decided to have a "Sweets Bowl" on our living room table, where we would put all sorts of chocolates and cakes we got / made and didn't want to eat by ourselves. It was more than just bringing a treat because someone had a birthday, it was actively encouraging each other's sweet teeth. (Which is bad, because we're girls, and girls don't eat too many sweets, because gender stereotypes. Or something.)

I agree with Ana Mardoll's assertion that all food is technically healthy, as in it keeps you from dying from starvation, and I find that slapping a "healthy" or "diet" label on foods doesn't so much promote "good" eating habits as it makes us swap one binge food for another (and even then, what exactly does "diet" mean in this case? Are the sweeteners in Diet Coke necessarily better than regular ol' sugar?) (And don't even get me started on attributing labels like "good" and "bad" on eating. Just... don't.)

Linguistic specifications aside, I do understand what people mean behind that rather loaded shorthand: eating a little of everything, or prioritizing foods that ARE ingredients over foods that HAVE ingredients, get some gentle (GENTLE!) exercise in every day, and try to avoid emotional eating / eating because you're bored. You know. "Living a balanced life," as they call it. It's a very rational way to look at things.

Sadly, humans are not rational. We have bad days when it's easier to fall back on our old friends Chocolate and Crackers while watching Emma Approved back-to-back. We binge on pizza and chips and then feel bad about it, and we go on a run in the rain despite still being on the mend from a cold. We get carried away training and end up incapacitating ourselves for longer than we like, and we binge-eat some more, and then we feel even more terrible.

And the vicious circle continues.

I'm not even sure what the point of writing all of this is, except maybe as a reminder to myself not to get too carried away (because I am going to install some sort of spending ban on myself, and I know I'm going to include something food / sports related in it.) So there:

You (future me,) don't get carried away. 

Life's too good to guilt yourself.

I feel like I've already said that somewhere.

(I should note that the picture is a month old and that the JD is a prop I "borrowed." Just in case you were wondering.)

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