No Room To Judge

Trying to equate food with positive memories, or reminding myself of the nourishment it is providing isn’t easy.

My mind is so used to instantly associating food with calories, weight, weight-gain and being terrified, so it really is a conscious effort to not automatically revert to those negative thoughts, so one thing I have really had to evaluate is where fear of certain items actually comes from.

There are ones that are obvious to me; as a little girl my grandfather used to tell me I needed to stop eating Dairy Queen since I was getting fat so now any ice cream from a carton, or most establishments, is automatically unsafe and inedible. Only fro-yo can touch my lips and even that is a pretty recent thing.

But then there are some “rules” I have adopted that did not spark from a specific event, but more through osmosis of information in magazines, television, and from others who claim to know what they are talking about.

I discussed this a little bit in a post not too long ago, where I would read an article or hear something and instantaneously it would apply to me…

Work out AT LEAST an hour a day for a good body.

Don’t eat carbohydrates at night.

Eggs are horrible for you!

I mean the list could go on, and just for an FYI, the above statements are completely bogus and ridiculous so please ignore them other than for the purpose of example.

I have a radar for diet and fitness information and I take what I hear/see and in some sick way distort it to apply to me.

BUT it is only about certain things….

I have a selective belief system and I can’t exactly pin point why, but restrictions, guidelines and judgments are reserved just for me and essentially dictate my decision making process.

As I was sitting at lunch last week, the infamous tuna fish salad sandwich lunch, my dietician asked why I was looking at my meal with such a scowl.

“I can’t possibly pick this up and eat it. It is so messy and it would just be easier to eat with a knife and fork… It is disgusting to get things all over your hands. Mayonnaise is awful.”

…What I was really trying to say is, it would be better to eliminate the bread all together, and to have just gotten turkey, but I didn’t think it was a good idea to press my luck.

She asked why I needed to critique everything about food or the process of consuming it. What did I care if I got some tuna on my hands and why was bread deemed to be the devil? She wasn’t there to make fun or ridicule; she was eating the same thing and just ready to enjoy, not analyze every bite.

I have told you this many times but I actually LOVE bread.

CJ thinks bread is really freakin’ delicious in pretty much any form. It is ED who gave it such a negative connotation.

When did it become so “bad,” and sinful? What made my brain think this way?

I would say high school is the first time I recall getting rid of the pantry staple.

During my secondary education years the low-carb craze was in full force. Everything was “don’t eat white flour…don’t eat any bread…wrap your burger in lettuce…” and so I of course believed I needed to eliminate any carbohydrate or I was going to blow up like a balloon.

Fats are another entire food group that was at one point non-existent to me.

Growing up there was fat-free everything in our home. Salad dressings were either 15 calorie Italian or JUST vinegar.

We didn’t cook with Olive Oil, or any oil for that matter. I never tasted butter. Milk was only ever to be skimmed. Our snack drawer even had fat-free cookies!

I remember being at an airport my senior year, with my neatly packed bag of puffed wheat, going to the food vendor that just happened to be in our terminal and asking for some skimmed milk so I could have my breakfast.

They only had two percent, whole or chocolate.

I made my boyfriend at the time trek all over the damn airport to try and find MY milk and there was literally none available.

That meant breakfast was no longer an option, and I was the most miserable beotch ever on that long flight home because I was starving.

Awesome end to a trip, right?

I started to increase my fats slowly as I would read in wellness news about the importance of omegas, and incorporating HEALTHY lipids into one’s diet, but then this too became an obsession.

Everything had to be the PERFECT fat or it wouldn’t enter my body.

Skippy Peanut Butter?! Absolutely not! It had to be natural and pure….the $12.99 jar found only at Whole Foods, not something you could easily buy at a local grocer.

The point is I label everything into black and white categories and if something does not fit into the column considered “good” then it is (was) not for me.

Well that is kind of silly.

Yes, there are certain things that might be better for you than others, nutritionally speaking, but I am also starting to realize health is not all about being the perfect eater or fitness guru.

Wellness includes a positive mental state, happiness and relaxation.

Having to pack food for every single occasion, workout every day, degrade yourself if you slip up, is exhausting! Not to mention terribly inconvenient if you ever want to actually LIVE and do things outside of a precisely planned schedule.

I am trying very hard to be less judgmental and change my thought process about health because honestly, I never look at someone else and mock or berate their choices. If my co-worker eats a cheese steak one day I don’t think they are a complete disgusting hog. And if my little cousin wants to get ice cream, I totally encourage her to do so. Why should I be any different?

What makes me completely exempt from sometimes having a little fun outside the “naughty and nice” list?

It stems from a ton of self-hate and feeling unworthy, which is an entirely different post and I will revisit the topic later.

But for now know, it is not always about the food, there is no such thing as perfect, and food/exercise should not be labeled good and bad.

My hope is that I can someday apply these things to myself and find peace, but for now I am still very much a work in progress.

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6 thoughts on “No Room To Judge

  1. I will never forget when my grandpa looked at me as a 11 year old girl and said…”wow Lauren, you’re getting fat.” Word like that you never forget. I will also never forget my nanny continually telling me over and over that I was doomed to be fat for the rest of my life. No wonder I hold a lot of bottled up resentment towards my family for my past issues with food. I hear ya girl!

  2. Pingback: Eating Smart Food | My Night Dreams

  3. I also tend to take every single “this is bad” to heart, like the disordered version of how a lot of “normal” people will hear “oh, red wine is good because of X” or “dark chocolate is good because of Y” and use it to give themselves complete license to overindulge on wine and chocolate. I’ve become convinced that carbs are bad (all of them, even fruit) but also that animal products are bad–there was a period when I was vegan but eating under 25g carbs/day, and not eating anything with additives or more than 5 ingredients. Yeah, that worked well…

    I also grew up in a very health-conscious household. My mom is a little crazy about food (and has gotten weirder lately, to the point that I believe she’s orthorexic). We also had fat free or low-fat everything, and she had a number of other things that definitely made me categorize foods as “bad” even pre-ED: she NEVER cooked/baked with white sugar (dark brown sugar or honey only), NEVER bought regular flour (always whole wheat or some sort of unprocessed), NEVER bought/made white bread (always whole wheat), NEVER bought full-fat cheese, ALWAYS bought skim milk, NEVER bought sugared cereals (I specifically remember her lecturing me about sugar content when I wanted Frosted Flakes because I thought the tiger was cool looking [marketing success!])…when I was FIVE), NEVER cooked with butter (reduced fat margarine, or canola oil, and always about half of what the recipe called for). We also always had diet soda, except my dad.

    Combine this kind of extreme health environment with the black-and-white thinking of someone predisposed to borderline personality disorder and eating disorders, and…yeah.

    One way I try to combat this is by forcing myself to list the GOOD things about foods when my brain tells me the bad things. This has helped me deal with adding dairy and eggs back, and sometimes fruit. 🙂

    • I feel like I can relate to you in so many ways. I also feel the opposite of so many people who take “health” studies and turn them into a license to be able to have “indulgences.”
      My husband is constantly reminding me carbohydrates are so essential for energy, which obviously you and I both know since I am assuming you could probably write a nutritional guidebook for anyone else, but it is still hard to get over the fear after years of making them a no-no.
      My mom is nuts about food too…very similar homes growing up actually. Diet soda only, no juice, only ever frozen yogurt or ice milk, etc. It really is setting someone up for trouble if they have the predisposition for the disorder!
      I am glad you are adding things back in…even if it is a slow process, every little bit helps 🙂

  4. I know you have said you were at princeton, where a “fruit” exchange juice listed “high fructose corn syrup, red dye” as the first two ingredients. The pasta was white. The potatoes were white. There was no skim/soy/almond milk choice, and you probably had quite a few ensures. Have you read those ingredients?? And you managed, you survived (i am assuming a number of weeks) and left in a more nutritionally sound place than you were before you got there. Perfection is really just a myth. You faced less than ideal meals every day/every meal at princeton. Eat the messy sandwich you like. And you will heal yourself with each imperfect bite a little bit more.

    • you are very right. i did survive and actually was in a much healthier state when i left there than i am currently so perhaps I should think about that. there i also enjoyed the most delicious peanut butter banana sandwich with honey every morning. that is another thing i should really think about doing!! thanks for the reminder 🙂

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