I want to talk about dealing with food and health in the midst of a global pandemic. I had to push away certain thoughts at the beginning of this stay at home order.
“Since I’m not working I have time to exercise everyday.”
“If I have to be home all the time anyways, I might as well cook healthier things for myself.”
“If I’m sitting around at home all the time, I really shouldn’t have dessert or fast food because I’m not burning it off.”
HOWEVER NONE OF THESE THINGS ARE TRUE.
I’ll start by saying that I have not always had a healthy relationship with food. Or with my body. And my journey into learning about self love and healthy food relationships is very new. Also, I am not a health professional. Everything I say comes from teaching myself, learning and doing research on my own.
That being said, this quarantine has brought to light many MANY things on the topic of health and exercise and food and it can be very hard to know what is correct or incorrect information.
I know that I’ve recently been bombarded on all fronts by advertisements and social media posts about using quarantine to “finally get in shape.” Or while your staying at home its the perfect time to “start that diet.” There are also memes and jokes and tweets and posts circulating that are about coming out of this self isolation fatter.
First of all, whatever you are doing, you are correct in doing that. Because that is what your body and brain are asking of you.
Secondly, you do not need to use all of your free time exercising. Or learning how to knit or starting a new business or writing a book. Just because you have more free time does not mean you are expected to be more productive. Let me repeat that:
JUST BECAUSE YOU HAVE MORE FREE TIME DOES NOT MEAN YOU ARE EXPECTED TO BE MORE PRODUCTIVE.
We are in the midst of a GLOBAL CRISIS. If getting in shape or working out is a goal of yours that is fine. If finally starting that hobby you’ve been putting off is on your to do list, have at it! But just because it is for you, doesn’t mean it is for everyone. And if someone is choosing to spend their time curled up on the couch with their favorite TV show, THAT IS OKAY TOO. We are all coping with this differently and using our time differently.
Thirdly, there is no good time to start a diet. Because diets statistically do not work. Diets have a 5% success rate. FIVE PERCENT. Think about all of the diet ads you see on your social media in a week, then multiply that by all of the people who are trying those diets, and five percent of that number are the diets that “work.” And even that is up for debate. Do they “work” or do they create disordered eating that make is seem like the diet was a success? What I’m trying to say, is that you can eat whatever you want whenever you want. And that’s not a quarantine rule that is a forever rule. It’s not about A DIET, it’s about YOUR DIET. And the distinction between those two things is very important. I eat salad and fruit and vegetables but I also can easily down some cake and chocolate and Cheez-Its and chips. Eat what makes you feel good and leave everyone elses opinions behind.
And lastly, please understand that while a joke about gaining weight might seem like harmless humor, it can be extremely triggering for some people. For anyone who has struggled with an eating disorder or with seeing their body as “less than,” jokes about weight can be very harmful. Also joking about being “fat” just perpetuates the idea that if you aren’t skinny, you aren’t good enough. And we need less of that and more acceptance and love of ALL BODY TYPES. It is so much easier to be nice that it is to be nasty. And I promise you’ll always feel better if you’re putting kindness into the universe.
To sum up a very long (and quite passionate) post:
YOU DO YOU.
Period the end. No one else can tell you that what you are doing is wrong.